The Nursery

Charlene Chick-Seward, Propagator Charlene Chick-Seward Propagator
Charlene Chick at Nymans

Part of my job as Nymans Propagator is to work alongside Head Gardener, Joe Whelan and Conservation Craft Gardener, Philip Holmes on recording individual plants history, location and significance to Nymans. We have one of the most interesting and diverse collections of plants in the National Trust and hold three Plant Heritage Collections.

Micro-propagation of a Rhododendron
Nymans micro Rhododendron
Micro-propagation of a Rhododendron

Working together

In the nursery at Nymans we propagate from our significant plant collection, we grow as much as we can on site and work closely with the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Centre in Devon.

We look to work with other organisations to ensure the survival of our rare, wild collected and significant plants here at Nymans. These organisations are pivotal in preserving our plant history and the survival of our plants. We are lucky to work with organisations like the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh on their International Conifer Conservation Programme, Plant Heritage on our National Collections, and the Tree Register to help recognise our Champion Trees.

Desfontainea spinosa
Desfontainea spinosa
Desfontainea spinosa

Plant Heritage Collections 

Nymans holds three Plant Heritage Collections: the National Collection of Erica & Calluna (Sussex heather cvs.), the Nymans Collection, and the Harold Comber Collection. These collections are unique to this garden and can be enjoyed all year round and throughout the garden. We have dedicated ourselves to document, develop and preserve these comprehensive collections of plants for the future.

Harold Comber on a plant hunting expedition
Harold Comber on a plant hunting expedition
Harold Comber on a plant hunting expedition

The Harold Comber Collection consists of plants that are connected to, or named after, plant hunter Harold Comber, who was the son of Nymans Head Gardener, James Comber (1895-1953). Nymans has many plants associated with his plant hunting trips and some of the original specimens can be found in the garden today.

The Erica & Calluna (Sussex heather cvs.) Collection is a grouping of plants where all cultivars are directly connected to a person, family, garden or place in Sussex. 

The Nymans Collection consists of 37 different cultivars of mainly trees and shrubs that are in some way connected to Nymans. These are named after a person linked with the garden or family, or have been bred here by one of the propagators in Nymans history.

Many of the plants in our collection are from wild origin material via plant collecting trips in the 1920s. We have a great history of plant hunters and are lucky that the Messel family have always been plant focused, meanig that new and exciting species have been introduced to the garden and will always have a place in its future.

On a daily basis we record, propagate and work on getting all significat plants in our collection labelled, tagged and put onto IrisGB, a plant records database. This can really help us tell the story of the garden and how it has developed since 1890 when the Messels bought Nymans.