Garden and greenhouse fans needed for seed drive

Welsh garden and greenhouse enthusiasts are being asked to help with a drive to make heirloom seeds more widely available.

Garden and greenhouse growers in Wales have been encouraged to take part in a scheme to make rare vegetable seeds available on the open market.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Dyfi Valley Seed Savers is hoping to collect a range of heirloom varieties in order to distribute them around the country.

Examples of the seeds collected so far include the Melbourne Mini – a climbing bean which has been growing on an allotment for almost four decades – and the Llanover pea, which was found only in the Llanover Estate near Abergavenny.

These and other vegetables will be trialled at ten sites throughout Powys before being made more widely available.

Many of the seeds tracked down so far are not available on the open market as they have been passed down through the generations, rather than being bought or traded.

Scheme manager Claire Rydwen explained some have adapted to certain weather and soil conditions.

"The risk you take is that when you buy a packet of seeds that are not from your area they may not thrive where you live," she said. "Getting local-bred seed cuts down on the trial and error."

Meanwhile, a plant which was once thought to have been extinct has been slowly resurrected in an Irish greenhouse and bloomed for the first time in five years recently.