Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

Cultivate 43 (August 2013) People, plants & conservation

- August 2013

Suzanne Sharrock

Dear Cultivator,

Here in the northern hemisphere we are now well into the summer holiday season. A time for some of us to take a break from work and recharge our batteries! In BGCI it feels a little like the calm before the storm as the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress is rapidly approaching.  The programme for the Congress is now taking shape and we have an exciting set of presentations and workshops lined up.  Details of the symposia being organised during the congress are now available on the Congress website ( and further programme information will be available shortly. Do keep an eye on the website for updates.  

An exciting new development is that we will be linking up with the International Council of Museums New Zealand (ICOM NZ) for a joint session on the afternoon of Friday 25 October as part of ICOM NZ's 2013 Conference.  Professor Simon Kell (Professor of Museum Studies at Leicester University, UK) will be making a keynote address and this will provide a great opportunity for botanic garden and museum staff to get together to share experiences and knowledge.   Further information about the session, including how to register, will be available shortly on the ICOM website:


We hope we will be seeing many of you in New Zealand in October.

In the meantime, we hope the sun is shining on you wherever you are - and please enjoy reading about BGCI's latest activities below.

Best wishes from the team at BGCI



BGCI news

Raising awareness of ecological restoration
Barney Wilczak, a professional nature and conservation photographer from the UK, is documenting restoration work undertaken by members of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens. His photos aim to promote and highlight the benefits of ecological restoration to a wide audience through exhibitions and project media. Barney will also provide free access to a selection of the images to all BGCI member gardens for use in education programmes and for seeking funds to carry out further restoration work. Barney is using Kickstarter, a crowd sourcing platform for creative projects, to raise funds for the project. In return for donations to support the project, Barney is offering a fantastic range of rewards including limited edition prints, behind the scenes project updates, photography workshops and portfolio reviews via Skype!  To find out more and support Barney's Kickstarter project click here

We would be extremely grateful if your garden can promote Barney's exciting Kickstarter campaign through your social media and newsletters. Barney and BGCI are very grateful for your support.

Publication of Global Action Plan for Zelkova species
BGCI, the Natural History Museum Fribourg and the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, have published a global action plan for the conservation of the six extant species of Zelkova, a relict genus that dates back to the Tertiary era (~65-2.5 million years BP). Developed over a period of three years, this collaborative and interdisciplinary project has generated a wide range of research findings that inform integrated action for the protection of the species of Zelkova and the habitats in which they occur, including ex and in situ conservation status assessments, studies of phylogeny and phylogeography, as well as analyses of population genetics and structure.
To read more about the project and download the action plan, click here.


INQUIRE Conference

Successful conclusion to the INQUIRE conference

In July, BGCI in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew hosted the conference: "Raising standards through inquiry: Professional development in the Natural Environment" to mark the efforts of INQUIRE, an EU funded project that aims to reinvigorate inquiry-based science education (IBSE) across Europe. The conference was an opportunity to bring together the botanic gardens, Natural History Museums and Universities from the 11 countries that have been running INQUIRE teacher training courses. Participants from the courses and other professionals with experience in inquiry-based education also joined the conference. Overall, 124 delegates had stimulating discussions and reflections on IBSE during four motivational keynote speeches, 60 workshop, paper and poster presentations and a networking session. The conference conclusions, which highlight the main points that emerged during the conference can be read here.

If you are interested in using the IBSE methodology in your botanic garden, please visit the INQUIRE website where you can find a wealth of news and resources related to this pedagogy:


Calling all Ukrainian gardens
BGCI is presently updating the information we have in our GardenSearch database on botanic gardens in Ukraine, with the help of our lovely volunteer, Anna Petrenka.  If you come from a Ukrainian botanic garden, or can provide any information about these gardens, please contact BGCI.


Botanic gardens and food security
As mentioned in the last Cultivate, BGCI recently carried out a survey to find out how botanic gardens are engaging with food security issues.  We would like to thank all of you who completed the questionnaire, providing valuable information about your work, as well as suggestions for future activities.  The results of the survey have been published in the latest issue of BGjournal, which is distributed to all BGCI members.  Find out more about BGjournal here:


Care for the rare
The Care for the Rare program offers free, easy-to-use interpretation resources that gardens everywhere can use to clearly communicate conservation stories about threatened plants in their collections. Using Care for the Rare, your garden can raise awareness and support for threatened species conservation at your garden and gardens around the world. With our improved customizable templates, you can easily download a template and fill in the blanks to create new signs. Or print and display one of the 40+ existing signs in our growing sign library. We are happy to work with you to develop materials (Drew Milborn, BGCI U.S. Intern, is here to help!) For more details click here:


BGANZ collection assessment


Last chance to make your collections count in the BGANZ 2013 Collections Assessment

BGCI U.S. has partnered with the Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand, Inc. (BGANZ) this summer to survey ex situ collections of threatened species in Australia and New Zealand and assess the region's progress toward the GSPC Target 8.

Approximately 15% of public gardens in Australia and New Zealand have contributed plant lists via BGCI's PlantSearch Upload so far.  Results of this assessment will be presented at the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in Dunedin, New Zealand this October. Uploading taxa lists to PlantSearch is a quick and cost-free process. For more information on how you can upload your garden's plant list to support this and future assessments, click here:



BGCI Summer Event
BGCI is organising an exclusive Summer Drinks Reception at the Garden Museum, London. Canadian jeweller and BGCI friend, Leanne Guthrie Johnson, will be joining us with her LeaFloria Jewellery Creations - beautiful handmade jewellery inspired by threatened and endangered plant species.  Our friends from Aduna will be displaying their amazing baobab products. Proceeds from the sales during the evening will support BGCI's work with botanic gardens in Africa - supporting vital training and saving endangered plant species.  Attendance is by invitation only. If you would like to join BGCI at this event, please contact for an invite.


Welcome to new BGCI members

We are happy to Welcome the following new BGCI Members:



Chongqing Medicinal Plants Botanic Garden

Guiygang Medicinal Botanical Garden

Shanghai Botanic Garden 



Jardin Botanico Joaquin Atonio Uribe



Botanical Garden Petropavlovsk 


Maroc / Marocco 

Jardin Majorelle




The Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard


New publications
European Code of Conduct for Botanic Gardens on Invasive Alien Species.  Published by BGCI and the Council of Europe, this publication aims to raise awareness amongst botanic garden personnel of the risks posed by invasive alien species and offers guidance in the management and control of such species.  Copies are available from BGCI in English. A French version will be available later this year.

Victoria- The Seductress (Author: Thomas AniśKo)
This is the first major, lavishly illustrated book to tell the fascinating story of the extraordinary Amazonia Victoria water lilies. This beautiful book from Longwood Gardens features more than 400 images and illustrations, many never before published. Hailed as the Queen of the Plant Kingdom, Victoria has no equal among the plants of the world and this book offers a new perspective on the subject, presenting a vivid portrait of Victoria for garden enthusiasts interested in natural and cultural history.


For more information and to order a copy of this book, please contact Joan Scharff at