In a recent TV episode of Midsomer Murders, a sizeable proportion of that hapless village met their end through their obsession with a rare and valuable orchid. The story is a comic parody about people whose hobby comes to dominate their lives at the expense of all else. I fell to thinking how difficult it is to find balance in the things we do and the way we do them.
As the holder of the Styracaceae National Collection, how great are my responsibilities? How seriously should I take our collection? These questions take me back to 1992 when I applied to have our collection put under the National Collection Scheme and was accepted by the NCCPG Committee.
The concept of the scheme, as I understood it, had something of genius about it. Central to its operation is the notion of it being voluntary and lacking almost entirely in binding rules and regulations. It struck me as being the safest route to protecting plant species. Today, I see no reason to change my view.
All of us might be tempted to believe that our interests and our passions are more important than they really are; most of us are to some extent competitive. By and large however, much of the charm of our horticultural world is its generosity and the desire on the part of gardeners to share their good fortune in owning lovely plants. Almost all our Styracaceae have come to us as gifts rather than through purchase.