Malcolm Pharoah is awarded Plant Heritage’s prestigious Brickell Award 2020

The National Collection Holder grows over 200 cultivars of Astilbe at Marwood Hill Garden, Devon

Horticultural charity Plant Heritage is delighted to award north Devon-based Malcolm Pharoah, with their prestigious Brickell Award 2020, for his National Plant Collection of Astilbe held at Marwood Hill Gardens.

The Brickell Award (named after Plant Heritage’s founding member and current Vice-President Chris Brickell) recognises excellence in cultivated plant conservation, and celebrates the extensive conservation work achieved by one of the charity’s 400+ National Collection Holders each year.

Watch the Bricknell Award Ceremony video with Jonathon Webster,Vice Chairman of Plant Heritage’s Plant Conservation Committee interviewing Malcolm Pharoah on this special day

Marwood Heritage Collection

Marwood Hill Garden's newest National Collection.

This collection is the result of 70 years of plant cultivation resulting in the wonderful and diverse collection we see today in the gardens. It builds on work of the original founder Dr Jimmy Smart and Malcolm Pharaoh (former Head Gardener). The collection show cases a range of plants that are unique to Marwood, many of which were selected, bred, raised or gifted to the garden.

The collection includes the following plants:

Updated 20th October 2020

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Rubus thibetanus- Ghost Bramble

Rubus thibetanus- Ghost Bramble

Halloween may be dead and buried for another year, but there are still ghostly sightings to be seen planted along top lake beds here at Marwood Hill Gardens. More specifically the Ghost Bramble also known as Rubus thibetanus. For most of the year this bramble relative appears as an ordinary or slightly more handsome version of the hedgerow blackberry, having characteristic green pinnate leaves, 5- petalled white flowers and juicy (inedible) blackberry fruits, but from the onset of winter, Rubus thibetanus sheds its green foil of leaves to reveal its striking cage like framework of bright white prickly scrambling stems.

Rubus thibetanus stems offer stark contrast against its leafier and more colourful neighbours. Being deciduous these plants look great when under planted with spring flowering bulbs such as Winter Aconite, Snowdrops, Narcissus and Scilla. Making the best use of limited garden space and increasing garden seasonality.

 Ghost Bramble Rubus thibetanus

Native to East Asia and western China this plant can reach an impressive 2.5 m (8ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium growth rate. It is suitable for most soils types but prefers moist, well-drained soil. It will grow in full sun or part shade, get these conditions right and the plant will thrive. Provided with ideal conditions this plant may in fact become quite invasive, leaving its allotted space in its border and swamping neighbouring plants. Fortunately this plant is quite easy to control, it can periodically as needed be cut back to the ground. This will refresh the plant causing it to produce new strong bright white stems in the following year. After cutting feed liberally with a balanced manure or fertiliser. This plant is relatively pest free and can be easily propagated by hardwood and root cuttings in winter.


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