The accolade we are most proud of is the extensive use of Air-Pot containers at Botanical Gardens and other horticultural institutions around the world, where botanists, scientists and horticulturalists work to conserve, improve and educate. Their work varies enormously and consequently the application of the Air-Pot container is wonderfully diverse.
On our doorstep we are most fortunate to have the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which is gradually converting all its container growing to Air-Pot containers. This allows us to see various different strands of the organisation working across the globe, but centred in Edinburgh.
The International Conifer Conservation Project coordinated by Martin Gardner, gathers the seed of threatened conifer species from around the world, propagates and grows them on them at Edinburgh in Air-Pot containers and plants them out in carefully selected locations around the UK and Ireland in partnership with land owners to provide a source of valuable genetic material that one day could be used in restore depleted natural populations if required.
Central to the original planning and design of the new 450 hectare Botanic Garden near Muscat, in Oman, RBGE’s Leigh Morris now spends over half the year in the challenging conditions of the Gulf State implementing the extraordinarily ambitious plans. There is no compromising quality and it is fantastic to see the Air-Pot containers play their part in producing the best plants in the shortest timescale for such an impressive long-term project.
Caledonian Tree Company director, Jamie Single is delighted to be an occasional guest lecturer at RBGE, introducing students to Air-Pot containers.
All of these examples show planning and investment in conservation, in the environment, in people and in commerce for future generations – like the trees themselves.
Bedgebury has nearly 10,000 trees and shrubs making this Pinetum the most complete collection of temperate conifers in the world. It is also an important site of ex situ conservation and a centre of excellence, as well as being a wonder to behold and great place to visit.
Approximately 50% of the world’s conifer species are threatened and a quarter of these are on the endangered list. Bedgebury provides a safe site and the team’s current major project is planting trees of up to 500 particularly rare species in an area of the Pinetum which is being reclaimed (former forestry plots). This will provide a valuable genetic resource. All this precious conifer seed from across the globe is propagated and grown on in Air-Pot containers. Recently, Assistant Curator Dan Luscombe wrote an article for the International Dendrology Society’s annual handbook (2010) about his love of the Air-Pot container.
In a nutshell he wonders what he did before he had the Air-Pot container to help develop great root systems.
Fondazione Minoprio is at the forefront of Italian horticulture.
It is a not for profit organisation involved in research, product trials and education, with the aim to produce experts for the future – both in landscaping and commercial nurseries.
It also investigates products such as the Air-Pot container to evaluate their potential contribution to Italian growers and end-users and has been doing extensive work focussing on the development of viable roots systems. Dr. Frangi and his team are convinced by the success of the Air-Pot container in eliminating root circling and are now planning to assess the performance of Air-Pot container grown stock in re-establishment, once planted out in the soil.
The added bonus is that Fondazione Minoprio enjoys the most stunning setting near the lakes in Lombardy. Housed in a beautiful villa surrounded by parkland populated by rare plants and trees, it is a pleasure to visit.