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Proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation


The EU may be a love it or hate organisation for you but in the interests of club members who enjoy being part of the many seed exchange schemes like the ones run by the SRGC, the AGS, The Hepatica Society etc etc I want to draw your attention to the threat outlined below. I would ask that you support Carole Bainbridge and others who are fighting to ensure gardening can remain a worthwhile hobby and not just something available to the few. I copied this from the SRGC Forum.

Notes from the SRGC President:

The Scottish Rock Garden Club joins many other gardening organisations in calling for changes to the proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation.

The SRGC is highlighting that the proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation, in its currently-drafted form is likely to have serious unintended consequences for rock gardeners and for the valuable exchange of seeds between individuals and clubs.

The draft legislation, which was said to be intended to improve consumer protection and allow businesses and amateurs to be sure that seed they are buying is true to the label, has raised comprehensive catch-all clauses which mean that ‘home garden’ seeds will be treated in the same way as the most widely-used commercial crops.

The SRGC wishes to raise awareness of the potential negative impacts of the proposed legislation that currently requires ‘breeders’ or sellers to pay a fee of between £300 and £500 to register each plant name. With the thousands of wild species exchanged by seed exchanges, this cost would be totally prohibitive, lead to the loss of seed exchanges and potentially jeopardise ex-situ plant conservation projects.

The SRGC suggests either that this proposed legislation should be rejected, or is amended to exempt non-commercial, amateur and ‘home garden’ seed from the regulations, as is the case in the existing legislation. We suggest that members might like to write to their MEPs, and

a.let them know that you are very worried by the proposed EU Plant Reproductive Material legislation. b.tell them that amateur gardeners should be able to choose any decorative plants they wish to grow in their own gardens (subject to national and/or international pest or conservation legislation), rather than from a list of ‘EU-approved’ species. c.explain that you should continue to be able to buy and exchange small packets of seed suitable for private gardeners, as opposed to seed for large-scale agriculture or horticulture. d.If the legislation were to persist, any plant species in the International Plant Nomenclature Index (IPNI) or any variety listed in the UK Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Plant Finder’ should be considered to have an approved description and registered name. e.Ask them to ensure the draft legislation is amended to exempt amateur and non-commercial seed sales and exchanges.

Dr. Carole Bainbridge, SRGC President.

The relevant MEPs within Scotland are George Lyon Struan Stevenson Alyn Smith

Further information and discussion on such matters in the SRGC Forum :

For other MEPS in other countries:

and email addresses for those MEPS closely involved in the relevant committees:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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I don't fully understand the consequences of this, but I hope gardeners can continue to do what they've always done without this affecting them! I assume it means we wouldn't be able to swap seeds/plants?

15 Jan, 2014


One size fits all never works...... thanks S. Gran, I wonder if moongrower & bulbaholic will see this, I think they belong to the club

15 Jan, 2014


Hi Scotsgran ...
Thanks for giving the details in this blog.

15 Jan, 2014


hi there i to iam like louisa on this one and i to iam assuming it would mean no one could swap seeds/plants?
until i join GoY i had no idea people would swap their seeds and plants.... people always seemed distance in this area to me.

15 Jan, 2014


Pamg, yes Mg and Bb will see it as they are The National Secretary and the Book Man respectively. They are very active in SRGC. Louisa and Marybells I think we would have far fewer plants available to us if organisations had not send out collectors to find and bring back new plants in the past. People think this was only done in the past but it is still happening today. I'm sure Mg and Bb will not be offended if I tell you that last year they were on holiday abroad and brought back seeds which they donated to the SRGC seed exchange. There are restrictions all over the world on what can and what cannot be collected. The amateurs who do bring back seeds are well educated in knowing those regulations or can find someone to keep them right. They do this to help fellow gardeners have access to plants which would be outwith their orbit. No money changes hand except the donations to help cover the organisations cost of packaging and postage. The donor gives a donation including paying the postage to send in their donation. If the SRGC had to spend between £300 and £500 to register the plants can you imagine the big hole there would be in our fund of knowledge if these donations dried up. Its not just rock and alpine plants which are affected. It is all plants. The SRGC is asking that organisations such as ours be allowed to continue to educate, investigate etc as is allowed at the present time.

15 Jan, 2014


it would potentially affect us all ,if only these EU departments employed just one or two with half a brain it would be a big help.
Amateurs like myself have given and exchanged seed for as far back as people have grown plants, that's why we are able to grow so many different ones now.
If you are a member of a society or group such as the AGS SRGC or RHS they all have yearly seed exchanges.
I have the AGS (alpine Garden Society) list in front of me and there are 5480 species and Varieties offered this year of which a member is allotted a set number of their choice.

15 Jan, 2014


Well i never would have know this depth to things :-( thank you for information Bjs.

15 Jan, 2014


I'll get on to my MEP about this immediately, Scotsgran.
Understandably, commercial growers have to protect their interests, but blanket legislation like this is ill-concieved, draconian and likely to see innocent & unwitting folk prosecuted for trying to be kind and helpful.
It's unfair and unjustifiable!

15 Jan, 2014


Yes, seen by Mg & Bb!

15 Jan, 2014


Our gardens would be poorer places without the victorian plant hunters.......

15 Jan, 2014


There is a list of MEP's in the piece I posted above. It would be helpful if we contact the people mentioned as they will be the ones on the Committee dealing with the legislation. Pamg I hope our grandkids will be able to say thank goodness for the plant hunters of the late 20th and early 21st century who are still hard at it finding new plants. Mouldy I don't think it is the commercial growers who are behind this because many of them are totally supportive of the "amateur" fraternity. There is legislation to protect plant breeders when they introduce new varieties (cultivars).

15 Jan, 2014


I will write to my MEP (after I find out who it is !)

15 Jan, 2014

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