The Plant Collections Network has awarded the Trillium collection at New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods its coveted designation as an Accredited Collection, which is the recognized standard for excellence in plant collections and demonstrates a garden’s enduring commitment to global efforts to save plants. Only 67 of the 500 public gardens in North America have received this accreditation.
Work on propagating the specimens of these beautiful spring wildflowers, which grow in mature woodlands and can take as long as eight years to produce their first bloom, began almost 90 years ago under Garden founder Will Curtis. In 2011, then Senior Horticulturalist Kristin McCullin spearheaded an intensive effort to refine the stewardship practices and improve the historical and current records for the Trillium collection. In 2018, the collection has grown to 515 Trillium individuals, which includes 29 taxa, and 20 of the 35 eastern North American species. The rigorous process required an onsite evaluation from an official Plant Collections Network reviewer following visits by three outside experts, who were brought in to verify the identification of individual plants.
Trilliums are notoriously hard to identify because they hybridize regularly and have subtle variations between species and even between individual plants within species. The Garden’s Trillium collection, the largest north of Delaware, is a fair representation of all Trilliums east of the Mississippi. Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director of the Society, said: “We are honored to receive this certificate. It speaks to the quality of our collection and our stewardship and enhances the Garden’s stature as a living museum.”