The charity helped to set up a two week study tour beginning with a visit to the Plant Heritage Marquee at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on July 5, a tour of National Plant Collections and a meeting at RHS Wisley Garden to discuss the details and logistics of running the National Plant Collection scheme.
The Japanese visitors had a chance to see Jonathan Hogarth's collection of small and miniature hosta on display at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where it won a gold award and best exhibit in the Plant Heritage marquee, as well as at his home in Wokingham. They also spent several days with the Devon Plant Heritage Group, visiting a number of private collections as well as RHS Rosemoor.
Penny Jones who holds the National Plant Collection of Japanese cultivars of Primula sieboldii with her husband Melvyn in Devon was delighted to meet Tsuneo Torii, an expert on Primula sieboldii.
She said: "One of the best days I have had in a long time. Mr Torii and Ms Ohki were lovely and I have learnt so much."
Caroline Stone, secretary of the Devon Group and collection holder of Primula vulgaris (double primroses) said: "Everyone did really enjoy the meeting at Rosemoor, there was a very good buzz and some very deep discussions going on. It was very lively and will certainly result in new friendships and connections."
Plant Heritage conservation manager Mercy Morris said: "We at Plant Heritage are delighted to be honoured in this way by the JABG. Japan has a long and important horticultural history which has had a strong influence on the plants we grow in the UK & Ireland. We are very keen to encourage the growth of a similar organisation in Japan, and look forward to exchanging expertise and innovation in the future."