Plants for Europe & Downderry Nursery

Even though Dr. Simon Charlesworth is retiring, he will continue to be part of the industry and is working on future launches of new lavender varieties.

Lavandula intermedia-Olympi DOWNOLY
credit:Plants For Europe

Earlier this month, we reported the closing of Downderry, the specialist lavender nursery in Kent. Apart from the regrettable closure of a specialist nursery, it’s the potential human capital loss for the industry that is so devastating. For many of our specialist nurseries, once the owners retire there is a real risk for all that accumulated wisdom and skill to fade with them, which is detrimental to the industry’s skill base.

For many years, Charlesworth has been working with Plants for Europe Limited (PFE), an independent plant and breeder’s agent whom have been commercialising the Downderry lavender varieties. In particular, Lavandula angustifolia Melissa Lilac which proved particularly successful both as a garden and retail performer. Working with Darby Nursery Stock and others, PFE will continue to supply lavenders bred by Charlesworth to the market.

PFE are currently promoting Lavandula x intermedia Olympia (pictured) and Lavandula x intermedia Anniversary Bouquet, and crucially are “Working with Simon to share his extensive knowledge – in particular, we have a project with a grower in Germany to develop a range of lavender varieties that are the best in the market. Simon is helping to select the varieties for the programme, as well as providing advice to the grower on production and propagation. We will be working to make those varieties available in the UK”, explains Graham Spencer, Director Plants For Europe.

In a nutshell, agents such as Plants For Europe work with plant breeders to bring new varieties to market and ensure licences with respective royalties. According to Spencer, they will continue to work with the Dr Simon Charlesworth to promote the Downderry varieties and defending their intellectual property.