1. Is the NPS free?
  2. Is the NPS still available as a Green Book?
  3. Is the NPS still available as installed software?
  4. What is the NPS?
  5. What is the relationship of the NPS to British Standards?
  6. Is the NPS specific to the UK?
  7. What is the background to the NPS?

Is the NPS free?

The description of terms, illustrations and summary information are available for free.

CSD has been delivering and supporting NPS on the GoHelios website on behalf of the Landscape Institute and Horticultural Trades Association since 2000.   All of the functionality provided via GoHelios has been duplicated and extended by the CS Artisan web-integrated solution for a number of years.

The low-cost annual subscription for CS Helios has been created to continue to provide and extend this essential service for the landscape profession.  This includes the Plant Selector, Palette Builder, Report Generator and Scheduler.

The fully-searchable library of plants is available in CS Flora.

Is the NPS still available as a Green Book?

No – the NPS is only available in digital format. The content of the last paper copies produced in 2000/2001 were already out of date as they were being printed and a decision was made to focus on a single digital master that could be updated regularly.

Is the NPS still available as installed software?

No – the NPS has been delivered as a web-based resource since 2005 so that updates can be made available immediately to users.

What is the NPS?

The NPS is an important vehicle to aid the selection, specification and delivery of reliable plant material throughout the landscape industry. The updated National Plant Specification takes the guesswork out of plant selection and procurement by providing a comprehensive and accurate ‘bible’ for planting selection and ensures an effective method of producing rigorously specified plant schedules.

What is the relationship of the NPS to British Standards?

British Standards contain much useful information, however the rate of change occurring in production practices in the industry is so rapid that that standards are quite quickly becoming out of date.

Is the NPS specific to the UK?

Plants are regularly being bought and traded throughout Europe and beyond and the NPS is a recognised standard to respond to this increased market.

What is the background to the NPS?

The amount and value of landscape work undertaken in the UK has increased significantly and all sectors of the industry have expanded to meet this demand: designers, nursery stock suppliers, contractors and others.  It is recognised that creating successful landscapes depends mutual co-operation within the industry and this has resulted in the formation of the Joint Council for Landscape Industries (JCLI).

One area of mutual interest to designer, nursery supplier and contractor is the supply of plants with the need to obtain good plants of the required species and sizes. An early task of the JCLI was to draw up select lists of trees, shrubs and other plants which were considered most suitable for landscape planting. These lists, approved by representatives of all members of the industry, have been continuously updated by the Committee on Plant Supply and Establishment (CPSE), a technical sub-committee of the JCLI.

Those working within the industry are not only interested in the approved short list of species recommended for landscape work but also in the range of sizes and conditions in which these plants can be obtained. For a number of years the British Standards Institution has produced a number of standards setting out criteria for the supply of plants. However in the early 1990’s, there was sufficient concern about the profitability of the wholesale nursery stock industry for the Horticultural Trades Association to commission a report (Developing the Amenity Market, 1996). One of the deficiencies identified in this report was the variable and inaccurate specification of plant sizes and conditions and the effect this was having on the wholesale nursery stock sector. Lack of rigour and use of accepted terms and specifications was providing room for abuse in tendering. This was resulting not only in reduction of price, profit and performance but also frustration for all sectors of the industry. It was also recognised that changes in production techniques were happening rapidly and this information was not being disseminated throughout the industry and informing the development of improved standards and specifications. The report recommended the need for a National Plant Specification, combining the disparate information on this subject, which could be used as an industry standard and form the basis of fair trading throughout the industry.