The Show season is well under way in the UK and now, when the Kent Show is held just down the road from us, is an especially good time with a marvellous mix of plants. So with apologies for some incredible plants that would be impossible in the garden, here are a few examples.
Aberconwy Nursery always bring beautifully grown and diverse plants, and these examples are a collection of saxifrages and Soldanella 'Spring Symphony', a fine hybrid raised by Robert Rolfe. The third picture shows a nice selection of plants from Choice Landscapes. Some of the plants in Show are extraordinary - the huge pink Dionysia, probably 15 years old - was grown by Nigel Fuller. They are a group better suited to the dry south, but even so the people who can grow them like this you can count on one hand! Quite a few Fritillarias including the soft-pink stenanthera, which had come a couple of hundred miles from the west in Cardiff, South Wales. The Show Secretary David Hoare specialises in saxifrages to great effect (there is a limit to pot size by the way!).
One lady exhibitor, Cecilia Coller, stands supreme, always bringing an amazingly diverse range of plants and travelling all over the country in a specially converted van to carry the plants. This group of six very different plants is typical, all beautifully grown and presented. I must admit going out into your own garden after all these does tend to bring on an inferiority complex - they are just impossibly good! But plants like the Tecophilaea, grown by the Chairman of our Group, Peter Jacob, are really much too special for the garden, even if they would succeed there (it is actually grown in bulb fields in Holland under controlled conditions, but very few people grow it in the garden).
These Shows must be fairly unique to the UK because of the long historical tradition of growing plants in this way, and it's a moot point whether they encourage the growing of alpines in a garden setting because they can make 'alpine plants' seem very esoteric, but for anyone who knows quite a bit about alpines they are extraordinarily stimulating. There are also artistic exhibits of photographs, embroidery and botanical art - so to finish a few examples of the first from a wonderful and very varied display. (These are known as 'Goldwork', which apparently has been practised for over 2000 years).
It would be great if these expert growers would share their knowledge with us online.
Thanks for showing these Tim; the plant sales look sumptuous, and prices for the saxes not bad either, and I would gladly spring a mere
4£ for one (or 2-3) of those lovely Soldanella pots. The trouble is, I would spend too much, but part of the battle is understanding and controlling one's plantaholic addiction ;D
In the view showing three splendid Saxes, what is the smaller dome with blue flowers just behind, is it a gentian, perhaps even G. arethusa? And what can one say about a mind-blowing pot of Tecophilea :o :o :o
The blue flower is one of many pots of superb Hepatica exhibited. The label just said Hepatica Japanese hybrid.
They are all pretty mind blowing shots, but yes, the Tecophilaea really takes the cake!
-- Yowza! :o :o :o
There was also a show in Blackpool in the North West of England on the same day. When I have processed the photos I will try to post them for you.
However there was also a show in South Wales a few weeks earlier. These are some of the plants there.