Tuesday 15 February 2011

A golden Gold

If there is an official start to the gardening year, it must be the Royal Horticultural Society's February Show, held in its halls in central London, whose first day was today. It's a rare opportunity, too, for the Society to feel like a society, when a concentration of its members comes together to talk about plants and gardening, and generally catch up after the show-less winter. It was good to see that the RHS had moved the 'design' element of the show to the Lindley (Old) Hall, leaving the Lawwrence (New) Hall to the nurseryman's stands and displays of plants. As usual with my compact camera the pictures are not as perfect as I'd like, but these images give some idea of the plants on show.

Ashwood Nurseries' Hepatica display.
Two stood out, Avon Bulbs' elegant display of snowdrops and foliage plants designed by Alan Street, of which more anon, and the stand of hepaticas exhibited by Ashwood Nurseries. Both won gold medals, but that for Ashwood was a particularly noteworthy achievement - their fiftieth gold medal in unbroken succession. One wonders if this has ever been achieved before, but in modern times it is unique, and the Ashwood team deserves the heartiest of congratulations. John Massey's collection of Hepatica species and cultivars (see my post here) was the foundation of the display, complemented by the typical Ashwood touch of perfectly flowered small specimens of Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'. I gather from John that a good deal of careful manipulation of the plants was needed to achieve this perfection; some were in a cool store while others were brought on in warmth, but one can only imagine the devotion required (and the angst involved) to bring so many of these ephemeral flowers to such a state of perfection. 
Hepatica japonica x H. yamatutai

The New Hall in all its glory; Avon Bulbs' stand in front.

A probably new species of Daphne from China shown to the
Woody Plant Committte by Chris Brickell.
The magnificent foliage of Exbucklandia tonkinensis from
Crug Farm Plants, probably the first time this Vietnamese species
has been shown in public in the UK

Galanthophiles in conference: (L-R) Jane Leeds, Ronald Mackenzie,
Sue and Wol Staines, Rod Leeds

Part of Avon Bulbs' stand with the plant of the show, so far as I am concerned - a glorious yellow-green form of Anthriscus sylvestris, whose public appearance is long overdue. 


  1. If I were going to attempt this feat of ephemerals, I’d want greenhouses full of succession plantings so that when the time for the show came, I could choose the perfect plants, the ones that were just beginning to break bud. However, I am sure Alan Street and Ashwood are much more discerning and well planned.

  2. Oh wow, that's amazing and exciting!!

  3. Does the Anthriscus have a name? From Martin Cragg-Barber? Wonder how long 'till there's an orange-y one, via 'Raven's Wing'....

  4. This as-yet unnamed Anthriscus is from a different stock to that sold by Martin C-B as 'Kabir', but is indistinguishable from it, I think. Orangey sounds good...


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