Delphiniums and Disappointments – musings on Gardeners World Live Show 2013


Delphiniums and Disappointments – musings on Gardeners World Live Show 2013

Delphiniums from Blackmore & Langdon

Delphiniums from Blackmore & Langdon

On Wednesday 12th of June I took my usual pilgrimage to the NEC to visit The Gardeners World Live Show. I’ve been to all but 1 of the shows, I think I missed 2009 when I was gallivanting across America.

I have always tried to visit the show on the first day, this is due to the fact that I only really go to the show to visit the Nurseries and any choice plants tend to sell out after only a few days.  The Show is also one of the nearest to me, only 40 mins up the Motorway, whereas Malvern, Hampton Court and several other decent Shows are up to several hours away.

Lots to see

Lots to see

I set off into the show just after it opened and made straight for the Floral Marquee, according to the show guide there were 100’s of stands, but with all the obvious room in the marquee I think the stands had either shrunk or a few years ago there were almost twice as many.

I usually do a grid system walk, up and down each aisle so as not to miss anything, but the marquee was quite empty for a good hour or two after the show opened that I was able to do several walks by each nursery.

For the first time ever in my history of visiting I did not buy anything for the first two hours, normally I’ve made two or three visits back to my car with purchases.

Hostas Galore.

Hostas Galore.

Hardys Display

Hardy’s Display

As usual Hardy’s Nurseries put on a Gold Medal winning display.

Penstemon heterophyllum 'Catherine Del A Mare'

Penstemon heterophyllum ‘Catherine Del A Mare’

The above Penstemon was lovely on Hardy’s stand, I don’t know why I did not buy one.

Himalayan Primula.

Himalayan Primula.

Scleranthus Uniflorus

Scleranthus Uniflorus

There were all the usual stalls with lovely plants on display, Ferns, Alpines, Grasses, Mixed Cottage Garden plants, an Aquatics stand, Hostas, Fuchsias, and Lupins were available. But I’m sure several regular stall holders were missing, I’m sure there was a Hosta stall missing and many Mixed perennial stall holders were not there.

Instead in the middle of the Marquee, taking up quite a bit of room was a large floral display.

Lord of the Rings display

Lord of the Rings display

The display was called enlightenment, and it was build by Birmingham parks Department,, it was celebrating the opening of the Library of Birmingham in September 2013, and was focused on JRR Tolkien and other Birmingham Authors.

I found my usual stand with my favorite plants on display and for sale.

Sarracenias

Sarracenias

Another Gold winning display from Hampshire Carnivorous Plants.

I made two of my three purchases from this stand, a Sarracenia Flava ‘Maxima, and a Sarracenia cv Juthatip Soper x Sarracenia Leucophylla.!  Which basically has lots of pink and white bits in it.

Sarracenia Flava with a red throat.

Sarracenia Flava with a red throat.

There were also quite a few Cacti and succulent stands, I was surprised at how expensive many of the plants where.

Cacti.

Cacti.

Very Bright Yellow.

Very Bright Yellow.

Godetia plant, from seed only.

Godetia plant, from seed only.

This gorgeous Godetia was on the Hardy’s Plants Stand, but they were only selling seed of it, not any plants.  Shame really.

Meconopsis.

Meconopsis.

West Country Lupins

West Country Lupins

I had gone to the show with the intention of buying a few Lupins as so many of mine had failed to get through the winter, however the only nursery selling them wanted £7 per plant or £15 for three plants. So all I could afford was a packet of seeds instead.

I decided after several hours in the floral marquee that I had better see some of the rest of the show, I used the map in my show guide to make sure I walked by every stall outside, I found a few plant stalls in the newly created area called the RHS Plant Village, which in previous years was called the plant market and was set up in the main hall, however this year’s plant village version has considerably smaller.

I usually don’t pay much attention to the show gardens, they are usually very busy with people fawning over the TV celebrities who  are filming for the TV program Gardeners World on BBC2.  However this year the BBC were not getting involved with the show, and I was told it was due to ‘cutbacks’.    I set off in search of the show gardens mainly for this blog.

What I found was quite underwhelming in my opinion…..

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This was called In Perspective, I really had to try hard not to laugh out loud at this one….. I called it What’s the point.!

Gardeners World Live 2013 062

This was called Wrapped up in willow and Water.

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Sketch and reality.

And finally.. the best in show….

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The Austerity Garden.!

Told You.!

Told You.!

Overall I was quite disappointed with this years show, Considering how much the entry fee was, on top of that the £10 to park my car, and the noticeable lack of nurseries in general, which appeared to have been replaced with stalls selling plastic ornaments, Solar panels, and for some reason a stall selling disco lights.

I’m sure that real Gardeners and hard core plants people with seek inspiration from other shows and plant fairs.

I’ve decided not to buy a ticket next year and try to get to the RHS Tatton Show instead, I cannot go this year as I’m working.

Thank you for reading this far, and may I leave you with a pair of Cacti Bum Cheeks.

Sweet Cheeks.

Sweet Cheeks.

 

Thanks for reading.

A Trip to Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2013


i phone pics 030

It was windy, very windy in-fact.   I saw ground staff laying these info towers down all over the show ground in order to prevent anybody being squashed.

This was my second ever visit to the Spring show, last year being my first.  I’ve been to the Autumn Show a couple of times in the past, which is more aimed at a Produce Show, Giant Veg and Cider.!  I find the Spring Show has more Nurseries and plants for sale, although that just could be my perception.

I visited on the first day which was a Thursday, I’d booked the day off work and the following Friday off so I could recover/plant my purchases.

By a happy coincidence I’d purchased a newer car in the days leading up to the show and collected it the night before I set off to Malvern.

4 motorways and lots of traffic later I arrived just after opening, ! was parked up next to one of the entrances, with the loos next to me.  Perfect.

Floral Marquee

Floral Marquee, it was this packed mostly all day.

Due to the high winds I set off straight to the Floral Marquee in fear of the organisers closing the show early due to public safety.

I only took a few pictures throughout the day, because carry a big camera is not really ideal.

Rosa verschuren.

Rosa verschuren.

I’ve never seen a Rose like this before, it was quite stunning, but not every ones cup-of-tea.

Alpine Trough Display

Alpine Trough Display

In the Wye Hall the Alpine Garden Society had a big display and a planted Trough Competition.  I took this picture for inspiration with the Trough I was bought at Christmas.

Miniature Garden.

Miniature Garden.

This type of planting is in the Miniature Garden section, the dish has to be a set diameter and depth, and the trick is to get as many plants growing well and looking established as possible.

 

Collection of cacti in a tray.

Collection of cacti in a tray.

 

Also in the Wye Hall there was the open garden competition, where gardeners can enter their grasses in various classes, the above was a tray of mixed cacti.

Best succulent.

Best succulent.

 

Nursery Displays

Nursery Displays

There were plenty of nurseries with some excellent displays of the plants they had for sale, but it’s always the way that they have a plant in their display that they don’t have for sale, these are the plants I always seen to want.!

Podophyllum pleianthum.

Podophyllum pleianthum.

The above is one such plant that I took a shine to, the nursery did not have any available to sell, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing, as I don’t have the damp, rich fertile soil in semi shade that the plant needs.

Blackmoore & Langdon Stand. Gold again.

Blackmoore & Langdon Stand.
Gold again.

Stunning Delphiniums by Blackmoore and Langdon.

Polygonatum odoratum 'red stem'

Polygonatum odoratum ‘red stem’

Another plant I really liked, but don’t have the right conditions for.

Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous Plants

I always like to check out any Carnivorous Plant stands in attendance, although I rarely buy any plants now, due to lack of space.

They were nice though.

Lovely Agave, not for sale, for you Agave lovers out there.

Lovely Agave, not for sale, for you Agave lovers out there.

Before I got to Malvern, I had a wish list of plants I would like to find and perhaps purchase,  In the end I found plants I was looking for and Purchased Podophyllum ‘spotty dotty, which just about everybody appeared to be selling, a very nice pale peach Lathyrus Vernus ‘Dama Emily’ also Aquilegia viridiflora, also Penstemon Strawberries and Cream and will be used for cuttings as well as being planted out.  A few Fuchsias, and a couple of Cannas as well.

I purchased Echium wildpretii and Echium candicans, but these are likely to flower next year, so over wintering should be a challenge.!

I also purchased several nice Alpine Plants which will be used in raffle prized at my local groups AGM which is in a few weeks time.

All in all I think I was quite restrained in my purchases, might have had something to do with buying a new car a few days before the show.

One of the frustrating things that I saw were the many plant sellers who were located on the outskirts of the show ground  selling large plants stuffed in small pots cheaply, these plants in my experience are of poor quality and more likely to be seen on market stalls.

The plants are often straight off a lorry from Holland, and sold with little or incorrect information.

i phone pics 021 Annual plants tied up tightly, sold as ‘quality’ garden plants. Really gets on my nerves, and the most popular plant I’ve seen sold this way is the Lady Bird Poppy.

Plants mostly gone over.

Plants mostly gone over.

You can buy a packet of Ladybird poppy seeds for £1.99 and have over 200 seeds…. like I have, and will be planting out my seedlings soon.

 

Because of the late spring there were still lots of spring bulbs to see in the floral marquee, the main plant being the Tulip.

Orange is my favourite colour for flowers.

Orange is my favourite colour for flowers.

Outside in the show ground there were lots of stalls selling ‘tat’ Wind chimes, double glazing, foot massaging machines, however I did spot some splendid little creatures that looked happy….

Singing Pigs.

Singing Pigs.

I resisted the urge to buy any, but I did see a couple of interesting sculptures that might look good if I wanted to annoy my neighbours…

Got potential for the garden..?

Got potential for the garden..?

It started to spit with rain around 1.30pm, so I decided to have 1 last look in the floral marquee before setting off home through the rush hour…

Still mostly empty.

Still mostly empty.

After 3 trips back to the car to drop off my purchases and have a few paracetamol I headed home happy and with aching feet.

My new car was fab, and so was the day.

Next show should be Gardeners World Live 2013  I had better get saving up.