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AGS Shows: Early Spring Show - Harlow

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Started by: Tim Ingram

Go to latest contribution by Jon Evans, 03 March 2015, 00:02. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Tim Ingram 02 March 2015, 07:50top / bottom of page

A few pictures from the Harlow Show last Saturday and a commentary that I wrote on the SRGC Forum which may or may not resonate with some members:

I know I have sometimes questioned the very strong emphasis on exhibiting alpines but that is only because I think new gardeners are much more likely to be drawn to the Specialist Societies and the Shows by a stronger attraction of alpines as garden plants as well, which is much to do with them receiving far better recognition from the gardening media in general. Paul and Gill Ranson's and all the other plants I showed really warrant a much wider recognition. They are brilliantly grown but very special in the eyes of many gardeners. Greater publicity about alpines, however it can be done, would be worthwhile and is important to stimulate more people potentially to consider exhibiting plants too.

The cost of hiring a venue like this school is pretty high and falls largely on the nurseries involved - and yes many travel considerable distances which is a big cost in itself - so getting a good attendance is important. But the other point is - these plants are not simply gardened with, they are part of a much greater understanding and appreciation of the plant world in general (it's not only Botanic Gardens that have this) and so they are actually pretty relevant to all those kids and teachers who attend these schools that are so often used for Alpine Shows. It's interesting that Ross Barbour found such a good response from children in primary schools to the idea of growing alpines - but what about kids in secondary schools? There was that beautiful display from Kew at Harlow and I expect Kit and Joanne and all those who made it would have been excited if a lot more potential younger gardeners had seen it too. (I speak as someone who was introduced to alpines in my early teens and have been fascinated professionally and intellectually about plants ever since). Obviously you can't make kids interested if they are not - my own children don't have such a great interest and they have been surrounded by plants! - but there is that spark which some young people get on seeing the detail of alpines which can then carry on throughout life. So it would be good if the schools themselves got a bit more involved with what is going on, and conversely the societies providing that information and educational displays that might appeal more to younger gardeners.
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There are some excellent pictures on the SRGC Forum too from David King including some fine shots of the wonderful display from Kew. Is there an opportunity here to encourage interest from staff and students at the school itself given such a remarkable range of plants on display? It could make a good project for the Biological Sciences with relevance to ecology, the environment, plant diversity - and also to Art, for the sheer beauty of these plants - and to Geography for their origins around the world... and also to gardening, nurturing plants!

Contribution from Jon Evans 02 March 2015, 13:12top / bottom of page

I wasn't the official photographer at Harlow, and spent a lot of the morning doing other things (primarily soliciting help for the London Show, but also a bit of shopping), so I didn't take pictures of all the award-winning plants, and in particular I didn't photograph  any of the wonderful plants from the wonderful Gold-Medal winning exhibit from RBG Kew, and I don't have time today to write a real report, but here are a few of the plants I did get time to photograph.

Asarum splendens

Cecilia Coller won a Certificate of Merit with this Asarum, flowering much before we normally see them in early April.

Asarum splendens
Chirita brassicoides

Alan Newton exhibited this lovely thing in the class for new or rare plants.

Chirita brassicoides
Corydalis angustifolia Georgian White

From Don Peace.  Not an entirely pleasant plant to carry and photograph - it had a distinct note of toilet cleaner about it to my nose.

Corydalis angustifolia Georgian White
Crocus biflorus subsp pulchricolor

Exhibited by John Dixon

Crocus biflorus subsp pulchricolor
Crocus biflorus

Exhibited by Vic Aspland

Crocus biflorus
Crocus cvijicii

A fine pan from Ivor Betteridge

Crocus cvijicii
Crocus reticulatus

Plants I have photographed before exhibited as C. reticulatus have been discussed and identified as forms of C. vernus.  This, perhaps, is the real thing.

Crocus reticulatus
Crocus Ruby Giant

Exhibited by Peter Hurren

Crocus Ruby Giant
Crocus sieberi sublimis

Exhibited by Lee & Julie Martin

Crocus sieberi sublimis
Crocus tommasinianus Pictus

Exhibited by Vic Aspland

Crocus tommasinianus Pictus
Crocus vernus

Exhibited by Janet Aspland

Crocus vernus
Crocus veluchensis

Exhibited by Cecilia Coller.  I'm sorry I didn't get to this before the petals had reflexed; likewise John Dixon's wonderful pan of C. malyi which won a Certificate of Merit, but which was touching its knees by the time I got the camera out.

Crocus veluchensis
Cyclamen persicum

An interesting deep pink form of Cyclamen persicum with good leaf pattern exhibited by Duncan Gates.

Cyclamen persicum
Dionysia afghanica x iranshahrii

The smallest plant on the bench, but much coveted - exhibited by Alan Newton

Dionysia afghanica x iranshahrii

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