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AGS Shows: South West Show 2012

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 03 April 2012, 11:15. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 03 April 2012, 08:18top / bottom of page

The Exeter show is a long drive for me, and with a detour to pick up my stepfather and his primulas, necessitates a 5am start. Instead of the glorious early morning light we have come to expect on this trip, daylight struggled to break through the gloom. By the time we reached Exeter it was trying to rain, a rare and near-forgotten event.

On arrival, there is a swift transformation from driving to frantic activity: ferry David's plants in, and my own, put up my artistic entries (Exeter is the one remaining show which uses drawing pins), stage my plants, a quick foray into the plant sales, and then, with my wallet still moderately healthy, back to the show hall to take photos.

At this point, judging had only just started; the obvious subject for photography is the 6-pan classes (in situ), but there are also often plants which find no favour with the judges, but which I wish to photograph.

Fortunately, although it was overcast, it was quite bright and the light was good.

Chamelaucium uncinatum

First of these, my test plant for the day, was this pretty shrub from Western Australia, exhibited by Anne Vale. It should be even better in a week or two, with all those buds to open.

Despite its origin, it is supposedly hardy, but perhaps inclined to grow too large for consideration as an "alpine plant".

One of the items I wanted to experiment with was the new LED light I have been using for close-ups, so here you have versions with the light to the right, left and above the lens. In these first pictures I think it was a little too bright, and later in the day I turned it down, but it is a useful source of additional illumination where the proximity of the lens to the subject makes it difficult to use a reflector.

Chamelaucium uncinatum

I think the third version, with the light slightly above the lens, worked best.

Melasphaerula graminifolia

Also in the category of "judges' rejects", and therefore free to be photographed, were some of my own plants.

This is a South African bulb I have always liked for its delicacy.

Melasphaerula graminifolia
Oresitrophe rupifraga

Another of my plants which is much too small, and which I brought primarily because I wanted to photograph it. I have images of Robin White's superb plant last year, but the single inflorescence on this baby made it possible to get a very different type of image. Here are two versions, one at f11, to capture the soft fluffy effect of the flowers, and one at f18 to capture the full detail.

Oresitrophe rupifraga
Three large pans

There were no large or small six pan entries, given the difficulty of the season, but Lee and Julie Martin produced a wonderful three pan exhibit.

Believe me, all three pots were very substantial indeed.

Three large pans
Alkanna aucheriana

Exhibited by Lee and Julie Martin, and reminiscent of the wonderful specimens Les Cheeseman used to bring from Kent to the London show.

Alkanna aucheriana
Androsace idahoensis x. laevigata

The second string of Lee and Julie's entry was the best plant of this Androsace (once Douglasia) hybrid I have ever seen, large, well-flowered, and beautifully fresh.

Androsace idahoensis x. laevigata
Narcissus bulbocodium v. obesus

Rounding off the entry, a lovely pan of narcissus. Again, the close-up was taken at a wider aperture (f8) to separate the foreground flowers from the rest.

Narcissus bulbocodium v. obesus
Androsace muscoidea

Unfortunately, when I moved on the the next plant, I forgot that I had been experimenting, and left the aperture at f5.6. So here is an image of Eric Jarrett's lovely Androsace muscoidea in which just a few of the flowers are in focus.

Androsace muscoidea
Iris suaveolens

The next plant was the heavyweight of the day. Usually when I carry a pot it is fine once I have lifted it up to a carrying height; it was a struggle to keep this one off the ground every step of the way.

This Iris has won a Farrer for Bob and Rannveig Wallis before at this show, and it can't have been far away, but this year they had to be content with a Certificate of Merit.

Iris suaveolens
Daphne Colinton Crown

The Farrer medal this year was awarded to a daphne hybrid which has never been exhibited this far south before, Robin White's lovely plant of Daphne Colinton Crown, raised by Cyril Lafong, and no doubt more familiar north of the border.

Carrying it across the hall to photograph, the scent was almost overpowering.

Daphne Colinton Crown

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