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AGS Shows: South West Show Rosemoor 2017

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 07 April 2017, 22:58. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 03 April 2017, 21:12top / bottom of page

This year the South West show had moved from its familiar (but expensive) location in a school to the south of Exeter to the RHS Garden at Rosemoor, which made most people's journeys 50-60 minutes longer, and meant that a number of exhibitors and helpers decided to give it a miss.  Certainly the five o'clock start caused me problems throughout the day, and the constant presence of Jim Almond at the photography table was necessary to inject energy and enthusiasm.

However, the additional journey was a fairly easy drive with lovely views, climbing up and over the north Devon hills into the cloud, with brown foaming streams beside the road hinting at heavy rain over the previous few days.

Unfortunately, the new exhibition centre at Rosemoor, which had been intended to house the show, is still some six weeks from completion, and a temporary solution in two smaller rooms meant that space was at a premium.  The plant sales area was intended to be in a marquee adjacent to these rooms, but heavy rain last week meant that the marquee could not be used sensibly or safely, so instead the nurseries were relocated to a room some 200 yards away.  Exhibitors' parking was in a rather muddy building site adjacent to the show.  None of this was ideal, but represented a lot of last minute changes and headache for, and hard work by the show secretary and his helpers; however, the prospects for next year are exciting, with the show staged in an excellent new hall surrounded by beautiful gardens.  

Any complaints about the distance, or the temporary arrangements, were quickly quelled by the warm of the welcome from Jon, Kana and the other Devon members, and the small coterie of regular exhibitors from the southern half of England were busy at work staging their entries.

Around the walls of the show, in the limited space available, were displays advertising the local groups, an excellent display of needlework from Jean Morris, awarded a Gold Medal, and part (space was limited) of the World of Alpines display I put together (originally in 2008, but extended subsequently) for the Woking and East Surrey Local Groups.  This was developed from members' photos for the joint display we run at Wisley every year, and aims to provide entry-level information for the public about alpines in the wild, and ways of growing them in cultivation.  It was rewarding to see so many people reading and making notes from this display.  My wife Helen had kindly accompanied me to help put it up; fortunately she was able to take a long nap in the car later in the day.

Despite the rigours of the journey the previous day (many of the plants had been in a warm car since Thursday), Lee and Julie Martin managed to muster enough firsts to win the Exeter Trophy for the Open Section aggregate; here are their entries for 3 large rock plants, and 3 plants from one continent.

x Cyclonysia intermedia

Of course, Saturday was a special date, and the exhibitors had taken this to heart, with an unusual intergeneric hybrid appearing in the class for plants new or rare in cultivation, exhibited by the cryptic 'April Fewell'.

x Cyclonysia intermedia
Rosulate viola

Having eliminated the entry discussed above, the judges were faced with two further entries - a new dionysia seedling, and a puzzling and unfamiliar rosulate viola with buttercup yellow flowers.  Upon forensic examination by the judges, the latter turned out to be a silver saxifrage rosette carefully adorned with flowers from a yellow violet, perhaps V. biflora.  Unfortunately the judges' examination involved the careful testing and removal of the flowers, which destroyed the exhibit for photographic purposes.

Wurmbea marginata

In an adjacent class George Elder exhibited the difficult South African bulb Wurmbea marginata, grown from seed sown in 2010.  Fortunately this was in a small pot, for it needed to be carried at arms length to escape a rather unpleasant scent.

Wurmbea marginata
Pleione Marion Johnson Bubs

When judging finished, and the show opened, it was for a while absolutely packed with visitors, and it was impossible to move around the show carrying plants, so I focused on plants from the Novice and Intermediate Sections which were adjacent to the little side room (with excellent light) where I was doing the photography.  First was this lovely Pleione from first-time exhibitor Ben Parmee - it will be most impressive when it has increased to fill a pan.

Pleione Marion Johnson Bubs
Fritillaria meleagris

Ben Parmee's pot of Fritillaria meleagris, dug up from the garden, won the Otter Trophy for the best plant in the Novice Section, and helped him towards the Dartington Trophy for the section aggregate.

Fritillaria meleagris
Fritillaria thessala subsp reiseri

The Intermediate section was dominated by Jim Loring, whose exhibits included a number of excellent fritillaries which brought him the Dartmoor Trophy for the section aggregate.

Fritillaria thessala subsp reiseri
Fritillaria acmopetala subsp wendelboi

Another fritillaria from Jim Loring with fascinating markings.

Fritillaria acmopetala subsp wendelboi

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