AGS Shows: plant quality
Started by: ian mcdonald
size, shape and floweringGo to latest contribution by Rick Lambert, 01 February 2013, 20:12. Go to bottom of this page.
Looking at plants exhibited in the various shows and the photos that appear afterwards in the Bulletin I have come to the conclusion that I have seen inferior plants in the wild. Perhaps too much emphasis is placed on the "perfect" plants in shows? I don,t remember seeing saxifrages in the wild forming perfect domes covered in so many flowers that the leaves are obscured. Maybe our native species are inferior to those of other countries? I know the reply will probably be that with so many plants exhibited a high "standard" is required. In nature the look of a plant is not usually important. I am not saying that it is easy to judge which plant is "best" in a competition. What I would like to point out is, are looks everything? If we decide what kind of a person someone is on their looks, then we would be disappointed on many occasions.
You have raised a point that often troubles me - to the point where I sometime ignore Section A at the AGS Shows as being full of the alpine equivalent of 'prize leeks'. I make my way to the B and C Sections where I know I will find new and rare to cultivation, plants only just introduced, plants that are a real challenge, and always a pleasure to me, the novices in Section C.
The symmetrical domes of Saxifrage are often/usually cultivars bred and selected specially for this character. I have never yet seen a good plant of Saxifraga burseriana in the wild. It squeezes through rocks and gets scorched.
However there are some beauties in the mountains and last year photographed Eritrichium and the pink form of Androsace alpina on Hosaas in Switzerland and Gentiana alpina on Gornergratz.
I feel that at shows far too much praise is placed on the 'fat and opulent' cultivars and semi-hardy woodlanders.
Lets reward the very challenging attempts to grow the true Alpine species and not consign them to Section B and C. It is what our Society is sup[posed to be about.