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AGS Events: World of Alpines Day

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Started by: Jon Evans

at RHS Wisley 11th March 2012

Go to latest contribution by Jon Evans, 16 March 2012, 17:36. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 23 February 2012, 18:30top / bottom of page
The World of Alpines

The Woking West Surrey Group and East Surrey Group are staging an all day event at the Hillside Event Centre at RHS Wisley on Sunday 11th March 2012.

There will be

- a display of plants of all types

- photographs of plants in cultivation and in the wild

- practical demonstrations

We hope to attract members of the public visiting Wisley; AGS members from other groups will be very welcome.

The World of Alpines

Contribution from Tim Ingram 11 March 2012, 20:55top / bottom of page

Have just returned from Wisley and a look at the displays in the Hillside Events Centre. I still have to resize many of the photos, but just to tempt those viewers of this Forum, and perhaps especially for Cliff Booker after his wonderful evocation of alpines growing in clogs and other receptacles (!) (you will have have to search through the Forum to discover where this was), here is a photo of a photo - with huge thanks to Jon Evans who had set up much of the display with his colleagues. There was lots to see, lots that was immensely stimulating to expert and novice alike (often just different aspects of the same person), and lots of great relevance to those of us involved in organising Shows and trying to tempt new gardeners to get excited by these remarkable plants and ways of growing them. Jon had specifically encouraged me to come because of the demonstrations of fish-box troughs, and these certainly attracted a lot of attention. So more photos to come - but to keep you on tenterhooks - and maybe others who came along might comment too.

Contribution from Cliff Booker 12 March 2012, 08:53top / bottom of page

Hi Tim,

I wouldn't wish to bask in someone else's reflected glory ... I think you may be putting my name to another photographer's images?

Unless my memory is going quicker than I already suspect!!! LOL.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 12 March 2012, 09:03top / bottom of page

No Cliff, I was referring back to your comments in jest elsewhere in the Forum (under my polemic about attracting new members), and because all Northern people, even those naturalised, are probably more parsimonius than those of us elsewhere. A pair of boots grow plants very well - I wonder how they would go down at a Show!

Contribution from Tim Ingram 12 March 2012, 10:19top / bottom of page

Some pictures taken at the Hillside Centre with many thanks to Jon Evans and others who set up the displays - certainly worthy of a great deal more interest from visitors to Wisley if they were able to discover what was going on.

I was especially interested in the troughs, sparked off by Ian Young's demonstrations on SRGC, and by comments on the NARGS Forum about how these attracted the greatest attention at Shows. The pictures just show a few examples (with apologies that I can't properly acknowledge those who prepared them). The right hand trough particularly appealed to me with narrow slivers of rock and very nicely planted. This was still light enough to lift quite easily, another ideal reason for enabling it to be demonstrated at Shows. The left hand trough was planted with woodland species by contrast. Such troughs are definitely on the agenda for our garden.

The tufa planting will be instantly recognised by Show-goers as one of David Philbey's plantings, and surely one of the most attractive and natural ways to display such choice plants. Details on doing this, and watering, plus plants to try, are nicely described in his article in the Bulletin Vol. 69, p.443 (2001) - and incidentally a couple of other fine articles on tufa and hypertufa are in the same issue.

The tufa blocks next to the alpine house at Wisley are nicley planted with various species, including Saxifraga 'Penelope' and S. 'Tumbling Waters', but they don't approach the mastery of many individual AGS members where every inch and aspect of the tufa is used to advantage.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 12 March 2012, 10:37top / bottom of page

The major parts of the displays were photographic, with a wealth of material showing plants in the wild and in gardens, a display from the Cyclamen Society, and an ongoing projection of images on the wall of the room. For anyone with a long interest in alpines these were really fascinating, especially the long display put together with photographs from Group members. These included some great images of historical significance - for example a picture of raised beds in Keith Lamb's garden in Ireland, the Doone Valley garden (really very appealing!), and more recently Jon Evan's new crevice bed and the wonders 'round the back' at Kew. In addition to all of this was an exhibition of many of the fine plant portraits that Jon made at the Nottingham Conference - this in itself was worthy of a much more prominent display at such a garden as Wisley.

Of course with all this there were also the delights of the alpine area just across the way - particularly with many flowering bulbs from South Africa such as Lachenalia aloides and 'Rupert', a very beautiful Romulea, and babiana vanzyliae.

A nice little Delosperma sphalmanthoides (one of a large group of such hardy succulents which have been championed by Panayoti Kelaidis in Denver, and slowly becoming grown more in the UK, even if we can't emulate their growing conditions so well); and outside saxifrage time with several very good troughs on the north side of the greenhouse - I wonder if anyone can put a name to the salmon coloured variety pictured?

So all in all a very stimulating day, fine weather, and a credit to all those who brought together the event and a great encouragement to those of us thinking of new ways of attracting gardeners to grow such plants and share their experiences. And some great pictures to share on the website for all those unable to come along.

Contribution from Jon Evans 16 March 2012, 17:36top / bottom of page


I would like to thank Tim for the publicity and appreciative comments; the display is very much a group effort, with crucial contributions by many different members. To thank some of them, and I don't have photos of all the helpers, so some will be spared, here are some more photos of the event.

A warm welcome at the front door
A warm welcome at the front door

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