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AGS Local Groups: World of Alpines

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Started by: Jon Evans

A display staged at Wisley by local groups

Go to latest contribution by Margaret Young, 17 March 2011, 15:47. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 16 March 2011, 22:54top / bottom of page

Last Sunday the Woking West Surrey and East Surrey local groups staged our annual World of Alpines display at the Hillside Events Centre at Wisley. I am glad to say that the day went very well, particularly given, or perhaps because of the rather damp weather. We had several hundred visitors, the vast majority of whom were interested in gardening, and many of whom were already members of the RHS. I don't think we signed anyone up on the day, but a large number of forms were given out, and many people spent a long time in the hall talking about the plants.

Here is the scene at the entrance, with Alan and Roger greeting visitors.

Inside the hall, there were tables covered in alpines, broken roughly into groups, and the walls were lined with display boards with information about, and many photographs of alpines in the wild and in cultivation. This photographic display was very much a group effort with many members contributing photos to a display which was coordinated and assembled by Bob Charman and myself.

One of the highlights was a new display from the Rock Garden Department at Wisley, to commemorate the centenary of the rock garden, including some fascinating old photos of the construction and early days of this part of the garden.

Zdenek Zvolanek is working at Wisley at the moment, planting the crevice garden which he helped to construct in the autumn, also to commemorate the centenary. Here he is in another corner of the room, talking to Martyn Denney who had brought a display of cyclamen.

Martyn was sharing his corner with Bob Charman, who was promoting the Fritillaria Group.

One of the main attractions of the display was table explaining how to convert a fishbox into a trough suitable for alpines. Here is Mike Morton demonstrating his skills.

This aspect of the display was illustrated further by a competition for the best planted fishbox. The group made about 15 fishboxes in the autumn and handed them out to members for a small fee, with the intention that they should return for this competition in March, to be judged by the visiting public. Eight planted fishboxes duly appeared, showing a wide variety of plants and styles.

I am a little embarrassed to say that the winning fishbox was mine, hastily put together last Friday afternoon in order to contribute to the display.

Next to the fishboxes was a table full of bulbs, brought by a variety of members.

The other side of the hall was dominated by a wonderful display of primulas, brought by my step-father, David Philbey. For most of the day he sat by the corner of this table, answering questions about his plants. Zdenek was particularly interested, and spent a long time with him.

Another important area was the kitchen, where a rota of tea-makers kept members and visitors happy with a steady supply of tea and cake.

In the back room of the hall, there was room for a small display of my competition prints.

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