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AGS Pershore Show - July 2009

AGS Pershore Show - July 2009
I am going to begin with section C.  Two plants would have been notable in the Open section, firstly the only Campanula excisa in the show!  This attractive but difficult plant can only be kept going by frequent division and even then can suddenly collapse for no apparent reason, hence its rarity on the bench.  Another First was an open pollinated Rhodohypoxis seedling shown by Colin Dolding – a very dark red large flowered plant which caused much interest and frequent comment that it deserved a cultivar name.

This year Campanulas were available in many names.  Always a stalwart of Pershore those on offer vary very much from year to year.  There were no C. waldsteinlana, tommasiniana or Fragilis ‘caroliniana’ which have been well represented in recent years.  Instead there were several C. zoysii a rather unusual Portenschlagiana under the name ‘Resholdtsvar’ which was new to me – a very dark blue – while a Certificate of Merit went to C. raineri x pulla.  Another stalwart of Pershore was Rysiontus panciflora, a plant I never tire of seeing, but it is only while writing this that I realise that Albuca shawii was missing completely – for the first time in my recollection.  An unusual grey foliage – a class not well supported this year – was Calocephalus brownii from Australia.  The weirdest plant this year was Allium reuterianum from Turkey shown by the Wallis’s. It must have been a nightmare finding a name for this among the hundreds of Turkish alliums – it was collected as seed heads.  Only a little less odd were Ephedra minima covered with orange fruits over a miniature Marestail foliage and Androcymbrium striatum from the Drakensburgs a distant relation of Colchicums.

There were nice pots of Lilium nepalense and rather more unusual Lankongense.  In my view rather pushing the definition of ‘Alpine’ was Gladiolus papillio -  3 feet tall from South Africa and a loverly crushed raspberry colour, but am I being ‘heightest’ as a gorgeous pan of Velotzia elegans, also South African from the Hypoxidaceae is much more ‘Alpine’ – but comes also from Drakensburg.

As usual one plant had me going through the literature – ‘Cremnosedum’ Little Gem got first in the Sedum class but the genus was new to me.  It transpires this is an invalid ‘invented’ name no doubt to aid sales.  It is a hybrid, Sedum cremnophila x humifysum, so the ‘Cremno’ is nonsense for all that it is an attractive plant and the owner has promised to root a bit for me for delivery next Pershore!  Sometimes the rules can seem a little hard. A lovely Rhododendron ‘Saxon Glow’ was ruled NAS, but given that the Vireya Section is centred on New Guinea and Borneo, not obvious locations for Alpines, probably inevitable, however attractive.  No Farrer was awarded this year, both Campanulas were considered not quite good enough, although most of us would be delighted to achieve that standard.  Altogether a most interesting show.

Richard Hancock.

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