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Cotswold & Malvern Group Show - Maisemore 2013

Ross Barbour reports on our Local Group Show at Maisemore

I don’t think we need reminding of how cold spring was. Writing this on the evening of the 2013 Maisemore AGS show I'm hoping we are complaining about how hot it is as you read this. On my second visit to the Maisemore show and only my third AGS show I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to report about it! So as a newbie please bear with me.

As a couple of shows this season were cancelled it was a relief to finally get to Maisemore without any mishaps and by the look of the show benches, I'm sure the exhibitors were thinking the same.

The first thing to catch my eye was the Narcissus asturiensis x cyclaminius 'Minicycla', a cross from nearly 100 years ago, this gorgeous wee daff was one of Eric Jarrett's exhibits in class 1 '3 pans alpine plant', which also included Dionysia aretioides 'Bevere' which was awarded best plant in show.

Although Eric took first again in class 2, '1 alpine plant in flower' Alan and Janet Cook's Saxifraga 'Allendale Goblin' was marvellous to see, something I can grow out in the garden with relative ease.

In class 8, '1 pan dwarf conifer' first prize went to David Richards Juniper horizontalis 'Neumann' which is over 15 years old, and he tells me it takes 10 years to fill a 6 inch pot! I like dwarf conifers and love to see them in the rock garden, but you have to be harsh and pull them out before the get out of scale. Just remember and take some cuttings in plenty of time.

Peter Summers' Saxifraga pubescens 'Snowcap' failed to beat Alan and Janet Cook for a first in class 9 '1 pan cushion plant' but I loved the texture of it.

Simon Bond's exquisite Jeffersonia dubia 'Alba' in class 14, '1 pan alpine plant in flower' was stunning and really stood out amongst all the plants at the show, but it lost out to David Richards Saxifraga 'Allendale Hobbit' which actually looked like part of the Shire!

As it was supposed to be spring there was a great show of bulbs like Tulipa schrenkii and a gorgeous wee Scilla bifolia, both entered by Jim McGregor.

In Class 15 the Judges had to look twice at Roger Normans Galanthus 'April Fool' just to make sure he wasn’t pulling an April the 1st wheeze and entering a plastic plant, but sure enough it’s what it said on the label and beautiful too, but overall, not good enough to take the first which was awarded to John Hill for his '3 pans bulbous plant' which included a fantastic pot full of Crocus kosaninii 'April View’.

Peter Summers knock-out Crocus vernus subsp. albiflorus was awarded first in its class, 16 '1 pan bulbous plant' and a well-deserved Best Bulbous Plant in Show.

Allan and Janet’s rainbow of Dionysia claimed first in class17 '3 pans plants from one botanical family' and they certainly lit the hall up with their wonderful colours.

Graham Nicholls was surprised to see Peters Summers Primula allionii 'Timsbury Glow' in class 18 '3 pans Primula distinct' and commented 'He had never seen a better specimen' high praise indeed as it was bred by Graham himself. However, this wasn’t enough to take the class with a first awarded to Allan and Janet’s fantastic trio of Primulas.

Allan and Janet’s Androsace muscoides really caught my eye with its cute little pink flowers and the amazing texture of its foliage, but they tell me it should ideally be smothered in flowers. I am very keen on Androsace and its the one I would have taken home much to Eric’s relief I suspect, as he was awarded the first in this class, '1 pan Primulaceae, other than Primula' with his Dionysia.

Class 20 '1 pan of primula' saw Alan and Janet bounce back to take first with a pot full of gorgeous flowers on Primula allionii with similar success in class 21 '1 pan of Saxifragaceae' with what looked like a pot full of snow but turned out to be Saxifraga 'Coolock Gem'.

Mavis and Sam Lloyd received a first for their Cryptomeria japonica 'Tenzan-Sugi' in class 27 '1 pan conifer' and the delightful frosted Ficinia ‘Ice Crystal’ in class 25 '1 pan foliage plant'. In class 30, if anyone else had entered I think they might have been hard pushed to better their entry for 'an arrangement of cut flowers of alpine plants'. Everyone at the show was very impressed with Mavis' stunning art work and I'm sure would like to have one on their wall at home.

Finally the Novice section provided some cracking plants with two new exhibitors doing rather well and winning some first prizes. Brenda Nickels received the most points in this section winning a first in class 31 '3 pans alpine plants' using foliage alone. Pauline Carless won her first firsts with some wonderful entries including Saxifraga 'Gregor' in class 37 '1 pan Saxifraga' and Dionysia 'Monika' in class 36 '1 pan Primulaceae, other than Primula'. Helen Picton, another new exhibitor, won a first with a sweet little Primula 'Broadwell Milkmaid' in class 35 '1 pan Primula' and took the best plant award in the Novice section and another first with the unusual Bukiniczia cabulica in class 40 '1 pan for foliage effect'.

Well done everyone and thank you for a cracking wee show.

Ross Barbour.

* Images of plants from the show can be seen in our Spring 2013 Newsletter. 

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