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Cotswold and Malvern Group Show - March 2009

Cotswold and Malvern Group Show - March 2009
It’s that time of the year again, and as usual we wonder where enough show plants are going to come from.  Also as usual the panic was needless and the real panic was whether there was enough bench space.  It helps that there were 12 entries in the foliage section, giving the judges a few problems, eventually the first prize going to Sam & Mavis Lloyds Mencherella.

Also occupying a lot of bench space were the conifers – only 4 of them but all in 12’ pots and of excellent standard. Although we enjoy the curiousities it is good to see old favourites and this year there were several entries of Fritillaria meleagris – but easily the best was a form of Mary Chalkleys which really deserves a clonal name.  Another old favourite was Lewisa 
Cotyledon Alba in excellent condition as was a Lewisa tweedyi and the much less common Anchuya caespitosa.

However two primulas caught the eye, both P. ‘Aire Mist’ but by two different growers the results were very different and eventually it was concluded that this was down to feeding regimes. Another good primula was Alan Kearys P. marginata var. laciniata with is wonderful farina.

Among the curious were Helonicas bullata a member of the Lilaceae from N. America, a plant from marshy woodland rather than a true alpine.  Leptinella dendyi had me reaching for the bookshelves, not in the AGS Encylopedia, a vague idea that it is a New Zealand plant proved correct – apparently they were originally Cotulas. Another unfamiliar name was ‘Barbarea Sunniola’ attached to a familiar plant.  It is an obsolete name for Kaffenaldia primuloides, from the Altas Mountains of Morocco.

For a small group we had a good ‘New & Rare’ entry, a pink (i.e. Chinese) Androsace elavayi, Benthamiella patagonica and ‘Yhlaspi zaffranii’, the latter first found in the white 
mountains of Crete in the early 1990’s and seemingly endemic to a small area was unknown to the judges and consequently got first fulfilling both ‘New’ and ‘Rare’ – the others, though rare are no longer quite new.

The best plant was A&J Cooks Androsace vandellii while after much debate the best bulb was Fritillaria affinis just beating Iris afghanica.  We stewards didn’t like to tell the judges, but it didn’t matter – they were both Eric Jarretts!

Junior section however was a disaster – scarcely any entries – please try next year somebody!

The photographic Section was interesting in the many shots of plants in the wild – but relatively few in the garden.  It seems we put our cameras away when we get home.

I will finish with what is now becoming a familiar plea – more helpers needed and above all more junior exhibitors.

Richard Hancock.

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