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Loughborough AGS Show, 5 March, 2005

No new member of the Society or member of the public walking into the show hall could fail to be impressed and excited by the wonderful array of plants on display at the end of what had been truly for most of us a fortnight of real winter weather.

Inevitably it is the largest plants on display that catch the attention initially. At one end of the spectrum there were the bold clumps of three Hellebores, the pure white H. niger , the pink flushed H.x ballardiae, and the green, cluster flowered

H. viridis subsp. occidentalis, venerable specimens of Cyclamen coum in shades of pink and red, metallic yellow mounds of Eranthis x tubergenii `Guinea Gold`, and the attention seeking, but coy snowdrops Galanthas `Straffan` and the double yellow G. nivalis `Lady Elphinstone`; at the other end of the spectrum, in large and small pots and predominantly in shades of pink and yellow, there were many immaculate specimens of Dionysia; seen by most ( but not all ) exhibitors as the last word in alpine perfection. Other eye-catching exhibits included several Narcissus, in particular N. jonquilla var. minor, N. wilkommii and N. cyclamineus.

Elsewhere, and popping up in all sections of the show, a wide array of the increasingly popular Hepatica could not fail to attract attention Hepatica nobilis in white, red and blue; H. japonica, white with prominent red stamens and H. japonica forma magna, pink with deep pink stamens; and the delicate pure white, green centred H. namatutai.

The other very important aspect of our shows, both for old and new members and the general public is the huge array of plants for sale in the nursery area. The shows bring together the best of these alpine specialists from a widely scattered geographical area. Judging from the business being done on Saturday customers obviously appreciate being able to choose their own and save the postage. With Gardeners World set to develop an alpine garden at Berryfields maybe the sales areas need an extra banner "as seen and grown on T.V."

Alan Furness