Alpine Garden Society



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Blackpool AGS Show, 2009

Following such a successful show the previous week at Loughborough, Blackpool might have struggled to deliver the goods, but the momentum of what many believes is the result of an extremely cold winter was there for all to see and the quality and quantity of exhibits was outstanding.

Too often displays by local members are relegated to the latter stages of a report, but Syd Cumbus’s (Lancaster) Photographic display of Yunnan Alpines received a well deserved Gold Award and deserves prime spot. The public seemed particularly taken with the display that lit up the hall.

Continuing his winning streak from last week David Hoare (Lyminge) took the AGS Medal in Class 1 with a stunning 6 pans of Saxifraga. He had travelled all the way from Kent, what dedication! David keeps his Saxifragas in his Alpine House all year round, but no trace of drawn foliage was evident.

Besides winning the Premier Award Geoff Rollinson (Holmfirth) also had a splendid Saxifraga Coolock Kate in class 23 that had intense coloured pink flowers in complete contrast to its stable mate the white flowered Coolock Gem.

3 Certificates of Merit were awarded to Robin Pickering (Goole) for Cyclamen coum, Robert Rolfe (Nottingham) for Saxifraga x dinninaris and to Derek Pickard (Stockton-on-Tees) for Dionysia bryoides. All needless to say, supreme examples of skilled cultivation and presentation.

The 80th Anniversary Award (best plant in a 19cms pot)was won by Alan Furness (Hexham) with a deep coloured Fritillaria gibbosa with several flowering stems. It also gained Alan the Duncan Lowe Award.

Another popular pair of exhibitors, Brian and Shelagh Smethurst (Bury), won the Kirby Cup for the best folage plant with Celmisia longifolia. This clearly out shone the competition with its immaculately groomed silver leaves, not frequently as seen as other New Zealand composite relatives.

A seldom presented Scilla winogradowii brought from over the Border by Sandy Leven (Dunblane) took the eye with the intensity of its blue flowers. Found in NE Turkey it should be grown in a normal bulb compost, but not kept bone dry in summer.

A number of seed grown petiolarid primulas were shown by Derek Lockey (Heddon on the Wall) in various classes, but his seedlings numbers 5 &11 had that little bit of extra attraction. The seed had formed on a plant he believed to be Primula irregularis (which subsequently died) although it bore the name bracteosa. 43 seedlings germinated, but only 16 still survived. We watch with interest their development.

Dave Riley
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