Alpine Garden Society



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Cleveland AGS Show, 2010

The Cleveland Show differs from most in that it happens at Eastertide and may be as early as 21 March or as late as 23 April. It was on a ‘middling’ date this year but in a season which is around 4 weeks later than the norm of the last quarter of a century. Erythronium and Fritillaria were notable for their virtual absence: what caught the eye along the middle row of trestle tables was the massed ranks of Primula, almost all of them species, forms or hybrids of European primulas, not to mention Dionysia, Narcissus and Corydalis, which were well represented. It was cool and blustery outdoors (pity the long-suffering photographer who had to admit defeat with at least one slender stalked flower), but as warm and welcoming indoors as ever.

Narcissus cuatrecasasii

 Lionel finds this plant, (which he believes came from Ron McBeath), a  reliable flowerer. It is grown in a mix of 3 parts John Innes1, 2 parts sharp grit and 1 part composted bark. It grows on the limestone Sierras of Andalucia, often in shade, and has been in cultivation since the 1960’s, having been collected  by  Chris. Stocken and Collingwood  Ingrams.

A good description of the plant can be found in Blanchard’s ‘Narcissus, A guide to wild daffodils’ AGS, 1990.

 

Androsace akbaitalensis

This delightful little plant, shown in pristine condition, was first described in 1903 and first shown (at Morecambe in 1988) by the same exhibitor. Is the plant shown at Stockton a scion of the original?

It was discovered near the Akbaital Pass in Tajikistan, at around 4000m asl, close to the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, little visited by plant hunters recently.

It is a member of Section chamaejasme, series Villosae. It has been described as being grown successfully ‘outside on a raised bed with winter cover, where it stays relatively compact and in character,

(Smith, Burrow & Lowe, Recent Androsace introductions, AGS Quarterly Bulletin, Vol 59, p166.

Dionysia michauxii

The plant on the showbench had been vegetatively propagated from a plant received from Frank Hoyle.

The grower uses his standard mix of  equal parts perlite, vermiculite, grit, sharp sand and  JI3 (in lieu of leafmould). When the plant is well established  it is fed Chempak No8, very dilute.

If the temperature falls below -2°C, protection is given.

 

Asarum campiniforme

And now for something completely different. Asarum is not everyone’s cup of  tea and is distinctly ‘unalpine’ in appearance, though it can be found at high altitude and many are very hardy. It is useful for the show bench as plants may remain in good condition for weeks. I was particularly drawn to it on account of its neat foliage, held well above the dainty blooms.

 

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus ‘CraigtonCloud’

This plant had been acquired from the raiser, Ian Young, three years previously.  Although it is an easy plant  to grow, its startling  colour, true blue shading to white in the case of this cultivar, ensures it is always in demand, and is a classic show plant.

The plant is grown in a deep plunge bed in an unheated alpine house., in one third each of JI3 & beech mould , the balance made up of equal portions of grit and perlite.A high potash feed is used.

 

 

Corydalis popovii  This was one of  several excellent  Corydalis on show. The Bramleys’ plant, raised from AGS seed of a deep form, was well presented.. Deep potting, with compost or grit added as the flower stems elongate, helps prevent them flopping over the pot‘s rim.

The plant is grown in a fast draining, gritty mix and kept in a cold frame. It benefits from a cool rest during its long dormancy.

 

Corydalis turtschaninovii VladivostokThis was, for me, the pick of the bunch in this 3 pan class, though the two others were fine plants.

The plant featured was obtained from Norman Stevens in2005. It is planted deeply in a 50/50 mix of JI and sharp grit, topped with more grit and a little bonemeal, It is grown without any protection.

 

Primula ‘Broadwell Milkmaid’

It is invidious to single out one exhibit from the host of European primulas on show. If pressed, one or two P. ‘Broadwell Milkmaid’, raised many years ago by Cotswold nurseryman Joe Elliott, were exceptional in a high quality assemblage.

At the risk of offending the owners of some splendid plants, I would also single out P. allionii ‘Louis Parker’, P. ‘Lindum Lavender’ and P. ‘Alice Evans’.

 

Tony Rymer
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