ags logo

Dublin 2018

April 28, 2018

See some of the plants exhibited at the AGS Dublin Show 2018.

A wonderful sunny morning greeted us as we arrived at the Dublin Show – a bonus after a long cold winter and virtually no spring, which had caused concern to all exhibitors. However the Cabinteely school assembly hall was laden with beautifully presented alpines, their perfume sweetening the early morning air. Even though it was a short three weeks since Dublin and Ulster exhibitors had met at the Ulster Show, there was much camaraderie and chat. The AGS Dublin Group provided very welcome homemade goodies for early morning exhibitors. The show Hall was enhanced by an informative exhibit on the Burren prepared by George Sevastopulo, surveying the history, flora and geology of the region, with some excellent photos of the area and its plants. This caused much interest among members of the general public, who attended in large numbers on a gorgeous sunny day. This exhibition had won a Gold Award at the Ulster Show.

Viewing part of George Sevastopulo_s Burren Exhibit-HDR51949

George Sevastopulo's Burren exhibit

Gavin Moore was cheerful and efficiently in control of the willing volunteers on this, his fourth time as show secretary. The quiet harmony of everyone working together was carried through by the Director of Shows Martin Rogerson, who led the judges in a firm but relaxed manner.

A novel idea of the Dublin Show committee was a show guide for each member of the general public. This showed the position of commercial stalls with their names and the layout of the Show Hall. On the back there was the opportunity to nominate their favourite plant, as well as the request for their email address and options to receive notification of next year’s show date, and further information about the Alpine Garden Society. Interestingly the public’s favourite plant was a pan of pleiones shown by novice exhibitor Janet Wynette, displayed in an attractive clay pot made by her mother. An excellent raffle table with a good selection of prizes was manned by willing helpers throughout the afternoon, who raised a substantial amount of money.

Trillium albidum_Gordon Toner_Farrer Medal-HDR51940 Trillium grandiflorum (variegated)_Gordon Toner

During the afternoon, quiet background live piano playing added to the buzz as visitors viewed the excellent plants on the bench. Trilliums were very much in evidence, and certainly created the wow factor! They earned two awards for top Ulster exhibitor and expert grower of trilliums, Gordon Toner, namely the Margaret Orsi Bowl for the best plant from North America, and his third Farrer Medal with Trillium albidum. Gordon grew this from seed sown in 2002. He trilliums are pot-grown until the clumps outstrip their containers, whereupon they are planted out in the garden. The compost is a mixture of leaf-mould and garden soil, kept well-watered, with a dusting of blood, fish and bone. While kept in the open for most of the year, they are brought under glass shortly before the shows.

nother of Gordon’s first prize-winning entries was labelled Trillium grandiflorum ‘Variegatum’. This unusual plant was much admired and had been given to Gordon by another great North West gardener, the late Doreen Moody. Another Trillium won the Millennium Cup for best plant in the Novice Section, Janet Wynne’s T. rivale ‘Winifred Murray’. This is only her second year showing. Now around six years old, her plant is kept in a long tom, to which it was moved last year, in a mixture of John Innes no. 3 plus grit and leaf-mould. It stays outside, whatever the weathers!

Gentiana verna_Paddy Smith_Class 30_Certificate of Merit-HDR51942

Gentiana verna (Exhibitor: Paddy Smith)

It was great to see some magnificent pans of gentians on the bench (the genus was absent from the Ulster Show, but the milder weather now brought them to their full glory). A beautifully presented pot of Gentiana verna earned a Certificate of Merit for Paddy Smith, as well as a first in the class ‘native to Ireland’. Paddy grows his wonderful plants in 25% garden soil, the same quantity leaf mould with the remainder made up of grit, and some bone meal. He emphasises that the plant must not dry out.

An excellently presented collection of six plants won the AGS Medal in the Open 19cm class for Billy Moore, a talented perfectionist whose attention to detail is apparent in every plant he produces for the bench

Tulipa cretica _Archanes__Gordon Finch_

Tulipa cretica 'Archanes' (Exhibitor: Gordon Finch)

In the Intermediate Section one of the three Ulster exhibitors, Gordon Finch, won the Waverley Trophy for a wonderful pan of Tulipa cretica ‘Archanes’. The bulbs are grown in a mixture of vermiculite and garden soil, and kept in a plunge bed in a polytunnel.

Rhododendron _Ginny Gee__Liam Byrne

Rhododendron 'Ginny Gee' (Exhibitor: Liam Byrne

The Jacki Troughton-Smith Trophy for the best pan of Ericaceae was one by long-time exhibitor Liam Byrne with Rhododendron ‘Ginny Gee’, which makes annual appearances at the Ulster and Dublin Shows. Now 10 years old, it is kept in a pot rather than lifted from the open ground for exhibit.

Primula henrici_Gavin Moore

Primula henrici (Exhibitor: Gavin Moore)

The David Shackleton Trophy for the best pan of Primulaceae was won by show secretary Gavin with his pan of Primula henrici, which won a Farrer at the Ulster Show in 2017. An extremely lean mixture is used and water is always given with care, from the base (rotting at the neck is an ever-present threat with this species). It is covered all year by a frame.

Pleione _Shantung__George and Pat Gordon

Pleione Shantung (Exhibitor: George and Pat Gordon)

Five exhibitors presented wonderful entries of pleiones. Singled out for mention here is P. Shantung gx., entered by Ulster showers George and Pat Gordon. They grow their pleiones in bark and sphagnum moss, applying weak tomato feed when in full leaf, and repot in January in fresh compost. Water is withheld until the leaves start to grow.

Androsace studiosorum_Liam Byrne

Androsace studiosorum (Exhibitor: Liam Byrne)

Further Certificates of Merit went to Liam Byrne’s beautifully grown pan of Androsace studiosorum and Susan Tindall’s Anemonella thalictroides ‘Oscar Schoaf’. Her original plant, a gift from the late Carol McCutcheon 25 years ago, grows very happily on her rock garden.

Anemonella thalictroides _Oscar Schoaf__Susan Tindall_

Anemonella thalictroides 'Oscar Schoaf' (Exhibitor: Susan Tindall)

There were two new exhibitors at the Dublin Show which always augurs well for the future, and the Novice Section, while low in exhibitors, was high in quality. A wonderful, happy Show was how I would describe Dublin 2018, with warm sunshine and a large number of visitors, superb plants and a constant buzz! Well done Gavin and team, and in conclusion I’ll add a notice from the Cabinteely wall: ‘The sun sets, only to rise again!”


Author: Pat Crossley
Photographer: Billy Moore