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Hexham Autumn 2019

October 5, 2019

This was the second time the show had been staged at the Auction Mart, only a five to ten minutes walk from the town centre and with excellent parking facilities. Yet again, the dedication of the local team was illustrated: they had changed over 300 light bulbs to improve the hall illumination!

The Forrest Medal (Best in Show) was awarded to Alan Furness for a very substantial half-pot of Crocus tournefortii, one of the very few species whose flowers remain open whatever the hour and whatever the weather. The original corms had been obtained some 25 years ago from Kath Dryden, early on producing a white-flowered individual among the typical lilac-flowered remainder. This caused a rush of blood until the penny dropped that a stray Crocus boryi had been included in the original purchase. That said, a genuine recent listing of a white form can be traced to Germany. The bulbs are grown in a John Innes No.3/coarse sand mix and repotted every second year. Incidentally, the Crocus boryi mentioned above was shown in another class and received a Certificate of Merit.

Continued enthusiasm for dwarf conifers helps supplement flowering plants at our shows and a fine example of Tsuga canadensis ‘Abbott’s Pygmy’ was tabled by Bob Worsley.  This was discovered in 1933 on the west bank of the Winooski River, to the north of Richmond, Vermont. Often identified in the trade under the illegitimate name “Pygmaea”, it is distinct from but also occasionally confused with ‘Abbott’s Dwarf’.

In the rare in cultivation class, Bob & Rannveig Wallis showed the shy-flowered Narcissus elegans, while your reporter entered Sternbergia clusiana, the largest-flowered member of the genus from southern Turkey to Israel and thence to Iran: a clue to cultivation, for it demands a hot summer baking with minimal moisture. They also staged a raspberry-pink Cyclamen rohlfsianum (a unique white form has occurred in cultivation but the present progress is unclear) and a well-flowered pot of Colchicum cupanii subsp. glossophyllum, new records for which have been recorded in coastal Montenegro (to the north-west of its Greek and Albanian locales).

John Bunn exhibited a large cushion of Tetraneuris acaulis, originating from NW America and habitually found on shale: in order to flower well, it requires a position in full sun.

Further Certificates of Merit were given to the Wallis’ Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium, their aforementioned C. rohlfsianum and John Dixon’s Dionysia esfandiarii.

Author: Dave Riley

Photographer: Peter Maguire