ags logo

Kendal 2018

March 17, 2018

See some of the plants exhibited at the AGS/SRGC Kendal Show 2018.

Further bad weather blown in from the east certainly made its presence felt throughout the day. Sunshine alternated with snow flurries, the bitterly cold wind strong enough to scatter exhibitors’ place cards when the external doors were opened. The show closed slightly early in view of deteriorating conditions but some visitors still found the journey home a difficult one. Those using the trans-Pennine A66 fell foul of heavy snow and traffic accidents, some arriving back in the Darlington area around midnight, following a nine hour drive (two hours is the usual timing).

Vic & Janet Aspland’s large pan of Crocus vernus,

Crocus vernus (Exhibitor: Vic & Janet Aspland)

The number of plants (425) was rather lower than last year, reflecting the wintry start to spring, but the overall standard was undiminished. The Farrer Medal was awarded to Vic & Janet Aspland’s large pan of Crocus vernus, the modest initial stock obtained 26 years ago and doggedly increased so that now the corms form a substantial clump. The flowers of this genus sometimes respond to the comparative warmth of a show hall by overdoing things, the splayed segments reflexing unattractively. But on a day such as this, those of this in any case better-behaved species took several hours to achieve their optimum opening.

Primula marginata alba - Brian Burrow

Primula marginata f. alba BB 11/12/1 (Exhibitor: Brian Burrow )

Mid-March sees a number of primulas at their best, and both European and Asiatic representatives always feature strongly at this show. Brian Burrow brought along two recent raisings of particular note. Primula meridiana‘Rosemary Burrow’ produces heads of deep purple flowers and has the parentage P. allionii ‘Richard Burrow’ x marginata ‘Caerulea’. His other plant, as yet unchristened and labelled P. marginata f. alba BB 11/12/1, had been line bred from the white clone ‘Casterino’, of which it is a more compact version, the wavy-petalled, thrum-eyed flowers well formed and seemingly larger than its parent.

Primula _Arduaine_ x bhutanica - Don Peace

Primula arduaine_ x bhutanica (Exhibitor: Don Peace)

Most noteworthy among the Asiatic primulas was Don Peace’s P. ‘Arduaine’, which received a Certificate of Merit. (This he had also crossed with the nowadays little-seen P. bhutanica, the rearing shown elsewhere on the benches the result of a sowing made on 11/06/11 and closer to the seed parent. A further five Certificates of Merit were awarded. Bob Worsley’s pure white Hepatica acutiloba was in tip-top condition, the cold weather following its previous outing, a week earlier at the Loughborough Show, having helped in this respect, while another member of the genus (they were present in force, reflecting their evwere-increasing popularity as plants for exhibition), H. japonica‘Gyousei’, was every bit as good as when it won a Farrer Medal for Brian & Shelagh Smethurst at Kendal in 2016.

Narcissus henriquesii (Cert of Merit) - Darren Sleep

Narcissus henriquesii (Exhibitor: Darren Sleep)

The remaining recipients, like the Smethursts, were all from Lancashire. Wilma & Jim Wright were rewarded for their veteran Callianthemum kernerianum, obtained from Kath Dryden in 2004 and rarely in need of repotting in its teenage years (it had been double-potted to provide a better framing); Darren Sleep had a fine exhibit of Narcissus henriquesii; and Tommy Anderson’s large mound of Saxifraga ‘Cumulus’ (also considered for best in show) received the final Certificate.

Corydalis _Lentune Rouge_ - Don Peace

Corydails 'Lentune Rouge' (Exhibitor: Don Peace)

The latter was part of a large six-pan exhibit that received an AGS Medal. Don Peace pipped him to the post in the corresponding small six-pan, from which a very accomplished Dionysia zschummellii was selected as best plant in a 19cm pot, while his white-spurred, raspberry pink nosed raising Corydalis kuznetzowii x solida, now given the name ‘Lentune Rouge’, increases steadily – but with only two potfuls in existence, it would be quicker for others to re-create the cross rather than wait for a spare tuber!

Saxifraga _Love Me_ (Intermediate Aggregate) - David Morris - 1200pixels - P108001051043

Saxifraga x poluanglica ‘Miluj Mne’ (Exhibitor: David Morris)

The aggregate awards went to Philip Adderley in the Novice Section, David Morris in the Intermediate Section (he entered some very well-flowered saxifrage hybrids such as Jan Bürgel’s c. 1991 S. x poluanglica ‘Miluj Mne’ (‘Love Me’ in translation), and ventured into the Open classes with an equally floriferous Dionysia aretioides x archibaldii (x bazoftica as shown), and Don Peace in the senior section.

Pieris nana _Redshanks_ - Ian Kidman

Pieris nana 'Redshanks' (Exhibitor: Ian Kidman)

Too early for many Ericaceae to be on display, Ian Kidman’s plant of the nowadays infrequently grown Arcterica (Pierisnana ‘Redshank’ was one of the few exceptions. A division from his Farrer Medal plant of old, it had been covered by a foot of snow not long before, which doubtless saved the flowers from frost damage.

Iris _Polar Ice_ - Stan da Prato

Iris 'Polar Ice' (Exhibitor: Stan da Prato)

Alan McMurtrie’s reticulate group irises appeared at all the early shows – depending upon their parentage and the severity of the winter, they flower from before Christmas through to the end of March and are now coming on stream after years of bulking up stocks in the Netherlands. Iris ‘Polar Ice’, shown by Stan de Prato, is an off-white sport of the granddaddy of them all, E.B. Anderson’s I. ‘Katharine Hodgkin’.

Fritillaria chitralensis - Cyril Lafong

Fritillaria chitralensis (Exhibitor: Cyril Lafong)

Also seen for the first time at this show, Cyril Lafong had a seed-raised, multi-stemmed clump of Fritillaria chitralensis, native to Afghanistan and Pakistan, grown in a mixture of equal parts grit and humus incorporating fine bark. The parent stock in all likelihood goes back to the 1970 Afghan introduction, made by the British Ambassador in Kabul, Piers Carter (he accompanied Christopher Grey-Wilson on a pioneering trek to the far east of the country soon afterwards). At least one Dutch nurseryman hybridised this with Iranian F. raddeana, the progeny potentially so desirable that a thief made off with the bulk of the seedlings.


Author: Dave Riley

Photographer: Don Peace