ags logo

Loughborough AGS Show, 2022

March 12, 2022

Moving to another building on the same school site, this show attracted 58 exhibitors, mainly in the Open Section. The show hall ceiling was lower, consequently affording less natural light. Nevertheless, convenient adjacent parking and space for many plant sellers was still in place.

The Novice Section had only two exhibitors. Sue Bedwell continued to dominate and won The Beacon Trophy. One of her entries, Scilla bithynica (white form), displayed pristine flowers, overtopping the foliage. Other albino variants are less glistening. Commonly called the Turkish squill, this plant enjoys moist woodland conditions, flowering a month before equally invasive, rather larger bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta).

One of the smallest bulbs on display, around 10cm in height, Fritillaria kittaniae, was exhibited by Vic and Janet Aspland, and is found only in a localised area of Antalya. Variable in its striped coloration, it is considered a stabilised hybrid between Fritillaria carica and Fritillaria pinardii.

A rarely seen plant in cultivation from eastern central Turkey, exhibited in the class for three pan Iridaceae, was found in the wild by Rannveig Wallis while exploring for bulbs and shown together with her husband Bob. Presently unobtainable in the trade, Iris peshmeniana has now increased well, with offsets donated to the Royal Horticultural Society. Thought when first found a variant of Iris caucasica, or else of I. nusairiensis, this juno species has now gained independent status.

Infrequently nowadays seen on the show bench, perhaps due to its late winter flowering proclivity, David Charlton’s Asphodelus acaulis is a North African bulbous plant, the leaves typically grazed by ruminants in its mountain homelands. David confessed he neglected this plant, only realising that it was in flower whilst searching his greenhouse for suitable show plants. Drought resistant once established, moisture is essential during early spring to produce flowers and it is best kept in a warm spot in summer, then overwintered under glass. I’m informed there are at least two variants in cultivation, the one with very thin leaves deemed the best example of its type.

Crossing the Straits of Gibraltar into southern Spain, Eric Jarrett’s Helianthemum pannosum, endemic to the Sierra Nevada, was shown in a class for silver/grey-leaved plants. This has small leave, tightly bunched along prostrate stems, and is additionally attractive during early summer, when the yellow flowers are produced.

Growing in the wild in unimproved grassy meadows, especially on limestone, Anacamptis morio subsp. longicornu can be found throughout the Mediterranean and also in North Africa. Neil Hubbard exhibited this in a class for three pan Orchidaceae.

Plants bearing the cultivar prefix ‘Lentune’ have been bred by Don Peace. A recent selection, Corydalis ‘Lentune Rouge’, was spotted by his wife among discarded seedlings. ‘Lentune’ references the archaic name of the village in North East England where Don lives. The parentage involves Corydalis ‘Penza Strain’.

Mark Childerhouse continues to grow and show excellent saxifrages. His large pan exhibit of white Saxifraga ‘Allendale Ghost’ (representing the unique hybrid S. ramsarica x poluanglica, dating from 2002), was awarded The Farrer Medal. Mark also exhibited another white flowered representative, Saxifraga scardica var. korabensis, in a class for plants native to Europe. Endemic to the Mt. Koran area, on the border between Albania and North Macedonia, this slow-growing kabschia enjoys a semi-shady position.

Reporter: Chris Lilley

Photographer: Jon Evans