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Loughborough Spring 2023

March 11, 2023

The weather forecast for Saturday 11th March was dire with predictions of heavy snowfalls and ice. I, therefore, telephoned the day before to check if the show was indeed still running and to find out if snow had been cleared from the parking area. Fortunately this had been dealt with and I decided to ‘take the chance’ as most of my journey is by motorway.

On entering the show, which is now located back at the original site, my only issue was negotiating the numerous metal barriers that had been erected which made parking a little more ‘adventurous’!

My eye was first taken with Class 12 – Bob & Ranveig Wallis had exhibited Anemone heldreichii. I am familiar with this genus, but not that particular species.

Anemone heldreichii exhibited by Bob & Rannveig Wallis

Anemone heldreichii exhibited by Bob & Rannveig Wallis

These same exhibitors had entered Class 75 with a three pan exhibit, but I was taken with what looked to be a small form of Fritillaria bucharica only to be advised that it was Fritillaria baisunensis.

They also collected sufficient points to be awarded the Charnwood Forest Trophy (most first prize points in the Open section) and the Narcissus Salver for their Narcissus asturiensis var. lagoi RDD702305. To my mind, however, the plant that I would most like to have taken home was their Tulipia regelii. It had taken them, two of our top growers, 11 years to persuade this very difficult plant to flower. So what chance do us lesser mortals have?

I am reliably informed that they grow this plant in their usual compost mix of two parts loam with the addition of perlite or vermiculite and grit. Grown in the Alpine house; great care must be taken with watering.

Another interesting Fritillaria was exhibited by Don Peace, who has a knack of producing unusual hybrids. In Class 86 he had exhibited Fritillaria ‘Lentune Eyecatcher’, a hybrid of Fritilillaria aurea x F. pinardii.  He also was awarded the Webster Trophy for best plant native to Europe with his superb Callianthemum anemonoides.

Fritillaria 'Lentune Eyecatcher' exhibited by Don Peace

Fritillaria 'Lentune Eyecatcher' exhibited by Don Peace

Well known from his stunning exhibits of Hepaticas, Bob Worsley exhibited in Class 87 a superb Gagea fibrosa, grown from Scottish seed in a mixture of JI and leaf mould and vermiculite, a plant that your reporter is growing but has yet to produce a specimen as robust as the one that was on show.

Gagea fibrosa exhibited by Bob Worsley

Two exhibits from different people in the Intermediate Section that took my interest were, firstly Heather Barraclough’s Primula allionii ‘Evelyn Burrow’and secondly, David Carver from Yelverton, who we have seen working his way through the section, with his exhibit of Fritillaria wendelboi. He also collected the Outwoods Trophy for the Intermediate Section Aggregate, and a Certificate of Merit for Narcissus ‘Giselle’.

The Winner of the Beacon Trophy in the Novice Section Aggregate was Christine Jarvis from Blueberry.

Fritillaria wendelboi exhibited by David Carver

Fritillaria wendelboi exhibited by David Carver

Further Certificates of Merit were issued to the following:-

Peter Hood of Hetton-Le-Hole for Corydalis sewerzowii.

Chris Bowyer of Chaddesden for his Maihueniopsis subterranea ssp. pulcherrima.

John Dixon of East Leake for his Dionysia tapetodes JRD 95/1/1 and Primula ‘Lepus’.

The Richard Regan Trophy for Best Plant in a pan not exceeding 19cms was awarded to Paul and Gill Ranson of Chippenham for their Dionysia zschummelii T4Z166Go2.

Eric Jarrett from Stroud received a Certificate of Merit for his Dioynsia bryoides, also the American Trophy for the best plant native to the Americas with Trillium nivale, which went on to receive the Royal Bank of Scotland Award for best pan of bulbous plant.

Saxifraga Allendale Ghost exhibited by Mark Childerhouse

Saxifraga 'Allendale Ghost' exhibited by Mark Childerhouse

Finally, the Farrer Medal was awarded to Mark Childerhouse from Brigg for his very large pan of Saxifraga ‘Allendale Ghost’, which was completely covered with its pure white flowers.

My thanks extend to Neil Hubbard and Martin Rogerson, Joint Show Secretaries, the Judges and all the helpers who managed to put together a magnificent show.

Show Reporter: Eric Jarrett
Show Photographer: Jon Evans