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South Wales AGS Show, 2022

February 19, 2022

After a wait of two years, I wondered if we would meet up for this, or indeed any show, ever again! Where had I left all my necessary accessories, such as labels, pens and the shows handbook? Having sorted these out, I then had to contend with a change of venue and then Storm Eunice, which meant that both bridges into Wales were closed the day before. This meant that the show hall was not available that evening, making setting up slightly later than expected. However, none of this stopped the Show Managers or the stoic exhibitors from staging their entries. The new venue was a marked improvement and – for me – meant a slightly shorter journey.

I was particularly taken by Fritillaria rugillosa, a new species described in 2021 from occurrences across a number of sites on the eastern fringes of the Fergana valley. A member of the Rhinopetalum subgenus, it is closely related to F. stenanthera. Another plant of interest was Don Peace’s Corydalis kusnetzovii, a species that is predominately pale cream or white: the form exhibited was a far more attractive, emphatic red.

In the Intermediate Section, I was impressed by two particular exhibits, the first of them Hepatica yamatutai, exhibited by David Carver. This is a plant that I have struggled to maintain, but here was seen in perfect condition. Roy Skidmore exhibited Galanthus nivalis ‘Alan’s Treat’, a green-tipped selection seen at AGS Shows several times before. Purchased from Avon Bulbs (co-proprietor Alan Street is referenced in the clonal name), Roy surprisingly advises keeping in the pot for up to four years before re-potting.

Moving onto the major awards, the Caerleon Cup for the Novice Section Aggregate went to Mike Acton of Wolverhampton.  The Intermediate Section Aggregate was won by David Carver of Yelverton.

The high standard of exhibits was reflected by five Certificates of Merit, though just two exhibitors carrying off these prizes.  Bob and Rannveig Wallis (Carmarthen) took the lion’s share with Corydalis popovii, Anemone biflora and Scilla mischtschenkoana. Of the three, Anemone biflora is a plant that I have coveted for many years, knowing its difficulty in cultivation. The other Certificates went to Bob Worsley of Woodford with Hepatica japonica ‘Utyuu’ and Hepatica japonica ‘ex Tessin’.

The Mary Byng Award for best plant in a pot not exceeding 19cm was the beautiful Petiolarid Primula ‘Arduaine’ x bhutanica raised by Don Peace (Yarm). The same exhibitor bagged the Galanthus Goblet with Galanthus ikariae.  For me, it was good to see a species winning this award, rather than the hybrids often coming up trumps in past years.

An AGS Medal for the small six-pan entry went to Gill and Paul Ranson of Chippenham, who also collected the AGS Seed Distribution Award for the best plant in the seed-raised classes with Dionysia tapetodes and The Isca Prize for the Open Section Aggregate.

The Farrer Medal for Best Plant in Show was Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Arctic Bells’, grown by Dave Richards of Cheltenham.  This is a recently, readily available selection that demonstrates you do not need to have rare and difficult plants to win this award.

Finally, I must congratulate Jon Evans of Farnham for the large Gold Award given to him for his photographic displays at AGS shows 2018/2019. We should thank show managers Bob and Rannveig Wallis for all their efforts in ensuring that the day went so smoothly.

Reporter: Eric Jarrett

Photographer: Jon Evans