Pennard Plants had set out 75 different varieties of chitting potatoes at only 22p a tuber as well as displays in both halls. It's a brilliant system that allows the buyer to 'pick n mix' the spuds they want to grow. If I had the space, I'd grow one of each variety for the ultimate taste test but, having done a small scale test last year, I knew which tuber to choose: Arran Victory. Let's see how it does for me this year.
I was keen to have a good look round so left all buying until the end. I really only wanted some potatoes to chit and a set of beautiful cloche frames that I'd seen last year from Plant Belles:
|The larger hoop straddling the smaller ones is this year's new size - a 4ft hoop!|
With my garden designer head on, I totally fell for the 'grasses' - this is Elegia equisetacea in close up:
Beautiful. In my humble opinion. ;)
Or how about this Narcissus cyclamineus from Broadleigh Gardens: I hadn't come across this particular tiny flower before and thought it both delightful and unusual.
This, above, is Correa pulchella 'Pink Mist' on display at Fibrex Nurseries; a small evergreen shrub hailing originally from NSW Australia - looks like it would fit perfectly into an English garden! This is a plant that I'll bookmark (for any future clients!). What's not to love about its elongated bell-shaped flowers? (I was going to write 'campanulate' but that would just be showing off.) I'm already looking for the flower fairies to appear!
For me, the show is a wonderful chance to see a range of plants and this Lathyrus vernus 'Cyaneus' didn't disappoint - reminiscent of violets but quite definitely flowering in the sweet pea family with lovely light green paired leaves.
It was displayed next to Dicentra formosa, ferns and snowdrops which suggests that it's a good woodland edge plant.
I was very pleased to say hello again to Joy at Sea Spring Seeds. A renowned grower of chillies (including Dorset Naga, the hottest variety - plug plants for sale at the show), she's exhibiting a visual feast of salad leaves which earned her a silver medal. I'd already bought my chilli seeds from Joy at the RHS autumn show but with thoughts of summer salads in mind, I bought packets of salad leaves. Who wouldn't be tempted by these beautiful leaves?
Joy is a passionate gardener and, very helpfully, nipped off leaves of her delicious plants for me to taste. Cue purchase of many packets of seeds and module trays which will be sown today.
Having wandered, looked, chatted, got some amazing advice from the growers and from Writtle College (good conversation about environmental psychology), I'll be going back today to take in a couple of the design lectures on offer. Whew - a lot to cover that, personally, I couldn't have managed in one day - but that's where membership of the RHS will stand me in good stead - the show is free entry for members.
The show is open today, Saturday, until 5 pm (Victoria and Pimlico tube stations within an easy walk). Well worth going if you can get there.
More about the show from Alternative Eden and Down on the Allotment.
PS. I haven't got my cloche covers yet because I was loaded up with violas, a scented leaved pelargonium, canes of Polka raspberry and module trays for starting off my seed sowing! Very restrained, under the circumstances. ;)