If you know of anyone who might be tempted to exhibit at our shows, phone or email the AGS Centre and they will be glad to send a Handbook out to the member concerned.
The big change in 2005 will be the abolition of Prize Money at our Shows - more about this inside.
For those of you on the internet, you will continue to see the show results on our website a day or so after the show. All the results for previous years are still there and this is becoming an extremely valuable resource of plant images. You should start to use the new society web address for this - change your browser bookmark now.
Anyone who takes digital pictures at a show (general views, or interesting plants) can email them to me and I will display a selection.
My thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the shows during 2004.
Looking back at the 2004 Show Season, Geoff Mawson
Plants at the early Shows
Retirement of Cyclamen Parviflorum var subalpinum
Facelift for February Display
No more prize money
Encouraging new exhibitors
Open Section Aggregate
2004 has, as expected, provided its challenges and delights. I remember back on the 25th February 2004 wondering just what plants I would be able to thaw out from my Derbyshire alpine house in time for the Early Spring Show. At the time my garden was snow covered and the temperature was –5o. Just three weeks previously Geoff Rollinson and myself had agreed that we could both hold a show of our own, such was the colour available. Despite such problems the shows have continued to take place unaffected by the vagaries English climate. It was 75 years ago that Sir William Lawrence suggested the desirability of a Rock Garden Society. Shows continue to be one way of projecting our interest in alpine plants to a wider audience whilst having confidence that the more we know about alpine plants and their needs the more we can contribute to the conservational implications.
At the early Shows, in recent years there has been a tendency for three genera – Cyclamen, Dionysia and Fritillaria – to reliably provide candidates for the Farrer Medal. These often belong to experienced exhibitors with renowned collections of such plants. But in 2004, at the first three Shows of the year, this was not the case, and it was noteworthy that none of the recipients had won a Farrer Medal before. Roger Norman brought a grafted, mature, evenly-furnished Daphne jezoensis down from his Leominster home to win the first Medal of the season at Bassaleg. A fortnight later, at Harlow, Paul Cumbleton, known to many for his work in the rock garden and alpine houses at RHS Wisley Garden, brought along an exceptionally well-flowered Pleione humilis that triumphed against strong opposition. And at Loughborough, what must surely be the largest specimen of Primula allionii in cultivation won through; this was a plant passed on four years ago upon the death of Peter Grimshaw. The previous owner had several times won Best in Show with this venerable plant, but despite a couple of near misses with other contenders, this was a ‘first’ for Edward Barraclough.
Retiring from the bench after 8 years Cyclamen parviflorum var subalpinum won first at Loughborough Show in one pan rock plant native to Turkey, but the growers, Mike and Christine Brown, have decided that it is now past its best. The floral trunks are a congested mass of nodules preventing the growing flower and leaf buds from developing freely. An attempt to vegetatively propagate will be made in June when the tuber is dormant by cutting up the floral trunks into small pieces. It was shown 19 times, won 13 firsts, 2 certificates of Merit, a Farrer and a Forrest Medal.
As the season progressed, the budget for new medals was blown out of the water by a total of 9 new Farrers. The other successes were for: Carl Hardwick: Orchis pauciflora; George & Pat Gordon: Cassiope ’Kathleen Dryden’; Pat Duffy: Iris schachtii; Diane Clement: Ledum groenlandicum; Ron & Hilary Price: Rhododendron ’Sarled’; Brian & Shelagh Smethurst: Campanula x stansfieldii. There was also a Silver-Gilt 10th Farrer for Alan Furness: Kalmiopsis leachiana and a Professional Farrer for Buried Treasure (Rannveig Wallis’ nursery): Narcissus bulbocodium
This year, the February Display is having a ‘facelift’. There will be fourteen professional nurseries most of whom will be putting on displays. These include Galanthus, Hellebores, Saxifrages, Dwarf Narcissus, Dwarf Conifers, Iris and other general displays.
For the first time the public are to be invited. In order to make this event into a showcase to attract new members to the Alpine Garden Society, it would be helpful if members would bring plants for the Members’ Sales Table and Exhibition plants for a Members’ Display.
Refreshments will be available as usual.
Over the years, there has been extensive discussion about whether the amounts of prize money awarded at our shows was worth the administrative burden it imposed on Show Secretaries and Treasurers. After much discussion at Shows Subcommittee, at Finance Committee and with exhibitors themselves, it has been decided to abolish prize money at our shows during the coming year. Because of the ways Shows are financed, the savings made as a result of this will be shared between the National Shows Department and the Local Groups whose help is so invaluable in running the Shows.
Most shows now encourage new C Section exhibitors to bring plants along right up to the last minute. This is an attempt to make the rules for beginners a little less daunting. If you know anyone who might be tempted, do everything you can to encourage them.
As you can see from the league tables overleaf, the competition for the annual aggregate in the Open Section was every bit as exciting as it has been for the last few years. Everything depended on the last show of the season in Sussex. Congratulations to Ian Kidman for coming out on top this year.
If you have any brief items that could be printed in future issues of this Newsletter, please let Geoff Mawson have them. He has agreed to act as coordinator.
Trophies are awarded for the most first prize points won in the season by exhibitors in each Section. Here I have listed the top few exhibitors for each Section, together with the number of firsts and first prize points they won. The full lists are on the website.
Trophies are awarded for the most first prize points won in the season by exhibitors in each Section. The full lists are on the website, showing the exhibitors for each Section, together with the number of firsts and first prize points they won..