After a prolonged autumn and about a week in total of winter weather, Early Spring Show was once again upon us. Although entries were down on normal, I suspect that the entry was higher than in the long winter of 2006. This was a show which was full of interest and I noted down quite a list for the show report so let me try and group them:
There were some wonderful Narcissi although the weird weather and low light conditions had caused many to be fairly drawn and floppy considered by the number of ties being removed just prior to judging. The best Narcissus was selected to be the stunning hybrid, ‘Eira’ raised by Rannveig Wallis from a cross of N triandrus with N cantabricus but it is equally worth commenting on the very floriferous deep yellow, multiflowered and vigorous, N ‘Dinah Rose’ (right), another N triandrus hybrid, which went on the receive a much deserved preliminary Commendation from the Joint Rock Garden Committee. This was raised by Jim and Jenny from seed supplied the late Dinah Batterham and looks to have quite a future as a plant for exhibition.
The Farrer was hotly contested by three superb examples of the grower’s art. Dionysia curviflora and Fritillaria davidii just missed out to a wonderful deep cherry-coloured Cyclamen coum from Ian Robertson which filled a 36 cm pan with a plethora of flowers.and Fritillaria davidii just missed out to a wonderful deep cherry-coloured Cyclamen coum from Ian Robertson which filled a 36 cm pan with a plethora of flowers.
Much comment was made about the Fritillaria davidii (Bob & Rannveig Wallis) which, sporting 30 flowers was the most prolific seen yet of this example of nature’s exquisite wackiness. The two necessities for growing this plant are to give it a “monsoon” outside in the shade all summer and full sun in the greenhouse as soon as the leaves appear in October.
On the contrary the Mediterranean species F latakiensis of Peter Jacob is best with a dry summer, although it too grows its leaves through the winter. It was good to see such an excellent plant in section B and the exhibitor well deserved the Certificate of Merit.
New Dionysia’s keep appearing and it was three Iranian yellow ones which caught my eye, the beautiful bun-shaped DD termeana and sarvestanica (both from Gill and Paul Ranson) were eclipsed by the rather coral-like D crista-galli of Alan Newton.
The diversity of hardy terrestrial orchids was once again exemplified by the orchid duo (Richard Manuel and Barry Tattersall) who seem to compete in each of the orchid classes. I don’t recall having seen the beautifully formed fly mimic, Ophrys regis-ferdinandi (Barry Tattersall), before but cannot help wondering what happened to botanist who named such a weirdo after his king!
Two gold medals awarded to exhibits of: Debbie Jolliff for her photographs of snowdrops and orchids and to RHS Wisley for a display of alpines rounded off an excellent first show for new Show Secretary, Kit Strange.