I spent yesterday at the Malvern Autumn show and ended up being there a lot longer than originally anticipated. About four years ago the show had only a small horticultural offering, a few nurseries and bulb merchants, but this has really been turned around in recent years. For at least three years there has been what is called ‘The Good Life Pavillion’. Here there are a small number of show gardens which focus on growing your own, vegetable seed merchants and some other local producers – this year a number of cider producers! The number of nurseries has also grown not only the number in the large hall but also those outside. So now it feels like horticulture is being represented at the show as well as all the normal agriculture show features – dog agility, working horses, ferrets!! And we mustn’t forget the prize-winning vegetables but I will save those for another post.
Having the luxury of only living a 5 minute drive from the showground I have the advantage of getting there ready for opening time and so I can have a good look round and talk to the nurserymen before it gets too crowded. This is the best time to buy plants. You can pick up some really special things and also get the advice from the stall holder.
There were, as in previous years, nurseries which focus on one genus of plant; so you have huge displays of lilies, fuschias, gladioli. I never like these displays I think I find them just too overwhelming, I much prefer the displays were the nursery create a planting scheme with the plants they are offering. Whilst I was taking the photo above of a large display of fuschias I was amused to over hear a couple walking past. She says to him “Are there any here you haven’t got?” Considering the size of the display and the number of different fuschias jammed into it I hate to think what their garden is like or where on earth he stores them all through the winter! Also overhead was a farmer type moaning that there was too much horticulture!!!
I ended up with two tender ferns (inc a Phlebodium Aureum Areolata) for the greenhouse, a Sarracenia C V Juthatip Soper, a Saxifraga ‘Crystal Pink’ and a Salvia Confertiflora. Aong with some Cammassia Alba and Narcissus Paperwhite bulbs.
Having got my purchases nice and early I then met up with a number of blogging/twitter friends who I meet on a regular basis at the Malvern shows. This now brings a new side to the show as its fun to spend time looking at the show through other gardeners/horticulturists eyes and its great to catch up. Even more fun is the plant swapping that goes on in the car park – I came home with some strawberry plants and a Tree Onion which I wasn’t expecting.
We spent quite a bit of time in The Good Life Pavillion listening to talks by Mark Diacona and Joe Swift on growing vegetables. In particular Mark was promoting his new book – A Taste of the Unexpected which implores people to grow edibles that have an amazing taste (more of this on another post) and those who know me well will be impressed that he has convinced me that maybe I can grow edibles!! Mark was incredibly kind and gave me a Szechuan Pepper plant to start me off.
All in all a long but very enjoyable day rounded off by drinks later with some of my twitter friends who were staying overnight locally.