Autumn Show gets better and better

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.

10 Comments on “Autumn Show gets better and better

  1. Massed ranks of fuchsias takes all the beauty out of them. Gladioli in pots emphasises the stiff side of their nature and takes away their grace. (Mine are all over now!)

    It must be great fun to meet up with people.

    Did you see the cattle too? I confess if I were at a show like this, I’d be off to see the cows. I can see plants any old day but I miss cattle. (I said that in a whisper.)


    • No we dont go near the cattle though I expect there were some there somewhere. I agree with your comment about the massed ranks of fuchsia and gladiolus they dont do the plants justice and I also dislike the very large exhibition dahlias and chrysanthemums

  2. Dear Helen, The Autumn Sow at Malvern has certainly developed since its early days. No wonderthat you ended up extending your stay. but, how marvellous to be only a 5 minute drive away since that certainly means you can arrive before the crowds and get a really close look at the exhibits and also, have time to speak with the nursery growers.

    I too should have come away with Camassia Alba. Such a lovely plant. And, the Paperwhite Narcissi are difficult to beat, especially, in my mind, if forced into flower for the Christmas dining table.

  3. I visited the Good Life Pavilion too early so missed the talks but did admire the apple displays. I failed to look at the show gardens in there, too. I did see Nigel Colborn giving a talk on a variety of plants, which was entertaining and enlightening, and which has encouraged me to try growing Sarracenias. Glad you had a good day.

  4. I know exactly what you mean about serried ranks of the same plant family, though perhaps ferns would be an exception – and roses? And how lovely to have a show that combines the horticultural with the agricultural, sounds pefect, I must try to get there next year!

  5. Back up, I wasn’t expecting a Tree Onion either. What IS it? Edible? Or just looks like …? (Perhaps The Wife was asking – are there ANY you haven’t got yet?!)

  6. The first sentence made me giggle. The idea of you just popping in to Malvern for five minutes seems totally unlikely! But then I felt a bit wistful – I did so enjoy going to the show in May. I’m so glad you had a good time.

  7. It was nice to see you at the show – sorry I couldnt stay for a drink, and I’m dead envious I didn’t get a pepper plant! I’ve had tree onions here for a couple of years but they’re reluctant to walk – perhaps they need a bit of a workout to energize them…

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