Dionysia 'Tess'
Dionysia ‘Tess’

On Easter Monday I popped along to the local Alpine Garden Society’s plant show.  This was an annual show organised by the group I go to and not part of the national circuit but the standard of entries were still very high and I think many are entered into the national shows.  Above is Dionysia ‘Tess’, this is a plant I have only discovered since I joined the Alpine Garden Society and apparently it is very hard to grow to the standard above.  It needs to be grown in an alpine house and the growers that exhibit turn them every 4 hours, or so I am told, in order to get such a uniform flowering across the plant.  I did like this Dionysia but generally the cushion plants, as they are called, don’t appeal to me; they are too perfect, too neat – I prefer my plants to look more natural!

An entry of 3 pans of Dioynsia
An entry of 3 pans of Dioynsia
Ipheion dialystemon
Ipheion dialystemon

My attention was taken more with the bulbs which given the time of year were much in evidence.  I particularly liked the crocus I showed in my wordless Wednesday post but found the markings on this Ipheoin quite striking.

Asplenium fontanum
Asplenium fontanum

I have learnt two major things since I joined the Alpine Garden Society last year.  Firstly, that there are masses of plants out there that I have never heard of and secondly, and more importantly, alpine plants are not all the cushion plants shown above.  Ferns are alpines, as are Peonies, Lupins, Delphinium, Aquilegia, Azaleas, Rhododendrons – in fact anything which grows in mountainous conditions but that doesn’t have to be dry mountainous  conditions and it includes lots of the woodland plants I love.  So my new interest in ferns and my continuing and growing passion for Primula are well fed.

Primula marginata 'Dwarf Form'
Primula marginata ‘Dwarf Form’

Being the end of March there were certainly lots of Primulas on show.  I was annoyed with myself for not having more courage and entering my Primula marginata into the novice section as the one I have is rather good although not as large as the one above.  In fact the entries in the Novice section, whilst good have made me think that I could have a go.  So I have set myself a goal of having something to enter into the show in a year’s time.  I am covering my bets and have ordered a range of miniature bulbs which I will grow on in pots in the hope of being able to enter them as well as my primulas.  I have also decided to start of with specialising in Primula marginatas; there are so many different Primulas that I needed some sort of focus. This meant that I came home with another two in my bag.

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Who knows in 20 years time I might be able to achieve prize-winning Primula allionii like the ones above.

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