This Sunday saw the first real plant fair of the year. Admittedly I have been buying plants all year from nurseries and at the gardening groups I go to but this is different. Spetchley Plant Fair has a good reputation locally and is only about 20 minutes drive from me. I haven’t been for a few years now and had promised myself that this year I would definitely go. Saying that I dithered as I am so focussed on what I need to do in the garden but having worked very hard on Saturday I decided a bit of plant retail therapy was needed.
I roped my Mum in and we headed off. She had a planter that had belonged to my sister and she was looking for something to go in it. I wanted to get some ferns, auricula and candelabra primulas so we had a plan and we went with cash so as not to be lead to far astray!! We got there early as they opened and toured the site. The plant fair is set on the lawn in front of Spetchley House with a lake behind you. I like this plant fair as it has a friendly feel. The selection of nurseries was excellent with some small local nurserymen that I know as well as some that had travelled further and had excellent reputations such as Edulis, Fibrex Nurseries and Cotswold Garden Flowers.
Given the cold start to the season it wasn’t surprising that the selection of plants was a little limited. Fritillaria, wood anemones, ranunculus and other woodland delights dominated. I found a nursery which focused on ferns and after a lively debate about which two I would buy I decided to follow my original plan and buy Asian hardy ferns (Polystichum tsus-simense and Cyrtomium fortunei) so that I can create an Asian fern border by the patio at home. I found some Auriculas and bought a large orange-red flowered one which I can divide and which will provide a good contrast to the purple ones I already have. Then we explored the Fibrex stand and I introduced Mum to scented leaved pelargoniums which resulted in ‘Lady Plymouth’ being bought for the planter; I bought ‘Lara Starshine’ which has tiny red flowers. Needless to say I succumbed to an impulse buy and inevitably it was from Cotswold Garden Flowers but I am very pleased with my Aeonium hierrense – yet another succulent to house in the garden.
After an early lunch in the garden tea-room and feeling warmer, there was a bitter cold wind, we finished off our visit with a wander around the gardens. The gardens are typical for the age of the house with a walled vegetable garden, orangery, parterre and then a woodland walk leading to a lake. The walled vegetable garden was very nice and neat and tidy but to be honest and not surprising there wasn’t much to see. What I really liked though were the hot houses which were sunk into the ground.
I could spend hours working in this hot-house, the smell was incredibly earthy and there was that wonderful warmth you get in these environments.
In the woodland walk there were rhododendrons beginning to flower as well as trilliums and wood anemones. Sadly the wind was getting the better of us so we took another tour of the plant fair which was getting quite busy and then went home.
If you live near Worcestershire then I would really recommend the plant fairs at Spetchley for a pleasant day out with the opportunity to buy plants from a range of very knowledgeable and friendly nurserymen. There is another plant fair on the 15th September which I hope to go to and buy a few late season treats.