Easter Show

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Last year I posted about attending my local Alpine Garden Society’s annual show and it was attending this show that made me decide to have a go at entering plants into shows.

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It’s interesting how different the plants exhibited this year are from last year.  The show is always on Easter Monday so we were a week later but it was plain to see how the milder temperatures had resulted in the season being much more advanced.  The number of narcissus and tulips was significantly reduced, last year there were even crocus on display.  Many experienced exhibitors were saying they had struggled to find plants to show due to the advanced season.

Benthamiella patagonica
Benthamiella patagonica

Looking back at my photographs it is interesting that the plants that appeal to me aren’t the traditional alpine cushions such as the Bentamiella patagonica above but more foliage plants and/or woodland plants.

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’
Uncinia rubra
Uncinia rubra

Yes the Podophyllum is classed as an alpine, as are many other favourites such as Aquilegia, Peonies, Trilliums and Arisaema, it’s not all cushion plants.  I was rather taken by the grass above which is now on my wish list – I love the blood-red of the foliage.

Saxifraga longifolia
Saxifraga longifolia

But then again who can resist this Saxifraga longifolia which I think is just stunning.

Daphne gemmata
Daphne gemmata

This Daphne was quite stunning but I suspect it will be sometime before I can aspire to such a plant especially as they are quite hard to come by.

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I am starting off in the Novice Section which as you can see attracts far fewer entries than the other classes.  However, we all have to start somewhere and the beauty is that you are fairly guaranteed to win something which is what you need to spur you on to progressing.  I had a bit of a dither earlier in the week about whether to enter or not.  The flowers on my narcissus were determiningly remaining shut and the primulas I had anticipated entering had no signs of flowers at all.  However, with some persuasion from my son,  I decided to bite the bullet and enter whatever I had on the basis you never know.  I was glad I did as I came away with three 1sts, two 2nds, one 3rd and one unplaced.  I know that my firsts were really because my plants were the only entries but its still a thrill and overall due to the number of entries I made I won Overall Winner in the Novice section.

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The other nice thing is that regular exhibitors are so pleased to see new people entering and there were a number of comments that the novice section the show had a better novice display than many of the national shows because a couple of us had entered a good number of plants.

This is the fourth show I have entered – each one slightly different from the other – and I think I am hooked on showing now.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Congratulations! But as usual, you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit:^)

  2. Jennifer says:

    I think I want that Daphne gemmata! I’m going to look for one – probably with no luck ………

  3. rusty duck says:

    A fantastic display of alpines.
    I have that Uncinia and it’s a beautiful grass but I am finding that I have to lift and divide it every year because it dies out in the middle. Could be my damp conditions of course.
    Well done on your awards!

  4. Shirley says:

    This show looks like so much fun. The recognition of overall honors in your class and the support of those more experienced gardeners is wonderful to see. Congratulations!

    The cushion alpines might be standard fare but they are quite fascinating to me.

  5. Pauline says:

    Congratulations on your success! Alpines seem to me to be so neat and tidy, do plants take after their owners I wonder, or is it the owners who choose plants that are like themselves? Good for you on entering. it’s the only way these shows will continue.

  6. AnnetteM says:

    Congratulations on your wins! Do you have to move up a class if you get a first? I have not been to many shows and certainly never entered any. What are the rules for entering a plant – do you have to have grown it from seed or just looked after it for a certain number of years without killing it?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Annette
      There are no rules really aside from ensuring it is an alpine. I suppose you need to be able to say you are growing it rather than you have popped out and bought it the day before and repotted but I think the judges are pretty astute and most of the plants arent available from the run of the mill garden centre. There is a class for plants you have grown from seed but I didnt have anything in flower to enter this year but hopefully will next year

    2. AnnetteM says:

      In that case I might have a look at growing a few things to enter. Thanks

  7. bittster says:

    What an amazing job that’s done with these plants. I’m lucky to get them looking halfway decent in the ground, let alone in containers.
    Nice that you had someone there to give you a little push when you needed it, sounds like you enjoyed it and I bet you’re right in that the regulars enjoy seeing “new blood” giving it a go.
    Frank

  8. Congratulations ! Lovely pictures too !

  9. Congrats Helen…very exciting news

  10. Anna says:

    Oh well done you. It certainly takes some nerve to enter shows and put your name next to your exhibit whether it be an alpine or a plate of tomatoes. I had not realised that peonies,trilliums and arisaemas could be classified as alpines.Somehow I always think of alpines as little dinky plants. Will have to find out more.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      alpines are plants that grow above a certain height but it’s not as high as you would expect so all those wonderful woodland plants from the lower mountains of China and India are included plus most bulbs

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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