Being a bit of a plant nut for me shows are all about the nurseries not the show gardens. If I am honest I think the show gardens, especially at Chelsea, get far too much coverage and the nurseries get overlooked. At the end of the day without the nurseries growing, and in some case breeding, plants there wouldn’t be much on offer for the designers to plant up their show gardens with! Anyway, stepping off my soap box, I am devoting this post to some of the nurseries in the Plant Marquee at RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
This year the Plant Marquee has been relocated to the other side of the showground having been in the same location for years. I liked the layout of the new Marquee although there were 10 less nurseries exhibiting which was a little disappointing. However, because today it has rained more or less all day the showground was getting very muddy and when you add a leaking gutter to this which resulted in a couple of nurseries having to work in very muddy conditions at the start of the day there were some grumbles. Saying that I think the location of the plant marque was as good as previously with probably more passing trade.
Having visited the show for more years than I care to remember it is nice to see familiar nurseries and faces. I was thrilled to discover Ian Butterfield had returned with his pleoines. He thought last year was his last but there he was back again. He gave me an idiots guide to growing pleiones and a catalogue so I can order another one when I have killed the first one!
In the past I have bought from both Hardy’s and Cotswold Garden Flowers but this year my interest has strayed away from the usual woodland plants I buy so having admired their stands I moved on. I also liked Sue Beesley’s Bluebell Cottage Nursery display. This was her first time at Malvern and she seemed to be doing well as whenever I went to say hello she had a gaggle of customers waiting to buy plants.
Having discussed ferns and pelargoniums many an evening on twitter with Fibrex Nurseries it was a foregone conclusion I would succumb to a few purchases from them: a Woodwardia unigemmata for the exotic border and a Pelargonium Sweet Mimosa which has deliciously scented leaves and is perfuming my greenhouse as I type.
I love the guys at Fernatix and their displays are key contributor to my fern obsession and they, many a nurseryman, are only too pleased to chat and give advice. So every year I buy at least one fern from them. This year it is Onoclea sensiblis which I chose because the foliage is very different from the normal ferns.
Dibleys was on my list to visit as I wanted to buy some tender Begonias to adorn the patio and feed my new exotic foliage fascination. I came away with Begonia Raspberry Swirl, Begonia Rocheart and Begonia L’Escargot which has made me very happy.
Last up is Trewidden Nursery from Cornwall. I encountered them a couple of weekends ago at the London show and discovered they had an extensive range of succulents – another of my interests (maybe I have too many interests!). Needless to say I came away with two new Aeoniums, both bred by the nursery, Aeonium sedifolium with dwarf leaves and Aeonium ‘Cornish Tribute’. Hopefully one of them might earn me an award in the Open Garden competition next year if I enter.
This year I got a third which isn’t as good as last year but it’s still an award though I think trying to enter plants into the Open Garden competition at the same time as getting organised for staging the AGS Artistic Show may have been too much so I might not bother with the Open Garden next year.
Oh and I also bought a bit of garden art which for some reason seemed to make people laugh – I think it’s all a matter of taste and I love her.