A Trophy and too many Camassias


I have never ever won any trophy for anything so you can imagine how thrilled I am at winning the trophy above.  It is  even better given that the trophy is a wooden bowl when you consider my eldest son is a wood turner so we have a passion for wood in my house.


I won the trophy at the Alpine Garden Society Malvern show which was held today at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.  Like the other AGS shows it is a one day competition with competitors entering from around the country.  The plants above are in the Open section which a mere novice such as myself can only dream of aspiring to.  Many of the plants have been grown and cosseted for many years so the amount of commitment and dedication from the top exhibitors is to be admired.  This is my second national AGS show; I entered my first one last July when I got the bug for showing alpines.


I entered six classes in the novice section and I have to admit some of the plants I nearly didn’t bother entering but then I am my own worst critic.  I achieved three firsts – 3 pans of rock plants (Semiaquilegia, Saxifraga fortunei and Arisarum proboscideum); 1 rock plant grown from seed (Erinus alpinus); and 1 Sempervivum as well as a second for a Saxifraga and two thirds for a Rhodohypoxis and the other for a Primula marginata in the foliage category. Having staged my plant at 7:30 this morning I returned just before 10 to get the results. Thrilled at my awards I went off to spend the day working for Avon Bulbs at their stand.

Grevillea Mount Tamboritha

Grevillea Mount Tamboritha

I knew we would be busy in the floral marquee; Avon Bulbs are always popular and I have queued many a time to buy one of their treasures, but the stream of customers for the six hours I was on duty seemed endless. I sold so many Camassias and Gladiolus byzantinus that I will be happy not to see any for some time as well as Scilla peruviana which we  ran out of around lunchtime.  We also had regular demands for Lunaria annua Chedglow which had been featured on Gardeners World yesterday evening.  I loved every minute of it. I learnt lots of stuff from Chris (the boss) and also the customers themselves. I enjoyed sharing the excitement of customers at finding a plant they had been looking for, their indecision as to whether or not to splash out on another plant and the general sense of fun they were having.

Cypripedium calceolus

Cypripedium calceolus

Suddenly during the middle of the afternoon one of my fellow AGS members, Pauline, appeared in front of me.  She had come over especially to tell me I had won the Hartside Trophy for the most points in the novice section but I had missed the trophy presentation.  I have to say it hadn’t occurred to me to even look to see when the trophy presentation was as I didn’t think I would do that well.  But at least I missed having to go up in front of lots of people to receive the award!

Androsace bulleyana

Androsace bulleyana

As I said I have never won a trophy and I have to admit to feeling quite excited at the prospect as I made my way back to the AGS show at the end of my shift for Avon Bulbs.  It is a rather lovely trophy I think you will agree and is on my mantlepiece in pride of place.

Sadly, my camera is over exposing pictures at the moment so the photos on this post were taken with my son’s phone when he came to help me collect up my plants.  The plants I have featured are ones that caught my eye in the last 15 minutes which I would like to acquire – my love of red shows.

So I will now be seeing what I have that might be up to show standard for the next show I can get to in July.  I think I need 10 firsts before I can go up to intermediate but I’m not in a rush.  Talking to Pauline who was a novice last year she found the step up challenging as her plants had not yet bulked up enough and the number of exhibitors was greater.

All in all a full on, tiring but satisfying day.

24 Comments on “A Trophy and too many Camassias

    • Thank you. It was busy today wasn’t it!

  1. Very well done Helen. You’re a braver person than me to enter a National Show!

    • Hi Gwen
      I have got over the worrying stage now and it’s so much fub

  2. Hi Helen, many congratulations on your prize! I visited Malvern today and had a wonderful time, despite the weather. Avon bulbs stand was one of my favourites, it was tricky to take photos as there were so many people around the stand.

    • I think my back might be in many photos of Avon stand

  3. What a glorious show – and a fabulous trophy! It is beautiful – and so well earned! I love your garden – I wish I had more room. I’m finally going to ditch the hosts (they were here when I moved here 7 years ago) so I can get some room for some real plants!

  4. Congratulations on your success! You are indeed lucky to have been awarded a handsome and useful bowl rather than something that is only good for the closet. Hope you have a nice Mother’s Day too.

  5. Congratulations! It is impressive that you won with multiple show-worthy plants. I don’t grow alpines but I do show peonies, in the novice section. It’s always a great surprise to win any ribbon.

  6. Well done!! I bought some plants from Avon Bulbs at Toby Buckland’s garden festival at Powderham Castle last weekend. I spent ages choosing as they had so many goodies I would love to have!! That is all part of the fun. Many thanks for a lovely blog.

  7. Many congratulations to you Helen. Seeing how much energy you put into your garden and plants, particularly those on your ‘plant theatre’, I’m not surprised that you are starting to win awards. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been to win the trophy too!

    I’ve always loved the displays Avon Bulbs do. It must have been great to work on their stand, though no doubt very tiring.

    Well done you, enjoy your success.

  8. Its a lovely looking trophy Helen, I’m really impressed, sounds as if you have rather grown to enjoy this whole competition world. Hope this is the first of many such triumphs.

  9. Well done Helen – for building up the courage to do all this, entering the classes and helping out at Avon Bulbs, and especially for winning your first trophy! 🙂

    • Many thanks, it is taking pride of place on my mantelpiece

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