You’ve got to love David Austin roses, and this ‘tea table’ in their stand in the marquee was almost as gorgeous as their roses. See Boscobel below, not new, just ravishing. On the way to David Austin I passed the RHS stand for the Plant of the Year 2014. I took an instant dislike to the hydrangea which won, as well as the two runners up, but thought both this Turks Cap lily Lilium martagon ‘Jennifer Evans’, (bred by Ieuan Evans) and the Trollius, ‘Dancing Flame’, (bred by Fairweathers Nursery, Hampshire, but entered by Hardy’s), were fabulous. We visited a number of new nurseries, as well as a number of ‘old friends’ and one of the first new ones was Tynings Climbers, who hold the national collections of both Passiflora CVS and Jasminum. I’d definitely like both these passion flowers – Passiflora ‘Constance Elliot’ and ‘Purple Haze’.
Also new to me was the Botanic Nursery, Atworth, who hold the national collection of Digitalis. I really like the towering spires of foxgloves and whilst I already have some in the garden, I’d definitely like more and so bought seed of Digitalis pupurea ‘Apricot’ (not sure if this is the same as ‘Suttons Apricot’ I have already), D x mertonensis (I’ve grown this before but don’t have it currently and was inspired to grow it again by the ‘Positively Stoke-on-Trent’ planting), D. ‘Primrose Carousel (a lovely cream with purple spotted throat, see photo below) and D. Lutea, which I’m hoping to get to grow in the shady oak bed. I also admired the grasses on the Eversley Nursery stand and particularly liked the cream pom poms on this Sesleria nitida. Of nurseries I’ve bought from before, the Hardy’s stand was looking great and won Gold again. In addition to the new Trollius above, I liked a low pink Geranium ‘Elke’ and a good blue, Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ as well as this rather mad peony, Paeonia ‘Copper Kettle’. Another nursery I’ve bought from before is Trewidden Nursery, who are based in Cornwall and, according to their websire, are the most south westerly nursery in mainland Britain. They specialise in exotics, such as Proteas, Restios and succulents and, living in a relatively mild spot myself, I bought a couple of plants from them earlier in the year. This time I’ve gone for seeds and am trying Tulbaghia simmleri, Aloe striata, Lessertia montana, and Gladiolus papilio – but forgot to take any photos.
And now for the real shock. The OH, who to date has confined himself to succulents and, (when badgered), the lawn, had a very long chat with the man at Hampshire Carnivorous Plants and treated himself to a set of three small plants. He doesn’t seem to have the names of them, but they’re definitely one each of (some kind of) Venus Fly Trap, Pitcher Plant and a Sundew. They’ve already been transferred from their plug packaging, and are now sited in the greenhouse. Could this be the beginning of something?
Almost exactly a year ago I attended a course at the inspirational West Dean Gardens. The event was a weekend course, ‘Dig your blog’ with Jane Perrone and Jacqui Hurst teaching a group how to (garden) blog. And, although it took eight months and redundancy for me to actually post my first post, I would definitely say the foundation stones were laid a year ago at West Dean.
By sheer coincidence I was back at West Dean yesterday and the difference in plant progress from last year to this is astonishing. The fruit trees are in leaf, (and some in bloom),
the peonies which last year were just shoots, are now in bud,
and many tulips are out.
And yet there was a chill in the air and a rather cruel breeze whistling round my (ill judged) bare ankles, making an in depth investigation of the thirteen (thirteen!) glasshouses rather more appealing than the 2 1/2 mile Parkland Walk.
And what a show! I’ve been to West Dean at least half a dozen times over the years but I’ve never spent much time in the glasshouses, but just look:
Acres of Auriculas,
(Echeveria Runyonii ‘Topsy Turvey’, Crassula nealeana, and Echeveria shaviana)
legion lettuces (the size of dinner plates),
a fecund fig
and lastly, (in the glasshouses), Nepenthes x mixta x maxima, the Pitcher Plant. This was seriously maxima. According to Wiki answers, in addition to insects, they can also ‘eat’ mice. I reckon this one would have given a rat a run for its money.
And finally, something which (in addition to everything above) sums up West Dean to me – a wonderful structure (flint wall), covered in an imaginatively trained and beautifully grown flowering currant (Ribes speciousum). Now how many times have you seen that?