Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Great Autumn Show update

Well, I've been to the Great Autum Show (if you missed my earlier post on this, I messed up on the time stamp - darn those am/pm things- it's fixed now.)

I have to admit it was a little bit of a disappointment. Not because there weren't some great exhibitors and exhibitions, 'cause there were. Though I have to admit at some shows the plants strike my fancy more than at others, and this show was a little too heavy on grasses and indoor plants for me. I did see some new heucheras (namely H. Key lime pie and H. Caramel), but I've been having some vine weevil issues, and thought I'd better stay away. There wasn't a great display of bulbs (I need to refresh my tulips and I'm looking for some orange and white scented narcissus that don't cost the earth, but I figured it was too early for that) No there was another reason why it wasn't as great as it could have been.

Flower show etiquette
British people in most contexts are extremely polite and always respect queues. Little old British ladies even more so. But you put these same lovely old dames in a flower show and they could frighten even the most hardened teenager. They have years of practice giving a fellow flower show attender a sharp elbow so they can get a better look at Dahlia Dark Desire or a particularly fine specimen of saxifrage. At flower shows, all normal rules of etiquette are suspended. I went to the show expecting to have to fight my way throught the crowd, but there was hardly anyone there. Many's the time when I've wished the flower show was as empty as it was today, but now I can see how wrong it was. It was a flower show without the 'buzz'.

I did have a perfectly nice time, though wandering around. I talked to the nice lady at the Dorset Blueberry Company to see about getting my in-laws some berry plants (cranberry and lingonberry). And of course, I went round to see the Coloradan at Pennard Plants stand which I always do to have a little chat. I asked him how the show was going and though he tried to be upbeat about it, but admitted that the crowd was a little thinner than usual. Apparently the consensus among exhibitors (who mostly live out in the countryside) was that people were staying away because of the terrorism we experienced earlier in the summer. It sort of surprised me, though I'm not sure why. I guess I thought flower show goers were a more intrepid lot. He asked me how I felt about it and I said that I was getting over it, if you could do such a thing. Did I still ride the tube? Of course, I replied, I have no real alternative.

He was also a little annoyed because of the new fashion for ornamental. Pennard Plants have long been growers of grasses of all kinds, even when grass wasn't cool (now all the exhibitors have some kind of grass).

Even I, not a grass fan, could see that grasses are now the "in thing" and I thought I ought to give it a try. So I bought a Miscanthus sinensis "Sirene", from Pennard Plants, of course.

PS And here's another picture below from a special exhibitor. I'm not especially interested in pitcher plants, but I just thought this "monkey cup" was kinda cool.

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