Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let the Show Season Begin!

The plant show season for this year has officially started with the RHS London Plant and Design Show being held today and tomorrow. And being the first major plant show and fair of the year, this event is something we always look forward to with much excitement as it signals the start of more plant shows in the following months. Not to mention that after many months of winter, where the horticultural scene as at its most quiet, it's nice to see lots of plants again and get the chance to do some plant shopping!

So off to London we drove this morning, an annual ritual for us and is the only time that we actually drive in to heart of this city where the RHS Horticultural Halls are located and where the show is always held.

RHS London Plant and Design Show 2013
Early birds gets to queue! We didn't, we stayed on the other side of the street where the sun was shining directly. It was a gloriously sunny day!
Traffic going in to London can be hit or miss, one year the journey is quick, the next year it could be slow and patience testing. Fortunately this year it is was a quick and easy one, and for the first time we were actually there before the gates were opened. It wasn't a long wait though!

And the crowds flocked towards the plants!
It has been a gloriously sunny day and it was great to see the horticultural halls bright and flooded with natural light. On most occasions when the show is held its grey outside, couple with the poor artificial lighting inside it can make taking photos tricky. But this time around light was very generous which made taking photos easier. And great for everyone's mood too!

Whenever we attend shows it takes us awhile to get our bearings and relax, getting a head rush thinking, where do we begin and which one do we see first? Almost instinctively though we headed to the left straight to stand of Crug Farm. It was a well executed stand as usual, with some very new and nice plants included on the display to make plantsman's heart beat faster...

I spy with my little eye...some new plants!
Sinopanax formosana
Piper heydei
Aspidistra attenuata
Schefflera alpinia (large leaf form) - the leaves are indeed large and slightly glossy, comparing it at least to the S. alpinias we already have in the garden. This beauty went home with us!
A well deserved gold medal!
Love the leaves of this one - Daphniphyllum teysmanii
Tetradium fraxinifolium
Daphniphyllum cf. himalense
Polygonatum cf. tonkinense
Moving on from the Crug Farm stand, we went on to admire the other displays as well as check out the plants they have for sale...

Tulip magic!
A nice selection of alpines...
Streptocarpus, Begonias, and many more...
Great use of large and thick bamboo culms!
Reminded us of Singapore!
These succulents are surely enjoying the bright sun!
A trunked specimen of Agave geminiflora, wow!
I nearly bought this one, a black holly! Ilex meserveae 'Blue Angel'
A bright combo of Crocus and Iris!
A lovely combination!
Galanthus galore!
The show is actually held across two halls adjacent to each other, so after browsing this hall for several hours, we went to check out the other hall for more plant (and gardening) goodies...

This hall is where most of the 'design' bit can be found, as well as a selection of other items that are related to gardening including garden decor and accessories. 

One of our favourite stands in this hall - Chi-Africa ltd Recycled Metal Sculptures. Some of the birds went home with us!
We liked this one too, a hand woven copper sphere, we may have a go at making our own.
And there were a few more plant stall to be found here, like this one with a colourful display.
And in this hall we found the stand of Trewidden Nursery!

Pristine and perfect looking plants that are well arranged as always!
Jeff keeping an eye on the customers...
Fab selection of plants as always!
And we were there the moment they were handed out a well deserved gold medal for their outstanding display!

Jeff proudly showing off their gold medal (which isn't obvious on the photo as it was too bright!)
But this beauty is still the queen of their stand - Aloe polyphylla (and a very blue one too!)
Rounding up our purchases on this hall, we decided to have a break and have spot of lunch before we carry on. We met up with fellow blogger Clive of Rambling Towards an Exotic Garden Paradise and he suggested to us a wonderful English cafe that has retained its traditional charm that is so rare to find now in such a trendy area. The lunch was superb and very filling which is just what we needed!

Stop making faces now boys!
Satisfied and re-fuelled, we went back to the main hall to have a quick look around again and to round up our purchases for the day....

Tillandsias and other bromeliads
Bulbs in bloom galore! You'll never get this in the tropics!
A selection of alpines in troughs
Karma Camellia, hehe!
A round table of snowdrops!
and more Iris! We do love them!
It was a fantastic day as usual and we went home happy and content with our purchases. A fab show it was and we went home inspired and with some new plants for the garden. Looking forward to the growing season ahead with much enthusiasm and what else is in store this year with the shows about to come!

Mark :-)


  1. Thanks for posting these fantastic pics. I couldn't go today, so these have really cheered me up. Thanks again.

    1. Glad you enjoyed them Karen :) Perhaps next year you'll be able to make it!

  2. Wonderful! Wellworth considering a trip across the Atlantic next year!

    1. If you can Barry that'll be a lovely thing to do :) Or perhaps aim for one of the bigger shows like Chelsea, Hampton Court, etc?

  3. I popped over there this afternoon after work- a very nice display i thought. Esp the hall over the road which always tends to be the 'after thought' part i always find. Did come away with much- some Buddleia for the butterflies and several types of potato and yam to try this year.

    Glad you guys had fun!

    1. Thanks Owen! We left just after three, shame we didn't get the chance to meet and catch up there but perhaps next year (or on the London Plant Fair in April) :)

  4. Mark, I can't help but envy your guys about your plant shows! They always seem to be just fantastic! In this one I especially loved the displays of bulbs, maybe because even in San Diego it is raining and looking pretty dreary outside right now.

    1. Hi Christina, the bulb displays are always lovely and nice to see at this time of the year, love seeing all that colour together, or in the case of snowdrops, en masse in one stand :)

  5. Between the Crug Farm booth and Trewidden Nursery I think I could have gotten into a lot of trouble. What a fabulous day! I'm fantasizing now about finding a fabulous Schefflera at the Seattle garden show this weekend. HA! Ain't gonna happen but a girl can dream.

    1. We're on the same boat there Loree :) most of our haul were from those two nurseries. It was a fabulous day, really lovely which was helped by the bright and sunny weather. Can't wait to do more plant fairs in the coming months!

      Who knows, you might get lucky with finding Scheffleras in the Seattle show. Still a mystery why this group of plants are difficult to get hold of there....

  6. What a show! It's nice that it's well lit and not done with the theatrical lighting that is done at many of the shows here. You are so lucky to be in the land of Crug Farm. They are always introducing great plants that don't seem to hit the U.S. for quite a while. The beautiful restios at Trewidden Nursery made my heart palpitate. Thanks for sharing this fab show!

    1. It is indeed :) We always look forward to what new plants Crug Farm will be selling every year, as well as Trewidden (and the other nurseries too for that matter). Glad you enjoyed the post, always a pleasure to share!

  7. It was great to see you both! I hope that there was room for the car for both of you after all the plants you bought! my Schefflera macrophylla got home safe and sound on the train....fortunately no allergic reactions or sores from the leaves!

    1. And it was great to see you too Clive and catch up again! We didn't buy that much..well not enough to fill the car anyway, lol! Glad to hear your s.mac got home fine, it's a beautiful specimen! And even better that you didn't have any allergic reaction from it :)

  8. Oh, my! I want that and those and that and that! What a wonderful show! I'm surprised you had enough money left for lunch! Not sure I would have! :)

    1. The key is to eat first before you finish your purchases, lol! :)

  9. Oh, my, I would have spent all my money before I was past the Crug Farm stand! So many wonderful foliage plants! And then I would have regretted my blown budget the rest of the day, especially when I saw the bird sculptures and the alpines in troughs.

    1. They're all lovely aren't they Debs? :) We succumbed to the birds too and bought home a few with us.

  10. This makes me wish more than ever that more garden shows used natural light venues...even on a gray day, it's better than the weird yellow light they use at the shows around here!

    1. Indeed Scott, artificial lighting just doesn't look right on garden shows isn't it? Especially you almost always associate plants on an outdoor setting.

  11. Thank you, that is just how I like to visit shows, virtually, so that I don't get freaked by all the crowds or empty my wallet! Crug Farm should come with a health warning... Nice to see the Chi Africa stand, I went and looked at their website, really transported me back to South Africa.

    1. Indeed Janet, sometimes its safer to visit a show virtually, can save you lots of cash, lol! It was a great show and always a delight to visit especially at the tail end of winter, nice to have that retail green fix!

  12. This show looks fabulous, and much more plant-centric than ours. Hardscape is king at our shows, with plant material as an afterthought. It's still exciting, though: getting a jump on the planting season, and we can always look here for plant inspiration.


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