Tuesday, February 15, 2011

RHS London Plant and Design Show

The Royal Horticultural Society are holding a two day show in central London at the moment (15 and 16 February 2011), and Mark and I decided to both take a day off from work to attend. We haven't attended this particular show before so we were not entirely sure what to expect, however we were not disappointed.

Iris histrioides 'Katherine Hodgkin'
The London show is split into two halls, the first being mostly plants and plant related displays, with the second being more concentrated on the design aspects. Being so early in the year the show was dominated by early spring colour, with a profusion of galanthus, hellebores and miniature iris all jostling to catch your attention. Although we are not avid collectors of bulbs there was plenty of interest in these stands and I came home with a couple of small pots of Iris histrioides 'Katherine Hodgkin' a very striking pale blue iris.

However for us the main attraction was the stand of Crug Farm, who supply some very unusual and rare plants. We were particularly interested in various species of Schefflera and Illicium. Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones collect seed for many of their plants from the places such as Vietnam and Taiwan for propagation in North Wales and it was a pleasure to finally get to meet them after having previously only communicated by telephone.

Whilst discussing the finer points of their new introductions we were introduced to Roy Lancaster who will be known to many in the UK from his association with the BBC Gardeners World television show.

Mark, Sue Wynn-Jones, Roy Lancaster, Bleddyn Wynn-Jones
 Crug had several newly available and also rare plants on display, some of which are not yet available to purchase.

Schefflera sp. from Guatemala (BSWJ 10449)

Their display justifiably won a gold award.
A few photos from various other exhibits.

Jacques Armand display shows the variety of spring colour that is available.

Despite the show being held in Central London we made the decision to take the car rather than go by train to allow us to bring home a selection of plants, and despite the heavy traffic this was a good decision as we ended up with quite a full car. As often occurs on plant trips Mark had an uncomfortable journey home with plants sat in his lap (sorry we forgot to take a photo this time).

I can see us being more regular attendees to plant shows in the future.


Royal Horticultural Society
Crug Farm Plants
Jacques Amand


  1. Dear Mark and Gaz,

    What a treat!

    Many years ago now I visited the garden and nursery of Crug Farm and several of my choicest perennials came from them. They are incredibly knowledgeable and delightful plantspeople and if you ever get a chance to make a pilgrimage to them in North Wales I am sure that you would find it to be of great interest.

    As for Roy Lancaster. I have the greatest respect for him and entertained him and a film crew in my garden once upon a time!

  2. Great post boys, would love to have gone but can't get a day off from teaching! Sent my mum and dad instead, who enjoyed it but didn't take photos so it was great to see yours!

  3. Great pics and post. I love going to and looking at pics from garden shows. The snowdrops look so cool. jim

  4. It looks like a fun day.I'm glad you took the car and what a thrill to meet Roy Lancaster.

  5. I echo what Edith said, what a treat to see these photos. It looked like a fantastic show. What other plants did you buy?

  6. looks like plant sale and exhibits are held almost simultaneously at the start of the year. I've just been to one here also, and i also posted some of my finds. Are those purple flowers Crocus?

  7. Yes, come on, confess - what did you buy?! Hope there weren't too many spikes for Mark's trip home... You must have been in seventh heaven at the Crug Farm stand. Look forward to seeing your new aquisitions in situ.

  8. Lovely lovely colours of spring blooms and those snowdrops...really gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the exhibits with us Mark n Gaz!

  9. Edith, my sentiment's the same for both Roy Lancaster and Crug Farm! We haven't been to their nursery yet but is seriously looking into visiting this summer, and thinking of visiting other sights of that area too. Crug Farm is my favourite nursery, absolutely stunning plants they've got :)

    Martin, shame you couldn't make it but I hope your parents had a lovely time :) The place was jam packed until mid afternoon where the crowds became more manageable.

    Jim, the snowdrop displays were superb, I love them in drifts/swathes rather than singular specimens. Do post photos of your visit to plant shows in your area when you get the chance :)

    Nellie, it was a fabulous day, I'm still buzzing!

  10. Mark and Gaz, I live for the day when I can go to this show and visit the UK during snowdrop season (don't worry there are other things I live for too). So great to see your photos, but where are the close ups of the snow drop exhibits? A second post? Carolyn

  11. Janet, when I saw Crug Farm's stand I thought I've just died and gone to heaven, hehe!

    Gerhard and Janet, we bought some Scheffleras and Illiciums from Crug, only a few bits really but some were big and occupied lots of space in the car. From the other stands we've bought some shrubs, small leafed Hederas, and the Iris featured on the blog.

    Thanks Andrea and P3chandan! Andrea, the purple flowers are small Iris, beautiful aren't they? :)

    Carolyn, I guess you're a Galanthophile :) I've taken a few photos, I'll see what I can do about the snowdrop photos :)

  12. I am so jealous! I was meaning to go but have been off work with a stinky cold for a couple of days. Crugg are so good, and to meet Roy too!

    The shows there are always good, I dont know why they dont advertise them better and Im looking forward to the next one. What you can sometimes do is if you know who is exhbiting you can ask them to bring up other things you want. Last year Crugg bought up a couple of things for me which saved on postage

  13. I had hoped to go to the show as I needed a plant fix and to meet up with the other bloggers that were there but life, train fares etc got in the way.

    I'm glad you had a great time

  14. Mark and Gaz that London show looks like just what we now need. Roy Lancaster, a true plantsman, always enjoyed his programmaes and oh my god talk about doppleganger, I thought I was looking at myself, as my wife says, he does have more hair than you. Thanks for your visit, all you said about gardeners world is totally what I have been saying myself.

  15. Always meant to ask, do you guys grow the princess Alstroemerias

  16. Oh, I saw some very nice tufa gardens in one of your photos.

  17. Hi Clive, it was a good show indeed and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We did pre-order a few bits from Crug and collected on the day, but also bought a few more things from them whilst there. It's actually quite nice to see the plants first before you buy them but I must say we always get top notch plants from them whenever we mail order. I hope you're feeling much better now :)

    Helen, hope you'll make it to the next one! Maybe someday we'll make it to Malvern too.

    Alistair, your are a dopelganger with Roy :)We don't grow princess Alstroemerias I'm afraid, gorgeous flowers though!

    lifeshighway, they were nice tufa gardens indeed, I might pinch an idea or two :)

  18. It looks like a lot of fun! I need to start looking when they have those shows around here

  19. aloha,

    loved the show, the hypertufa succulents are very cool...i'm chuckling about the schefflera-here they are invasive weeds that become trees in just weeks in all the open areas - its almost uncontrollable.

  20. Looks like a lot of fun... another packed car of plants... occupational hazard I suppose when visiting such events. :)

  21. Garden shows are great! You pictured some beautiful displays - I love the table filled with perfect galathus! I want one of those illicium. There are a couple of varieties that grow here, including a Florida Anise that is variegated.

  22. Fer, it was good fun, and it's worth attending the plant shows they have there. Japan is a plant/gardening mad country too so I can imagine there are plenty shows there :)

    Noel, tropical scheffleras are amazing and truly stunning!

    Nat, the car wasn't that actually that full but the plants were rather big and bulky I had to have an uncomfortable ride back home again! :)

    Debs, a variegated Florida Anise sounds great! I'll have to search out for it!


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