I suppose, given how bizarre the weather has been / still is, that it wasn’t altogether surprising. I’d been round the garden checking out plants for the village gardening club‘s spring show last evening, earmarked some primulas, worked out which daffs would go in which class, that sort of thing. I’ve never entered anything in a flower show before (well, not since I was about 6 and entered a moss garden in one), so I didn’t know the ropes. I toyed, for instance, with the idea of picking things in advance, but dismissed it for the primulas and the chionodoxas as I knew they wouldn’t last, and thought the daffs would be fine. I did not anticipate a heavy frost and the fact that I’d be selecting my blooms from plants bent to the ground by frost, in snow flurries.
There were rather a lot of rejects, but I eventually ended up with a selection of the least damaged ones:
(The whisky bottle was full of water, meaning I didn’t have to join in any scramble for the sink.) In a ‘normal’ year, I’d have been able to enter something in each of the seven, yes seven, daff/narcissi classes; this year I was restricted to two, and completely failed to notice a trace of bird shit on one of the blooms I chose for the ‘large trumpet’ class. I am just an amateur at this lark!
I was somewhat daunted when I got there, as there were such a lot of beautiful plants and flowers on show, especially given that this is quite a small village, or two villages, rather. However, I got diverted by a debate about what exactly constituted a large daffodil trumpet, which is possibly why I failed to notice the crap. Those above are definitely large; mine wasn’t.
There were lots of entries for the dwarf daffs, which again impressed me. I have three. Correction, had three. No sign of them this year.
But it isn’t just daffodils and narcissi; there are plenty of other classes – no entries for tulips (hollow laugh) or hyacinths (I’ve got some nice dead ones), though.
Plenty for hellebores:
which left me green with envy, as all mine seem to produce is leaves. There were quite a number of flowering shrubs, too, and to my surprise they weren’t all viburnums (mine was).
There were flowering pot plants,
and I loved this cactus – I’ve always had a soft spot for cacti, sometimes several, generally with spines sticking out of them, but I don’t usually persuade mine to flower. Of course the flowering bulbs included amaryllis (I don’t care what anyone says, I like those too):
reminding me that I really must grow one for myself next year instead of just giving them to other people. Yes, they are unsubtle and ‘in your face’, but they are also so remorselessly cheerful – particularly when all is grey and white outside.
I originally entitled this post ‘sod’s law and the spring show’. That was before I went back after the judging…
I’d got a first for my double daffs, and two seconds, one for my chionodoxas in the ‘any other plant not mentioned above’ class (great title – there were scillas and pansies and pulmonarias and some other wonderful things),
and one, to my ‘knock-me-down-with-a-great-big-thing-for-knocking-me-down-with’ surprise, for my floating camellia bloom:
I’d not originally even thought of entering this class. This is prime camellia-growing territory, and all over the place there are gardens with expert gardeners and perfect camellias. Only not this year. This year, they’ve been blasted with the frost, gardeners and plants both. I went crawling through the branches of my giant double camellia tree and suddenly spotted one flower that looked intact right at the back: just one, but no brownness, no discolouration. Cheekily, I thought I’d give it a try. I never, ever expected such an understated bloom to get a second glance, and it got a second prize. Amazing. And now I’m addicted. But before I go mad anticipating the summer show, I must remind myself that mine is a spring garden. In summer, I’d win the ‘great big display of slightly tatty leaves’ class, hands down. But maybe if I start planting soon…