Gardeners are mad

Oh yes we are. Quite clearly bonkers – because today was our garden club’s spring show, and I was out in the garden in wooly hat, quilted jacket, thick socks, jim-jams and light snow at 7.30 this morning. Before breakfast. Before even a cup of tea. The primroses I picked last evening, you see, weren’t quite perfect after their night in the house, so they had to be replaced.

competition prims

And, as I learned from talking to other exhibitors, I was not alone (well, I was in one sense – fortunately the neighbours were still in bed, otherwise the men in the white coats would have been summoned). But I was not alone amongst garden club members; at least two other people had been doing the dawn patrol in sleet. Think Fargo, with daffodils.

Oh, all right, I’m exaggerating the snowiness – but the sudden chill was enough to chap my poor amaryllis in the short journeys between house and car and car and hall. Even though I did try and protect it. When I got it into place I was rather embarrassed to see it had a Big Brother. I told it not to look but it did, and then it too sat there looking rather embarrassed which it continued to do throughout, especially when BB inevitably came first in the group:

poor waif

I was one of two stewards, which I found absolutely fascinating. Listening to the judge’s comments taught me an enormous amount, not least about the importance of removing anything that isn’t absolutely perfect. I think I’d have have been placed in the tulips if I’d removed the two leaves that were a bit damaged, though of course I kept my mouth shut at the time (and resisted the impulse to distract the judge and pull them off).

As it was, I got a couple of firsts, one for my small cup daffodils. My Poet’s Eye narcissus surprised me enormously by suddenly flowering, even if I did have to bring one of the blooms out by putting the vase by the wood burner last night.

poet's eye

Also warmed by the stove were my multi-flowered daffs, and I got a first there too – plus a third for another small cup. No joy anywhere else – even with the second attempt at finding the perfect primrose – but I was pleased. The standard is very high, particularly with the hellebores and camellias, and I was very lucky last year to get a second in the camellias. In fact the standard was so high this year that two judges worked together to establish the winners.

It was a great spring show, in short, despite the vagaries of the weather. Here’s a montage, starting with my own preparations – just click on an image for a slideshow.

 

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28 thoughts on “Gardeners are mad

  1. Christina

    Well being a mad gardener is nothing new! I really like your images of the show, with all the daffodils in their vases, the hall looks great, Well done for your prizes. Christina

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – it’s lovely to see so many people growing so many lovely plants. Makes a great show on a gloomy day…

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you from me – and the amaryllis; it was so funny. And the big boy began to lean a little dangerously during the day – I do hope my Babe had nothing to do with it (maybe I’m mistaking embarrassment for guilt)…

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      There were some real stunners – especially impressed with the camellias in the present weather, and with the hellebores (mine are still brown and scrappy)…

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It was a shame, but there’s next year (and the summer show, natch)… you were missed, anyway. Glad you like the pics!

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Congratulations on your successes and thank you for sharing the lovely images. It was spring inside for you even if the rest of us were gardening in hail and sleet!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It was certainly warmer inside than outside – boy, are we back to winter. Ish. For the moment. Fingers crossed it doesn’t last…

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Oo, I’m not really – I am but an amateur perfectionist, it was very educational listening to the judges picking up the tiniest faults. They said that was because the standard was so high – they had to distinguish somehow. I shall be even more picky next time!

      Reply
  3. Helen

    Well done in your awards. I do like showing plants although I am a real novice. When you talk to some of the alpine growers they turn those large pots of cushion plants several times a day for weeks to get the perfect plant, madness! Saying that I have a load of bulbs in pots solely with the intention of showing at our groups show on Easter Monday but many of them are flowering already so that was a waste of time!!!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m a novice too of course – just my third show (excluding children’s classes in our village show when I was about 11, that is). Talking to some of our members made me realise just how much care they take – I got lucky is all.

      Good luck on Easter Monday – quite some time to go, rats – I think your bulbs must be in psychic communication with my amaryllis.

      Reply
  4. Jane @Hoehoegrow

    Small but perfectly formed ! And size isn’t everything ! So your lovely Amaryllis needn’t have been covered in shame at all!
    Lovely photos of all the spring flowers, lots of nurturing went into producing them, that is clear !

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Indeed – very true. But the cold got him and he began to shrivel up and I think I’d better stop calling that amaryllis ‘he’ before I get taken away by the taste and decency police!

      It’s always a good show to visit, and the scent is amazing. You get used to it, then you pop outside and it really hits you when you return.

      Reply
  5. hillwards

    I’d be hopeless at planning for a show so early in the year! Well done on your successes, and nearly-theres… And you get to enjoy your Amaryllis long after the dust has settled on the spring show, so it’s win win!

    Reply
  6. Cathy

    I have some confused amaryllis if that is the case, then, as I am – ahem! – on the short side too and my amaryllis were as lanky as they have ever been. Thanks for sharing your pre-show and during-show experiences, and your successes – great piece of writing and photos as usual (and I loved peeking at your shelf!!)

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Ok, it’s not that. Maybe I didn’t feed it enough? Or maybe it was a miniature one… anyway, I liked it. Sniff.

      (I hadn’t realised what a mess the kitchen was when I took the photos – but then it’s always a mess at this time of year. Much more interesting things to do.)

      Reply
  7. Janet/Plantaliscious

    Love the image of you – and various others – sneaking out in pyjamas and woolies in an attempt to snag better blooms!! Congratulations on the successes, commiserations on the Amyrillis Shame, and yes of course we are all mad. Though some are more mad than others…

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m just glad it wasn’t only me. Two of us found ourselves photographed in the local paper, and we both look exactly like people who were scratting around in our gardens at first light. That is, mad. (Oh, and I also looked like Fester Addams, but with hair, due to wearing a big heavy scarf in an attempt to hide.)

      Reply
  8. VP

    Well done Kate. It may be only your third show, but I see you’re already employing the professionals’ tricks by using the warmth of your wood burning stove 😉

    Looks like you had a lot of fun 🙂

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I was not alone… one person managed to get her fritillaries to open using the same trick. Next year (*insane cackle*)

      Reply

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