The Shrewsbury Show & the Three Musketeers…

One of the highlights of working for Plant Heritage is visiting Collection Holders and our local group members.  I was therefore delighted when last week I had the opportunity to meet the Shropshire group members who were busy preparing for the Shrewsbury Show. 

Labelling the display

The Plant Heritage Shropshire Group central display (designed by PH member Nancy Estry) depicted a ruined monastery garden – and the organisation and planning had begun in January to source about 500 plants from local nurseries, such as Bridgemere, and building the features.  The garden yet again amazed the judges and they were awarded a well deserved LARGE GOLD and the Shrewsbury Cup for the finest display of Hardy Plants and Flowers.

Elizabeth Bacon, The Chairman of the Shropshire Group, with Paul Gardner (NCH Sarracenia)

Congratulations also to the following Collection Holders who all received the following awards at the Shrewsbury Show:

Tynings Nursery (Passiflora) – Large Gold & The Dingle Cup

Plantagogo (Heuchera) – Large Gold

Paul Gardner (Sarracenia) – Large Gold

Mike King (Sarracenia) – Large Gold and R.H. Price Salver

Steve & Elaine Hickman (Agapanthus) – Large Gold

Tale Valley (Rhodohypoxis &  x Rhodoxis) – Large Gold & Raymond Evison Millenium Trophy

Mike King (Sarracenia spp. & hybrids)

Steve & Elaine Hickman (Agapanthus)

Plantagogo Heuchera

I think it’s the skill, passion and fun of the team from the Shropshire Group that shone through and most impressed me.  Congratulations Shropshire Group.  If you have never visited the Shrewsbury Show, add it to your diary for August 2013 – it’s located in the very heart of this historic town down by the Quarry.

While in Shropshire, I travelled over to Harnage, near Cound, to spend a gloriously sunny 3 hours with Roland Bream who has the NC of Roscoea and Cautleya. Roland has held the National Collection of Roscoea for well over 10 years.  His knowledge of this plant group is world renowned.   Roscoea is native to the Himalayas, Burma and China, and has a striking resemblance to the Hedychium family (not surprising as they are part of the ginger family!).  Roland’s magnificient garden, set in the Shropshire countryside is open to visitors this Sunday 19th August.  There will be top quality plants for sale, tea and cakes and Roland will be on hand to walk you round his 2 acre garden which he and his wife, Gay, have spent the last 6 years designing and planting.  It is a plantsmen dream!  Roland is keen to secure a succession plan for his two NCs and to make sure that both Collections are safeguarded for future years to come.

Wow, what a garden with herbaceous borders around three striking Silver Birches

Stevenshill – home of Roland and Gay Bream (NCH Roscoea & Cautleya)

Maurice Hoare was my next visit to see his National Collection of Stokesia, located just 5 miles outside Shrewsbury.  Colourful, long lasting, disease resistance and loves the butterfly population – they certainly add a splash of colour to any herbaceous border.  Maurice is the Shropshire Group chief propagator and has a huge wealth of information concerning all plants but most importantly on Stokesia, to which he has written many articles, including one for The Plantsman.

Maurice Hoare – with a display of Stokesia in the garden at the Shrewsbury Show

The third of the THREE MUSKETEERS, as they call themselves, is Lloyd Kenyon.  Time didn’t permit a tour around Gredington – but I was nevertheless given a very warm welcome and bed for the night. 

Well done Shropshire Group and my thanks for 2 memorial days spent with you all.

Joanna Jones

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