24 hours later

After freezing at Chelsea on Friday, I was taking no chances on Saturday, even though the sun was shining.  But I needn’t have worried and the cloakroom was there to soak up my extra layers.

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I was early enough to get to meet a few more Collection Holders who were happy to pose for photographs.  Again in no particular order, some faces from the show.

Don Billington, recently awarded Collection Holder status for his Aechmea, Billbergia and Noeregelia, was proudly displaying his National Plant Collection certificates as well as an impressive number of exotics, this Aechmea ‘Blue Rain’ being one of the most eye-catching.

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I was never a great fan of Pelargonium until I joined Plant Heritage and was infected by Mercy’s passion for them. Big, brash and blousy – not all of them; the species and scented leaved ones I bought at Chelsea and Hampton Court last year made it through the winter, so I ordered some more for delivery in June from Richard Goddard-Key of Fibrex Nurseries.

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I’ve heard a lot about Vicky and Richard Fox’s son Tom, who is studying in the US, so it was nice to meet him over on a brief trip to the UK.  Plantagogo have introduced a new cultivar of Heuchera named for Thomas which they entered into the Chelsea Plant of the Year.

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Beautiful red-veined green foliage, with large cream flowers on tall stems, it thrives in partial shade and can withstand drought or rain if grown in well-drained soil.

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Although Sparsholt College doesn’t hold a National Collection, two of their lecturers, Chris Bird and Rosie Yeomans are well-known to Plant Heritage and the Hampshire group.  Their stand showing the Evolution of Infusions was a great educational resource and a bit of fun as well.  I talked to John Tingle at the beginning of the show and again on Saturday – still standing and still enthusiastic.  One of those young horticulturists we need to encourage and nurture.

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By the time I got round to W&S Lockyer there was a constant queue of visitors reserving plants for the sell off at the end of the day.

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Although I had gone prepared to stay all day, I decided against staying for the sell off – too tired.  How and why do these exhibitors do it?

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