I couldn’t walk the Hartland Peninsula without paying a visit to Westcountry Nurseries to see the National Plant Collection of Lupinus.  When I arranged this visit with Sarah Conibear in February it seemed to be perfect timing to see the Collection coming into bloom ready for the upcoming shows.

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But as we all know – and I certainly do after a week walking on the North Coast of Devon with a wind coming straight down from the Arctic – it’s been a cold Spring and there was not a flower in sight – not even the promise of one at the base of the leaves.  Sarah reckons that the plants are about a month behind schedule.

National Collection of lupins
National Collection of lupins

Sarah was a professional clarinettist but retrained as a horticulturist and was awarded National Plant Collection status in 2005.  The Collection is propagated by cuttings and housed in a large tunnel.  The first thing they did when they bought their current site was to sink a borehole, lupins are thirsty plants and you can see that there is a very efficient watering system to make sure the plants don’t dry out. 

Sale plants ready for Malvern
Sale plants ready for Malvern

Most of her sales are by mail order but she is displaying at the Malvern Spring Show this week, Sarah is taking lots of lupin stock with her but will have to build her display with other spring flowering plants in order to inject some colour into the stand.  To get you in the mood, here are some pictures taken in past years of Sarah’s Chelsea displays.

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There’ll be lots of other National Plant Collection holders at  the Malvern show and the weather looks perfect this weekend for a visit.  Follow this link for a list of nurseries at the show.


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