Friday, 26 April 2019

The Cleveland Alpine Garden Society Show 2019

My second attendance to an Alpine Garden society show and it didn't fail to dazzle me from the off.

Within minutes of arriving, friendly AGS members are on hand to greet me and tell me a little bit about what to expect and I was really taken aback when one of the ladies remembered me attending last years show.

With a programme in hand and my little green sticker stuck on I walked through the double doors to what I can only describe as a perfect 'sweet shop'. A fabulous selection of alpine plants/seeds to pore over and decide which ones to purchase with my 'pocket money'. Yes I had pocket money because I knew I would buy way more than I should and with so much choice it would have been so easy to!

Walking into the scent filled show hall just blew me away. Rows and rows of so many varieties to drool over. They all stand out like refined jewels and the colour invites you to inspect them more closely.

You can see more pictures over on my Facebook page HERE

It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the delights that were on display sharing approving looks and smiles. It wasn't long until the chit chat began. This is one of things that I love about visiting these shows. There is always someone to have such fascinating conversations with about origins of species, what conditions they prefer and also what to expect if you want to grow your own be that from seed or nurturing a baby sized plant.
There really isn't anything intimidating about alpines at all. They are a wonderful genus of plants to grow with something to suit everyone's taste be that Narcissus, Primula's, Dionysia or even Ferns or Pinus. They do require a little patience but that good old phrase 'Good things come to those who wait' becomes a mantra and going by some of the plants that were seen, they truly are worth waiting for.

I will share with you now my top 3 from the show. Trust me this was harder than I thought.

Ophyrs Ferrum-Equimum - A wonderfully unusual orchid which is native to grassy meadows in Albania, Greece and Western Turkey. Difficult to photograph in the display so I must say another thank you to the lovely Don Peace (an amazing alpine grower) for allowing me to take this one in his set up.

Arisaema Thunbergii ssp. Urashima - A really tropical looking plant that originates from Japan that likes moist, free draining soil in a cool, partially shaded spot.

Anemonella Thalictroides - This gorgeous plant is native to Eastern North America and likes moist, free draining soil. A super pretty plant that I really fell for!

It's very clear to see why alpine plants are easy to fall in love with. I had a wonderful, long chat with a lovely lady, Vivien Self (another amazing alpine grower) who agreed that there is something fascinating and intriguing about alpines and how the possibilities are pretty much endless in terms of trying to grow them. I do love growing my veg and flowers but there is something about these plants that have hooked me in and I know that the obsession/passion will only get stronger over the years, especially as I am now in the process of joining my local group!

So if you get chance to, do pop along to one of these amazing shows to see for yourself how amazing these plants are. You can find out when and where HERE

Until Next Time

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Stepping Out of Hibernation

Stepping out of hibernation.

Just like a little green seedling poking its head through some warm compost, us human folk are equally eager to feel the tepid warmth of the sun on our skin, to breathe in the crisp, fresh air tinged with the scent of new life and to see pops of colour scattered around the gardens from Daffodils, Tulips and alpine plants such as Pulsatilla, Saxifraga and Primroses.
Those dark winter days soon feel so long ago and the excitement begins to build at the prospect of longer, brighter days thanks to the spring jump of the clocks going forward.

I do love spring and it's nice to be able to get on with the planning and preparations for the garden/allotment. What flowers to sow and where I want to place them and what vegetables/fruits the family want to try this year and how the allotment is going to play host to them.

The greenhouse is quickly filling up with trays of seeds that I find myself popping out often to check on them. Not much appears to be happening between each inspection (which is usually at least 5/6 times on a work day, more on a day off haha!) but I do know that underneath that boring looking tray of compost, real magic is happening. The seeds begin to wake up and head on up to see what all the fuss is about.

I've got a good mix of flowers going on this year from my trusty Cosmos to Cornflowers, Hollyhock, Ipomea, Pansies to name few and interestingly all of a darker pallet. I'm not sure what the attraction is but I do get drawn to these more than some of the bolder colours. I have also got a lot more Dahlia's to play with this year too. My plan is to learn how to put flowers together nicely and have some to enjoy in the house and gift some away. I don't know many people who don't like flowers and it would be lovely to make people smile by sharing some with them. Sharing is caring right!

The vegetable/fruit plans are just about in place. The thing I love about the whole grow your own movement is there is just stacks of variety and always something to be picking at almost every point of the seasons that pass us by. There is plenty of time to be sowing things still too so please don't panic if you haven't begun any just yet. This will be my 1st official full year on the allotment. I have had enough time to work out the suns placement across it and had little experiments of what grows well for sure. So peas, beans, sweetcorn and plenty of salads will feature heavily for us along with a nice mix of squash to compliment the lovely fruit bushes and tree's that we inherited on the allotment. The greenhouse up there will be home to some tomato plants, cucumbers and cucamelons too.

This time of year allows me to spend more time in my lovely little greenhouse. That little glass palace where the plans are conjured up whilst keeping warm with a cup of tea. It's a little hideaway when I need to escape the everyday but where I can feel the most content. It inspires me and encourages me just like Spring to step out my comfort zone, push boundaries and whole heartedly be ME.

I am really excited to see what this year brings. Last year there was a lot of change in my personal life and I hope that as things settle on that side of things I can fully throw myself into the part that gives me so much enjoyment and pleasure and allows me to connect with so many like minded others.

Until Next Time