Passionate About Plants
Paul tells of his success during the Horticultural show season
Ayring on the right side of the show season
At last Quaymount's season for shows has finished, Sandringham was our last and was a really nice day out. We sold a lot of plants which was our aim and we got a fleeting view of the Royals, but to be honest since the death of the Queen Mother Sandringham show has never been quite the same. The farcical 'Fly Past' by our local Tornado had me in stitches as we see better over the nursery most days of the week! (We must be so privileged). The parachute display was something extra special and meant a lot to me as my late father trained people to jump during the Second World War, including dropping Special Forces behind enemy lines in North Africa. The last lad came down from a much greater height so fast I did not think he would affect the perfect landing but low and behold he arrived safe and sound.
As we had done well selling at all the shows this year and being egged on by the lure of prize money I went to visit the Ayr Flower show in bonny Scotland. As it was such a long way this trip was a feasibility study and an opportunity for me to see at first hand the quality of the displays. WOW what extremes! The trade stands in the marquee were of excellent quality many of which were easily of a Chelsea quality and we would have to do a really good display to gain gold.
The amateur marquee was bigger and better laid out than any I have seen and the number of amateur exhibitors was totally amazing. There were several local societies ranging from the Alpine to the Fuchsia societies, far too many to mention, but without doubt the most impressive were the Begonias. Rows of tables laid out with the biggest single blooms (from the tuberous varieties), each bloom six to nine inches across, absolutely perfect in size petal and colour, any of which would have been worthy of Chelsea. No doubt a hard job for the Begonia judge as the quality was unbelievable. The vegetable section was a marvel with parsnips starting near the top of the side of the marquee down along a bench and on to the floor.
Buoyed up by this extravaganza of perfection I wandered around the rest of the show with the customary craft tent, food hall and birds of prey ring. Having an eye for bird life and being a keen ornithologist I was pleased to note that four of the eight birds of prey on display are seen regularly around the nursery, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Sparrow Hawk.
It was only by chance that I stumbled across the Courtyard Gardens done by four local landscapers! Now I am usual a quiet man keeping my thoughts to myself but on this occasion the disappointment of what I can only describe as shambolic attempts shocked me into opening my mouth. By the time I reached the last display gardens I could not contain my feelings, so politely as I could I said to the last landscaper that they had a really lovely design but could they not find anyone to grow really decent plants in the South West of Scotland? Oh dear me and my big mouth! I didn't say that I felt none of them deserved a bronze medal let alone one of them being given a gold (must have been given out of sympathy), nor did I point out to our budding landscaper that the two feature plants in each corner of her display were wilting so badly that they would be crisped up by the end of the day, never mind lasting another two days! The two plants had started out as Buddleias but would go home as dead sticks! This surely can't be the best that the local landscape industry could produce. The designs and hard landscaping were ok but the quality of the plants used and the way in which they were used left a great deal to be desired.
I walked away from that display with John Cleese words ringing in my ears about mentioning the war but I think I got away with it.
Here in East Anglia we must be thankful that among the thousands of landscape gardeners we have a large contingent of top quality designers with the ability to carry through their designs to a very high standard.
Autumn is fast approaching so now is the time to start thinking about planting any pot grown evergreens in your garden as they will get established before the winter. Here at the nursery we have a good range of evergreen hedging plants, so why don't you pop down to see us and discuss any requirements you may have.