Visiting the RHS London Alpine Garden Show

We visited the RHS London Alpine Show last Sunday, its a busy time of year for me and a whole day out in London was an extravagance of time but I am so very glad we went. A whole new world was opened up. The show was not like the two other RHS London shows I have visited this year. Occupying one hall at first it seemed small but less is more and what was on offer was both interesting and stimulating. Ranging from the weird to the wonderful there were lots of plants and displays.

Saxifraga pubescens snowcap Alan and Janet Cook 1st

Saxifraga pubescens snowcap Alan and Janet Cook 1st

Asarum maximum

The unusual Asarum maximum

The four talks were aimed at folk who really know their plants and for Alpine novices like me, there were lots of helpful people to answer questions. There was no frenzied furore but a more relaxed atmosphere.

Four Nurseries were exhibiting. Evolution plants who had a wide range of exciting plants I was not familiar with including their labelled Paeonia ‘Bai He Wo Xue’ I have spent much time since trying to research this and now wished I had asked more, however, here she is.

Paeonia 'Bai He Wo Xue' Evolution Plants

Paeonia ‘Bai He Wo Xue’
Evolution Plants

Zanthoxylum Evolution Plants

Evolution Plants

Keith Wiley from Wildside Nursery in Devon was exhibiting, the show opened from 11, we arrived at 12ish and he had already sold a lot of stock, Steven Lacey wrote an article in the Telegraph a few years ago about Keith’s Devon garden and nursery “Wiley concocted naturalistic planting schemes of a breadth, richness and complexity that took even seasoned garden visitors by surprise.” Jacques Amand were there too but with a much broader range of plants than I had seen from them before and a lovely stand by Trewidden Nursery from Cornwall.

Erica cerinthoides Trewidden Nursery

Erica cerinthoides
Trewidden Nursery

There were several exhibitors long benches and it was incredibly relaxing to wander along each show bench slowly studying the plants and certificates, my husband (not a gardener) switched from very busy demanding job mode to this is lovely and so relaxing mode.

One of the Alpine Exhibitors Benches

One of the Alpine Exhibitors Benches

Cypripedium fargesii a 1st for Colin and Elaine Barr

Cypripedium fargesii Colin and Elaine Barr 1st

Helen and her blog thepatientgardener is very involved with the Alpine Society and she helped at the London Alpine show, her blog gives an excellent overview of the whole event. Like Helen I was also smitten by the plant and presentation of an Androsace vandellii.

Androsace vandellii

Androsace vandellii

Helen has encouraged me to join the alpinegardensociety and it turns out I have a local group only a few miles from me, where I hope to learn much more. The website gives details of forthcoming events and local groups.

This is the first RHS London Alpine show, I hope they host more, on the day the RHS linked up with the Garden Museum a 20 minute walk away, offering a combined ticket to the Garden Museum Spring fair. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this little museum, a great chilled atmosphere and an oasis of a garden, plus a really nice cafe!

11 thoughts on “Visiting the RHS London Alpine Garden Show

    • I can understand why it was very lovely! I have looked at the Alpine sites details for the Malvern show, will you be showing on the Saturday only, there are no details on the RHS site?

      • Julie
        The Alpine Garden Society stages a display of planted troughs and artwork through all four days of the Malvern Show. There will be book and seed sales, and an infornation table. On the Saturday, the troughs are replaced by a competitive show of plants, like the one at London. Hope this helps

      • I should also say, I believe there will be practical demonstrations of planting a trough during the show, but I don’t have any information about timings for this.

    • I’d really like to learn more, the first plant I remember as a child was a Saxifrage and now I have a little fantasy of owning my own alpine house one day.

  1. It all looks wonderful, I wish I could have been there. I love alpine garden shows, everything always looks so impossibly beautifully well-grown.An amazing Peony. I love that gorgeous Cypripedium. I have a couple which I planted last year and they have nice plump shoots, but I don’t know that particular one.

    • Its the first Alpine show I have visited, I wish I had visited before as I absolutely loved it. Do you grow and keep them in your greenhouse?

  2. Julie, I too would be a real novice at a show like this. I have no experience with alpine plants since many would never grow in our soil or climate. I would love a day in London, oh who am I kidding, weeks in London. The UK takes plants and gardening to a higher and enviable level than we do in the States I think. I would bet visiting nurseries or plant shows would be a real treat.

    • You would definitely need a few weeks, its true we love our gardens and plants over here, but I am learning so much about your region and the wildlife and plants you have, its a real pleasure.

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