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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!