Setting up the stand at Chelsea is always enjoyable. We know what we want to do and how it should look. Building on last year we decided to go for a bigger stand and to do it 'in the round'. The effect was really atmospheric and gave the stand a real three dimensional quality. We had some new plants to show and also entered a Billbergia called 'Hallelujah' into the Plant of the Year. It was short listed and a lot of interest was generated from it. Tom Hart-Dyke spent some time filming several plants as did Carol Klein which we managed to see on catch up when we got home.
There has been steady progress at the Nursery to get it ready for opening up the collection for visitors, and many interesting trips to other Bromeliad collectors. While in London collecting an award from the Guild of Horticultural Trade Display Judges we made time to visit Kew and met Marcello who looks after their Bromeliads. Next time we are down there we will be getting some 'pups' and will give Marcello pieces of plants they don't have.
A visit to Utrecht Botanic Gardens last month also was very useful in establishing contact with Eric Gouda, who gave me a tour around their collections. Winter has been very busy and difficult with the weather but has also revealed surprisingly what some plants can tolerate.
The Every Picture section of the Nursery will be open at Lydiate Barn Garden Centre on the Saturday 4th May.
Our section has an area for demonstrations and on the 3rd May it is also National Flower Arranging Day and local flower clubs will be putting up stands, promoting the flower clubs with mini demonstrations taking place throughout the day. The 'Jungle' layout of the collections together with an excellent cup of coffee in the Cafe should be just the thing to get the Summer started.
After introducing Tillandsia samantha at Chelsea 2012 she did so well that one of the growers in the Netherlands put her in for the 'Glass Tulip Award' for the best houseplant and like at Chelsea the plant was shortlisted and this time scooped the top prize. It is great news that this fabulous plant certainly has the Wow factor. The plant was bred originally in America and for everyone who is involved in bromeliads it shows how popular they are becoming as a houseplant. http://www.plantcompany.nl/nieuws
"All good things come to he who waits" they say and it has taken some time to get everything in place but at last recognition in the form of National Collection status as been achieved for the Aechmea, Neoregelia and Billbergia varieties of Bromeliads. Already we have made some good connections with other collectors across the world and we will be able to add to the collections and be able to put on an interesting display at the many flower shows we attend and with a good display still at the nursery.
Currently still visiting flower groups for Christmas demonstrations and at Isle of Man for a demonstration tomorrow Fleetwood on Wednesday and Upton Heath on the 13th. After that a few nights out are called for.
Now then, you might think that after doing shows all summer we would be putting up our feet and looking at doing that bit of DIY in the house. No such luck! The many strings to the bow that is Every Picture involves going out several times a week doing Christmas flower demonstrations from November onwards which means travelling all over the North West and way beyond (Isle of Man beginning December). A healthy dislike of the M60 has now developed as most clubs meet around 7.30pm which involves setting off during rush hour. The clubs often have an open meeting over Christmas to boost their funds so part from the Isle of Mann I still have Staining nr Blackpool to do on 28th November and Ribble club the day before on 27th Beetham garden centre on 29th November.
The picture is from previous years Christmas demonstrations, don't want to spoil it for anyone!
Considering it has been a terrible summer weather wise it has been a good one for awards. We have now completed the flower show season with a perfect score and to round it off nicely awarded "Best in Show' at Malvern. If you are near the show ground this weekend come and have a look around. After this it will be homeward bound to put the plants in the nursery for the winter and have some time for potting on and checking them over for 'pups' to grow on. Going to the shows is hard work but very enjoyable, you meet some interesting people and it is nice when customers come back to you to buy more and have a chat.
Southport is the one show we can build a whole new environment. The stand is bigger, 7m x7m and we added more water, created bridges and built an Island. Comments ranged from "It looks like the land that time forgot" to "I like the way you added the spider up at the top" What spider? well the spider liked it so much it wove a big web right at the top of the design and spent all week there. A not so welcome visitor were the midges dancing in and around the water features. We added a crocodile for good measure too. Not a real one but it was tempting. Follow the link below to see a character from Coronation street who posed by the stand.