The seasonal shows offer great ideas

Primula Guinevere. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Primula Guinevere. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

I love spring, summer and autumn shows for the ideas they offer.

These can come from enthusiastic exhibitors at a modest, locally-organised event, driven in their quest for prizes, or the trade stands we find at national gatherings.

Chelsea is the ultimate in discovering what’s new in the world of specialised plant growing, but regional shows such as Harrogate can be just as rewarding.

This fellow’s attention is first taken by the competitive bloom element, which at spring shows means bulbous plants, such as daffodil and tulip.

Whilst viewing these with the recent Alnwick Show in mind, it was most noticeable that they were of a similar high standard. Confirmation followed as the prize cards revealed identical names from both events.

One Daffodil Society class that caught the eye was a collection of blooms staged in two vases. This comprised five cultivars registered from 1898-1947, and five introduced after 1947.

Trade stands are irresistible at these shows so we come home laden with plants.

Sometimes it’s one we remember growing way back and seeing it again is a joyful reunion. Such was the case at Harrogate when Guinevere, a gorgeous hardy primula caught my eye. The plum coloured foliage and pink flowers with a yellow centre were unmistakable.

“Ignore the price,” said my heart, “just think of the stock you can build by dividing it up over time.”

The occasional downside in visiting such high profile events is the sheer number of people to negotiate in popular areas of the site.

The trade display halls where plants have to be transported, present another hazard, the growing menace of jumbo trollies. For £15 you can buy one folded up, but after quick assembly it becomes a lethal weapon.