Tuesday, 18 February 2014

SRGC Early Spring Bulb Show 2014 (part 1) - Snowdrop and other bulbs

It was a bit of an early start, well for me any hows! I didn't finish work until a little after 3am and I was getting picked up at 8.15 for the journey to Dunblane. Ordinarily it would have been a real struggle to get out of bed after only 3 and a half hours sleep - but not today. I was really looking forward to our outing to the SRGC's early bulb show in Dunblane, Scotland.

The journey to Dunblane is around 40 minutes from my house and as I was being picked up last, it was directly onto the motorway from here. The reason for the early start was that both my companions had pots of spring bulbs to take to the show and plants to sell at the member's table. The Early Bulb Show in Dunblane is not run on the same format as other shows and although there appeared to be some sort of judging going on, it was not on the same level as other shows I have been too. SRGC members had been asked to take along pots of bulbs and spring flowering plants to put on a good display as a crew from the BBC's Beechgrove Garden (a popular TV gardening show here in Scotland) was filming an article on the show. Luckily we managed to get parked very near to the door and thus didn't have far to haul those boxes of plants.

For me, a complete newbie to this show,  it was great to get in so early. After helping Sheila and Susan put their pots out, I took the opportunity whilst the room was relatively empty of bodies, to have a wee nosy. It didn't take long for the benches to fill up.

One couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the aroma from this bench. It was the first bench coming through the door. A Galanthophile's dream! Until that very moment, too me, a snowdrop was a snowdrop, was a snowdrop! It was a spring flowering bulb that produced a tiny white flower, with blotches of green on it's petals. I mean the snowdrop no disrespect believe me.  I could clearly see the different markings and shapes of all those named varieties many of you grow but until that very moment I just didn't get it!  It was a kind of eureka moment.

      

The sheer difference between the species and the varieties had been something that had escaped me until now.  Size, height, leaf and flower form - I truly had no idea!

Those white sheets covering the tables and used as a backdrop provided far too much of a glare to get decent pictures - I took hundreds to share with you all as I know many of you have a snowdrop thing!  The best of the bunch and it's not a terribly big bunch I'm afraid.
Galanthus Fred's Giant
Galanthus Brenda Troyle
Galanthus plicatus
To the rear Galanthus Lavinia
Galanthus Augustus
Galanthus Wasp
Labelled as Galanthus Rozella
 I can't find any other reference to it online
I did not expect to be so impressed with the special Snowdrops but had G. plicatus Diggory on my want list. I immediately fell for G. plicatus Augustus, sadly neither was available on either the trade or the members tables for sale.  I had more of a drawing towards the plicatus type of Snowdrop, I suspect it's because they look like sturdier plants.  Which one/ones did I buy?  I'm keeping you in suspense just a wee bit longer - I've a bit of a story to tell about my choice and I know you'll all want to read about it.   

It wasn't all about the Snowdrops - there was lots more to see.  Please join me for a wander around the room.

Primulas are a favourite here in my garden - they grow well here and no matter where I go I'm always attracted to them.  This show was perhaps a bit too early in the year to have a lavish display of Primula but those that were there were lovely healthy plants.


Primula on display
I like how these has been displayed - this I think, could easily be replicated in a larger trough and make a lovely display on a patio.  I've no doubt I'll give it a try sometime.

Primula allionii
A selection of wild collected specimens displayed
to show the natural variations in the plant
Cyclamen are easily recognised - in varying shades of pink and even more variable markings on their leaves, a very pretty display indeed.


Cyclamen display
I liked this delicate pink coloured one but I forgot to take a note of it's name and can't make it out on the label.

As we moved around the room, it was by this time getting a wee tad busier. It was getting harder to get up close and personal to admire the plants.  The Crocus display was vibrant to say the least.  It's not until you see them all grouped like this can you appreciate just how different the species are, just like the snowdrops.

Crocus display
One of my favourites was Crocus cvijicii, a native of Serbia, Albania and Macedonia according to the Alpine Garden Society. 
Crocus cvijicii
and one of my not so favourites - Crocus angustifolius.  To me they look rather plastic and resembled those foil bows you buy at Christmas time.  Each to their own I suppose - beauty is in the eye and all that!

The Narcissus on display were not in their masses either.  In fact when I was taking pictures early in the day there was only 3 or 4 pots on display.  Luckily I popped back in at the end of the day.  Until a couple of years ago a daffodil would never have seen the light of day in my garden.  White and dwarf Narcissus  now grow in the garden as I have learned to appreciate their value in the spring garden.  These species Narcissus are little treasures - I haven't really done much research on these yet but think one or two would make a lovely addition to the miniature garden I grow in a trough.   
Narcissus display
I was particularly drawn to this Narcissus cantabricus - a white hooped petticoat daffodil, so called because of the characteristics of it's flower.  It's delicate and very pretty.

Another I like but didn't get it's name, of course if you know do tell.  The scent around this table was every bit as pleasant as the snowdrops.  I took a wee fit of sneezing soon after I bent down to take a closer sniff! 
Suggestions of ID of plant to the rear please?
No early bulb show would be complete without the Iris would they?  They were out in their masses on Bloom Day Posts this month and as many of us grow them, I thought you'd like to see more.

It was love at first sight - you could not fail to be bowled over by this beauty.  There is very little information out there on this particular Iris but according to the American Iris Society it is a cultivar of Iris histrioides, there after it all gets far too technical for my beginners brain.  If added a link here for the American Iris Society should you like more information.

Iris Reine Immaculee

Iris Reine Immaculee
close up
Iris Sheila Ann Germaney

Iris Pauline

Iris Display
The pot of Yellow flowering Iris in the middle was gorgeous - of course guess who forgot to get a close up and a note of it's name.  It could be I. danfordiae - if you know and can tell from this picture I'd be grateful.

A few individual plants that really caught my eye - as they do!

Eranthis schwefelglanz, the camera did not pick up just how apricot coloured these were.  Apparently the name schwefelglanz means sulphur gloss in German.  This would make a lovely change to the yellow ones we are used to.

Eranthis schwefelglanz
Another plant on my shopping today was a pink flowering Corydalis - I immediately fell for this little beauty.  I aleardy grow C. Beth Evans in the garden but wanted something a little different.  Sadly, the only Corydalis I could find was the yellow flowering variety or C. malkensis - which I also grow.  Corydalis shanginii is quite rare therefore I doubt I'll be sourcing those sometime soon! I love dark tips on the flowers.

Corydalis shanginii
This next plant was a complete new one on me - from a distance it actually looked like a wallflower - however as I got closer the resemblance got less and less!  I do hope I haven't hurt it's feelings!  I found information on the Alpine Garden Society website if you want to know more.   These are herbaceous members of the  Berberidaceae family and native to what was once the Soviet Central Asia area.

Gymnospermium albertii
Last and certainly not least  Ipheion dialystemon were beautiful.  It would however require an alpine house or cold frame if it were to survive here in my garden.

Ipheion dialystemon
Once we had finished oohing and aahing at the members plants - it was onwards and upwards!  There was just enough time to give the trade stands a first pass before the first talk commenced at 11am.

The talk, Make your own Narcissus (and snowdrops) by Anne Wright.  I was looking forward to this.  I had seen images of how to propagate from bulbs and read articles on the subject but just couldn't get my head around it.  Again, my fear of tiny little things always gets the better of me.  There will be more about the talk(s), what I learned and of course what came home with me in part 2.  

42 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this preliminary peek at the bulb show. I agree with you on that big Crocus with the recurved petals. Looking forward to seeing what you brought home.

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    1. Thanks Alison - I've still got rakes of pictures to work through, you know how it is. I'll be hoping to get the next post done by the weekend.

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  2. What lovely spring bulbs. Thank you for the tour. That yellow iris looks a bit pale to be danfordiae. Maybe it is Iris winogradowii. Does it have brown freckles and darker yellow centre?
    I have never seen a Gymnospermium, it's lovely.

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    1. Chloris, I had never seen a Gymnospermium before either. I'm no particular fan of wallflowers which was what I though it was - when I got closer the nice it became.
      I don't remember the Iris having brown freckles. I'm hoping my friend got a clearer close up and at least the name. I'll possibly be able to find out on the SRGC website, I've no doubt there will be lots of members pictures.

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  3. Beautiful flowers - I;d have spent a fortune, We watch and enjoy Beechgrove Gardens too.

    Whoever though of putting snowdrops in front of a white background?

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    1. It's difficult not to spend a fortune Sue - I only take cash and no bank card, that way I'm not tempted.
      I changed the paragraph I had written about the white background, just in case someone from the SRGC ever read my comments. What I wrote was a bit of compromise.

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  4. Oh beautiful. I love the snowdrops, dwarf daffs and irises and, though it surprises me greatly to say it, Eranthis schwefelglanz. I've never really been taken by aconites before.

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    1. I'm not keen on Aconites either but in the right place this one would look good - each to their own eh ;)

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  5. Wow Angie oh this such a pleasure to see having never been to the show.

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    1. Thanks Kath - I thoroughly enjoyed it, perhaps if you find time next year you could join us. It's not too far a drive or you could treat yourself to a little over night in a quaint B&B :)

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  6. Hi Angie, you Brits and your plant shows, just great! There seemed to be so much more enthusiasm for plants in general in your country than over here in the United States. I really have to admit that I envy you! It must have been so much fun to go the SRGC's early bulb show in Dunblane for you. Thanks for writing up this wonderful post about it! It must have been quite a bit of work. I love all the different types of snowdrops, narcissus (I didn't even know how a species narcissus would look up to now) and especially the irises, my favorite being iris 'Sheila Ann Germaney'. I have to research if I could grow that one in my climate zone. Another farvorite of mine is eranthis 'Schwefelglanz'. I grow very few bulbs here (gladiolous and amaryllis), but your post has certainly motivated me to change that. I am already looking forward to part II and I can't wait to see what you have bought for yourself. Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I have to confess up until a couple of years ago I would never have been seen dead at a plant show. I'm thoroughly hooked. Apart from the plants, the folks are very friendly, always willing to give advice and answer any question. I always thought there would be a kind of snobbery about it but not that I've noticed so far.
      I'm glad my post has motivated you to try more Christina - will be looking forward to what you choose.

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  7. What a fantastic variety of early bulbs, you must have had a wonderful time! The flowers all look so beautiful, I would have come away with far too many. I wonder why not a black cloth to show the plants off, they would all have looked good against a dark background. Looking forward to part 2!

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    1. Yes, an odd choice the white background. It's so hard not too spend too much. I only ever take cash and no bank card that way I'm never tempted.

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  8. All lovely little things, many of which I don't have much chance of growing but I appreciate nonetheless for their beauty. Too bad no one has figured out how to add smell to blogs (yet).

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    1. Yes, smelly blogs would be a good idea, although that would depend on the topic ;)
      Since I started visiting blogs around the world it only became apparent to me that those of you in warmer/hotter climes can't grow these beauties. It's so much easier to keep plants warm rather than cold!

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  9. Worth the early start Angie, though I fear you may have succumbed to the lure of special snowdrops!

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  10. Olàlà, Angie, spring is definitely in the air and if my list of "must have" bulbs has grown you're to blame this time ;). I have a great for botanical bulbs and am thrilled to come across them in the wild. I fear you've turned into a serious galantophile and look forward to watching your collection grow.

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    1. Living on the mountain like you do Annette must be a real eye opener - seeing such beauty in their natural habitat.....heaven.
      Not quite so serious yet!!

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  11. I have to admit that it is the Irises I like the most. I must grow more as they do return in my garden here, they like the hot dry summer.

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    1. Christina, I love the Iris too and grow quite a few of the spring flowering ones in my garden. You are right, the hotter the drier the better.

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  12. I must confess to being a lover of snowdrops en masse! What a sight, at a bleak time of year and so hopeful and cheery! The subtle differences were lost on me, I'm afraid. Thankfully (and thanks to my fellow bloggers!) my eyes are being opened. Such elegant beauties, when you get up close and personal. I do like G. Wasp you showed us. They are only surpassed by love of daffs. Another beauty, en masse, so cheery but with so many varieties. Your early rise was worth it! You managed to get a good peek!

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    1. They are elegant aren't they. It odd how these things suddenly dawn on us. Yes, G. Wasp was very nice - slender and long flowers, very eye catching.

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  13. Hi Angie! I've been reading your profile and would like to respond with interest! Like you, I am a new blogger, although not such a new gardener. Having lived, but not gardened, in Edinburgh, I am really keen to follow your blog and to see your progress. Looks good up to now - keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you ever so much. I'll be popping over to you blog just as soon as I finish replying here.

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  14. What a lovely show to wander around! I think I would spend a lot my time looking at the Snowdrops, the Crocuses and the Irises. I'd be making plenty of notes too. It sounds definitely worth the early start!

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    1. It was wonderful Wendy - its good to take note but even better when you get to speak to the folks that grow these beauties, they are always willing to give tips and advice on how to grow them.

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  15. You do like to torture your readers, don't ya :-P? Now, I have to wait for part 2 to get over the suspense. Hmm..I didn't know snowdrops have nice scent. I got 5 bulbs of snow drops this year -- let me see if they will grow or not. I am still not that a big fan of snowdrops as they look all same to me; however, I am crazy about crocuses. I agree with you that crocus angustifolius indeed does not look pleasing -- where is that tender beauty? It really looks like plastic decoration!

    I love primula. However, I hardly find any here that are perennial to zone 6.

    All lovely shots. Ah! I wish I were there.

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    1. I do hope your Snowdrops do well for you - until last weekend they all looked the same too me too ;)
      It's a shame you can't find many Primula that would do well for you. If it's the cold that does for them, perhaps some of the Himalayan ones would do better for you.
      I don't mean to torture my readers, scouts honour ;))

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  16. Hi Angie,

    Oooh I love 'Wasp'! Definitely one for me to attempt to get my grubby little fingers on :)

    I hope you've caught up on your sleep now? Called out to work or do you work odd shifts in say, the care sector?

    And thanks for reminding me I bought and planted a Corydalis last year; must remember to see if there's any sign of it being alive still... I suspect perhaps it's died in the wet clay soil this winter.

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    1. Wasp was lovely, very elegant looking.
      Caught up with my sleep Saturday night, was in bed by 8.30pm! Not in the care sector - I work for a recently privatised company, think big red lorries :) That is my usual finishing time.
      All my Corydalis are up - I hope yours has survived.

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  17. The community spirit of a show like this speaks to me. I never noticed a scent to the snowdrops, but then they grow so close to soggy ground that I'm not about to get down there and sniff. I think they need to be massed to be impressive. Mine are more of a smattering. The Corydalis shanghinii is a standout.

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  18. I am so pleased you made the show - I was worried that the weather might stop you (although since you are a gardener, wild horses, inclement weather and the end of the world combined would probably not have prevented you from getting to the show).

    That Eranthis looks very subtle. I shall look out for it.

    I'm pleased to hear you are joining the Galanthophiles. Perhaps you should cut up any credit cards now... obscurer snowdrops can sell for a fortune!

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  19. I can't get excited about the fine distinctions between most types of galanthus, but I love the look of a mass of snowdrops. That golden crocus and the eranthis are also gorgeous. So nice to be able to see all that color at this time of year.

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  20. The fact that you have been able to produce this wonderful post Angie, underlines the importance of such societies as the SRGC, I hope that it encourages people who are not already members to join. Can't wait for the return of Beechgrove in April, I find it far better than the commercially driven, extremely PC Gardeners World which I no longer watch.

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  21. Ooooooh do I detect the beginnings of a fatal addiction Angie? :) It must have been great to see so much colour under one roof at this time of year and to enjoy all that fabulous scent. Look forward to reading the second instalment and to the big reveal.

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  22. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Your Snowdrop photos by the white background are fabulous, but they picked a poor backdrop to really showcase them--especially if they wanted good photos. But yours are good! Thanks for sharing this sweet taste of spring!

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  23. Thank you so much for all the photos - I have now got a lot more ideas for my garden. Up to now I have been like you with snowdrops, but having caught a bit of other people's enthusiasm on blogs I will be looking at them differently from now on. I also love iris reticulata (they seem to do well in my rockery), but again didn't really think about getting other varieties. My wish list is just getting longer and longer.......

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  24. Oh what a wonderful display of little early spring flowers. I always learn so much when I attend the SRGC meetings here and I'm always fascinated by the rare and unusual varieties that some people grow. I've not been to one of the shows yet so it was great to see this one from behind your lens Angie. You must have been like a little kid in a sweetie shop with all of those blooms :)

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  25. So many lovely spring bulbs! Until 2 years ago, a snowdrop was just a snowdrop to me too, now I got over 350, and 4 different types but I would still like more! Looking forward to your next chapter and hearing what you bought :-)

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  26. Such a pleasant day! I too like Corydalis shanginii... will have to look for that one.

    We have not even a single snowdrop up yet here in Pennsylvania... and very cold temps forecast again this week. I think we will be having spring more in April this year than March, though it might surprise me yet. :)

    Thank you for sharing your visit!
    ~Julie

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