Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Saturday, 21 February 2009

May I introduce You To...


... some of the new plants for my revamped back garden border. 1 tree (Pinus mugo), 3 Euphorbia characias 'Portuguese Velvet' and 2 clumps of Iris reticulata, all bought for the bargain total of £15 at the RHS Show's plant sell off late Wednesday afternoon. The Pinus is from Capel Manor College's show garden, the Euphorbia from NDG's and the Iris from Jacques Armand nursery's show stand - that's the same company I bought my Gladiolus callianthus from at Malvern last year.

Manoeuvring 6 carrier bags of plants on the Tube during rush hour was a little tricky, but as you can see everything got home relatively unscathed. Those of you who've watched the plant sell off montage shown at Chelsea's closing TV coverage every year will be able to picture the scene exactly. What the programme doesn't tell you how sore your arms are the next day, especially after you've taken the wrong turn at the Tube station and gone down the Victoria line's deep escalator instead of heading for the Circle line.

I was surprised to find just how friendly Londoners can be: there must be something about a woman with loads of plants which brings out the best in people. Whilst buying a sandwich at Victoria station, a gentleman with an armful of Prunus twigs stopped for a chat about his crusade to bring trees back to the Hebrides. He was off to plant them in his mother's garden up there, having already made a start with hazel, hawthorn and birch. A lady stopped to ask if my Euphorbias were a Jade Plant. Unfortunately her neighbour had left her giant one outside during the snow and had mushed it, much to this lady's despair as she'd been coveting it. She then went off into WH Smith to see if she could get a copy of Fatherland as a surprise present for her boyfriend and stopped by later to tell me it was half price. Even the two lads next to me waved a cheery farewell after finishing their station bought equivalent of Pot Noodle.

This phenomenon isn't unique: Julia had a similar experience after buying her bargain Mr Stabby on Tuesday. Based on this very unscientific straw poll of just 2 people's experiences, perhaps we need to give everyone armfuls of plants to carry around with them: world peace might just be achievable if we do.

17 comments:

  1. That has always put me off going to the Chelsea flower show - the thought of struggling home on the tube with armfuls of plants.

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  2. Try it on the Tube in Milan - people just glare at you for blocking the exits.

    However as a born and bred Londoner - thank you for the compliments!

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  3. Having seen you manage those Gladioli at Malvern I'm sure 6 bags was nothing! Do you remember the fun we had with that ridiculously tall Bidens I bought and that sword/plant fight I have with a chap and his equally ridiculously large purchases. I am glad to hear that you ar purchasing plants now - JAS will be proud of you. Just wait until the spring show - they have a plant creche and a portering service to you car!!!!

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  4. Hi VP, goodness what great purchases, you have covered several plant families there, well done. With no public transport where I live, too rural and spread out, the thought of dragging plants around seems otherworldly. I have noted when shopping at the grocer's with plants in the cart, the floral section is at the entrance door so they always go in first, people remark on the plants where they would not speak to you otherwise during the shopping. A great way to make friends, like you noted. :-)
    Frances

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  5. What a great adventure~~you met nice folks, saw beautiful displays and brought home beauties for your garden! I love people watching on trains when we get into the "Big City"! I am so reasdy for our flower shows...they seem to be taking forever to get here! Gail

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  6. You know, I think you're on to something here, VP. Maybe all we need to do to achieve world peace is walk around with a bunch of plants in our hands...er, except maybe in Italy! ;-)

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  7. What an escapade VP but now afterwards when you look at the beautiful arrangement I bet your smiling :-)


    Tyra

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  8. Veep:
    What a wonderful plant buying expedition! Having nothing to compare to the RHS, I remember being at Canada Blooms in Toronto and seeing similar pictures to that which you described. Unfortunately, it was more like Milan than your experience.
    Great plant selections - I have a Pinus mujo and a darker selection of Iris reticulata.... they are wonderful plants!

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  9. VP .. it happens here as well. Canadians are usually polite and friendly .. Canadian gardeners are even more so most of the time .. we will chat up a storm with others while buying plants .. it is a common thread that pulls the 'best' out of us : )
    Take a nice long soak in the tub with some Epsom salts and rest those arms up girl ! Any Dr. Who coming down the lane for you yet ??

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  10. Clutching plants in your paws is certainly a good icebreaker whether on a train or a bus. Finding room for them once on board where they won't be trampled on can sometimes be quite challenging. I can imagine that you must have been pleased to get your new charges home safely.

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  11. It was worth the tube crush, they are great looking plants for a great price! I'd love to be able to hop on a train and visit a proper flower show ~ Northern Ireland isn't exactly renowned for its horiculture events, or indeed its public transport!!

    Plus; just think of the 'Carnation Revolution' ~ the power of plants!

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  12. Honestly, Veep, we Londoners are all lovely at heart, plants or no. if you catch us at the right time of day, that is...

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  13. Here in Texas, I would have gotten a "Bless her heart", which sounds like a good thing, but actually means the person receiving the blessing is slightly touched in the head. So glad they were nice and the plants are beautiful.

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  14. Matron - it was OK, I survived!

    Sue - it was a bit hairy each time we got to a station. You're welcome :)

    PG - I do remember your Bidens, I'm giggling about it as I write this!

    Frances - it was great to see normally stone faced people break into a smile and stop for a chat.

    Gail - they'll be over your way soon!

    Susan - I think it's a winner :)

    Petoskystone - thanks!

    Tyra - I am smiling as I can see them out of the window :)

    Teza - I've got the darker Iris too, but couldn't resist the pale one, nor the other plants :)

    Joy - no Dr Who, but lots of bath soaking on the cards as Moonwalk training starts in earnest today!

    Anna - I was very relieved!

    Carrie - I remember that from my visits over there :(

    Colleen - it was good to see you are, though a bit surprising seeing it was the rush hour!

    Deb - I suspect I got a few silent 'Bless her heart's too ;)

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  15. Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the show and found some great additions to your garden. I've always thought that gardeners are the friendliest people--not a bad idea to have everyone carry plants around to promote world peace.

    I have to add that on my one visit to London, I was so impressed by the friendliness of everyone, even without a plant in my hand:)

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  16. Rose - I had a fab time and I'm so pleased you found us a friendly bunch when you came over on a visit :)

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