A trip to a garden or a flower show is always a risky thing – it can generate a feeling of enthusiasm or a feeling of complete hopelessness when the realisation dawns that the perfection observed will never be achieved. So last Friday I set off to spend the day at the RHS Flower Show Cardiff with mixed feelings. It had been a long week and I was a bit tired so wasn’t sure if I could face seeing perfection knowing that I had left a lot of imperfection at home!
I needn’t have worried it was a perfect day. The Show was held in Bute Park, about 10 minutes walk from the station. It was just the right size to wander round for a day taking in the gardens, displays and the stalls. Being early in the year I was full of admiration for the exhibitors who had coaxed plants into flower or leaf but yet had not gone over the top to create false shows.
My favourites – well I do love auriculas and so loved seeing them in displays, gardens and also the stunning theatre on the Hill View Hardy Plants .(Sorry not the best photo but the display was lovely)
I bought my first auriculas about four years ago and now have quite a collection and this is exactly the time of year that they come into their own. Today I popped my parent plants of Brenda’s Choice, Piers Telford and Beatrice on the doorstep so that we can enjoy their flowers. My normal spot for building my auricula theatre has been taken up with a temporary log pile!
Back to the Flower Show favourites and another great one was the beautiful Hooksgreen Herb exhibit . Encouraging everyone to get involved in growing edible plants was the focus of The Pennard Plants and Growing for the Future at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales garden. The fantastic design made you want to rush home, create raised beds and get planting. But how practical is the perfectly designed raised bed? What happens when you eat one of the four leeks and leave a bald patch? So somewhere there needs to be a compromise between aesthetics and functionality. I think that the exhibits at the Show helped inspire and encourage all visitors to get gardening in a practical and manageable way.
So what’s happened in my garden since Friday – well more vegetable and herb seeds planted ( including some fenugreek, chervil, minette basil, red giant mustard – all bought at the show) . I also have planed some cute little boxes ( bought at the show) with lettuce, corriander and peas which will be cropped when they are young and tender for salads. ( I’ll let you know how the get on in future blogs)
In a bid to thwart the mice I have lifted the strawberry plants from open ground and replanted them in big pots and moved them under cover – maybe this year we will get a crop or maybe we won’t. And most importantly I have been extracting the tangled webs of ground elder from the main beds – oh why was this invasive ‘herb’ brought to Britain by the Romans. I know its edible- the young leaves can be used in salad, it can be cooked like spinach, used in quiches and many other dishes. But if like me you wage war on it in your garden I can only think that is would choke me if I tried to eat it!