Plants and People.

The Head Gardener would say that I lack a certain finesse as a gardener; that I lack that attention to detail and routine that brings good to excellent; that I am fine as an “edges and hedges” gardener, as Jean Van Der Lee (a Dublin gardener) used describe her husband – another long-suffering Under Gardener who worked tirelessly in the pursuit of the Head Gardener’s dream! Of course, she is right; I can’t deny it and our visit to today’s Alpine Garden Society’s Dublin Show brought it home to me, once again!

I have never been an enthusiast for growing plants in pots – and this is how the plants we viewed today were grown – and this has not been that I dislike plants in pots but that I know it is something I would not do well. I would forget to water them or would overwater them or I’d forget to pot them on or I’d leave them in too hot a place or too cold a spot. I’d kill them! Maybe this is why I enjoy visiting the Alpine Garden Society’s Dublin Show each year for I really do enjoy looking at well-grown plants and especially so when I haven’t the patience nor skill to do so myself.

One of the very special plants on display today at the Alpine Garden Society’s Dublin Show was Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’

There were some very special favourites that have graced the show benches for the past years and others which were new to me. The trilliums catch my attention immediately. They are big and showy and stand out among the many other plants which are, in the main, smaller. Always first to catch my eye – I look out for it especially – is Trillium chloropetalum ‘Bob Gordon’ – which has been a speciality of Billy Moore for some past years but today’s potful was from Billy’s son. I stood admiring it in the company of Willie Reardon and he recalled the first year he stood looking at it some years past and seeing Bob and I sitting and chatting closeby. Later on I was chatting with Gordon Toner, another great Northern Ireland grower of alpine plants, and when Bob’s name came up he described him with that word so many, many people use of him – Bob was one of nature’s “gentlemen”. This is what makes this Trillium so special. It came from Bob’s garden – a gift to Billy Moore – and will keep Bob’s memory very fondly in our minds.

Other trilliums on display today: Click to enlarge the images and to start a slideshow. The captions should show during the slideshow:

The other plants which caught my attention were the small narcissus and there were some absolute gems here. Paddy Smyth’s name was on several of the labels with the added information that most had been grown from seed, several from seed sown as recently as 2019 so this was probably their first year into flower. It takes patience and skill to bring such treasures to flowering and this is what is to be seen at these shows.

Narcissus on the show benches – the last was my favourite, a little gem. Click to enlarge the images and to start a slideshow. The captions should show during the slideshow:

It took almost an hour to actually get to see the plants on show for the greatest part of these shows is meeting the people there, old friends and acquaintances of many years. It is a time to catch up, to hear how they are keeping, to enquire of mutual friends not present and to chat and chat, to be in good company. And, after viewing the plants there was time again for more and more chat- and we may have tracked down an almost forgotten Erythronium which another great gardener and alpine plant enthusiast, Margaret Glynn, had found in her garden many years ago. I may not grow plants in a manner which would allow me to place them on the show benches but I certainly enjoy seeing the work of others and being in their company.

And, a selection of other plants from the show benches. Click to enlarge the images and to start a slideshow. The captions should show during the slideshow:

Finally, what it’s all about: Sharing the love and enthusiasm for plants with friends: Helen Dillon, Assumpta Broomfield and Gordon Toner discuss that beautiful little white daffodil, Narcissus rupicola ssp abaleish, with the Head Gardener in the background.


8 thoughts on “Plants and People.

  1. I’ve never been a lover of trilliums though these look nice. The miniature narcissus are exquisite. I wish I had the patience to grow them from seed myself. As ever, Paddy, you brighten a dull morning.

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  2. Paddy. Thank you for photos of Alpine Show, but especially of those people who contributed and gave me so much pleasure and interest in all things that grow and flower.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi – I found my way here from Neal’s blog. I so enjoyed the photos you shared. I live in Wisconsin and we haven’t even thawed out enough or had our snow melt enough for any flowers to burst up from the frozen ground! Your photos give me hope for spring! 🥰

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    1. Hi Shelley! I follow a few American gardeners’ blogs and understand the climate differences, quite a contrast to ours which is in comparison very mild. We hardly ever have snow and only occasionally frost. On the other hand, we have plenty of rain with summers that are not too hot; 25C is pretty high for us. So, all is gently and mild and that suits the plants well. Lovely to hear from you!

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      1. Hi Paddy – thank you for the clarification and the warm welcome to your blog. I’m jealous of your weather you describe. While I’m plenty sick of winter at this point in the season, I do think I’d miss the four distinct seasons we have in WI.
        Take care and keep on gardening – gardens bring on such positive vibes in the world!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is exactly how I feel about plants in pots! Delightful to admire, unlikely to go well if they are left up to me (with the occasional exception of aloe veras, which are about as unfussy as it gets in my climate).

    Liked by 1 person

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