Catching up with the Plant Fair Roadshow at The Walled Nursery
To The Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst on a baking Sunday afternoon. Someone forgot to send the weather the memo that this is England, and it’s supposed to be chucking it down every August bank holiday weekend.
It’s always a treat to see how Emma and Monty are getting on with their historic site – a walled garden with a collection of wonderful Victorian glasshouses in various states of decrepitude – which has always managed to be hugely romantic and inspiring, whilst simultaneously an enormous liability. But in the last eighteen months, the café in the vinery and the gift shop areas have created an additional draw, and a timely bequest has allowed renovations to start in earnest on the Carnation House which, with its new hardwood frame and reconditioned ironwork, is looking both handsome and reassuringly solid, even half way through the project.
I’d been looking forward to bumping into Colin and Cindy from Pineview Plants, and I managed to relieve them of a couple of pots of the red aster Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’. I did have some of this before, but I think they fell foul of the combined attentions of slugs, an overly vigorous geranium, and Bill. Let’s hope these fare a little better.
I hadn’t expected to bump into so many other folk. There was @CEVokins and @gardengirllucy from Twitter, Graham from Plantbase (recently featured in the RHS’s magazine for members, The Garden) and Fiona from Blue Leaf Plants, from whom we acquired a kalanchoe that Emma’s been hankering after for her succulent collection.
And to top it all, I discovered Quentin Stark, head gardener at Hole Park in Rolvenden, wearing his Plant Doctor hat. Metaphorically speaking, though judging by the strength of the sun, he could have done with a wide brimmed titfer of a rather more corporeal nature.
Another fabulous plant fair – always a good opportunity to see really well grown plants and to chat with the growers. Next weekend is the Unusual Plant and Garden Fair at Sussex Prairie Gardens, which I hope to get to. Definitely worth a visit.
Today’s plant haul stats: 2 x Symphiotrichum lateriflorum 'Lady in Black', 1 x Chocolate Cosmos, 1 x Melianthus major, 1 x Sedum cauticola, 1 x Kanlanchoe thyrsifolia. Plus 2 x bags of Sylvagrow Peat Free Compost with John Innes. And I only came out for the compost!