Wisley Flower Show. 05.09.12.

The Wisley Flower Show is a fairly new event in the Royal Horticultural Society's calendar. It has grown rapidly in that time. In the first year it was like a wonderful village fete but this year it has spread over five days and become so large that it is a challenge to the facilities of the garden. It is primarily a plant sale, with some adventurous flower arranging for good measure. I took tea with the ladies (and gentlemen) who arrange. They were very jolly. The show is serving as an 'out of town' replacement for the Great Autumn Show at Vincent Square.

It has attracted a lot more visitors than the London shows manage and offers facilities that would not be possible in the Horticultural Halls. There is plenty of space for refreshments, seating and even a barbeque in a tent. When I was younger my cousin tried the same thing. Burnt it to the ground.

Hart Canna staged an interesting display. It is good to see that Canna are still being grown despite the virus problems of recent years. Hart Canna have been ruthless in burning any plant in their stock that shows signs of virus. It is a courageous plan that has cost them a great many plants, but it is the only way of protecting the named cultivars in the longer term.

Plantbase is a relatively new nursery in Kent with a broad range of unusual plants, but specialising in seed grown exotics that are on the borderline of hardiness. Some Erythrina and a Chorisia I had never seen before that might do well in the hot summers of the eastern counties, given a bit of protection in winter.

A classic display of cut gladioli in front of the sales tables for Pheasant Acre Plants. I enjoy the wild excess of colour, especially at the end of the season. This was a very practical stand for such a long show yet it delivered a great splash of exuberance.

Airplants are experiencing another rush of popularity and there has been increasing enthusiasm for the larger bromeliads in recent years as well. The stand also features some palms and a couple of magnificent named Bougainvillea cultivars that were very impressive. Almost a pity that the company is called 'Just Airplants' - a detail that was probably not lost on the judges.

Tyning's Climbers have taken over the National Collection of Passiflora and added a range of other unusual (and mostly tender) climbers to their list. The display was a delightful mix of exotic colours and shapes. It managed an occasional puff of scent more powerful than the thronging crowd (who puffed and thronged a lot more than this picture shows).

Fernatix staged a wonderful display of ferns, though to my eye the best things were on the sales table. You would have thought that Fernatix was a clever enough name to be remembered but I was chatting to a friend and struggling to dredge it up. Ptera-ists..., no that's not it ... Rolypoly Polypodies ? One Nursery, Two Men and Tree Ferns? None of those. I should have recognised it as a cue to have a little rest and a cup of tea.

This display from Norfield Nurseries impressed me with its courage. Autumn colour is not an easy thing to stage. Early in the season it can be a bit feeble, and later in the year there is the danger that all the leaves will fall off in a sudden gust (or in the van on the way to the show). I hope they sold enough to cover their costs for the week because this stand added the perfect tone to an autumn show in the sun.

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