I popped by for the first day on Thursday and accidentally discovered the way to 'do' the show with minimal discomfort. As regulars will know there's a killer of a traffic jam right down the A3 and on to the M25 which builds up gradually until by mid-morning you're waiting well over an hour to get to the front gate.
Because I had a ridiculously over-committed day which involved collecting £200 of wood from a sawmill, visiting Wisley Flower Show and hacking the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Somerset, all by lunchtime, I turned up on the dot of 9am when the show opens. What a revelation.
I swept regally in without so much as a hesitation and was politely waved to my place in Car Park No 1 (right by the entrance) by a small phalanx of attendants. I strolled through the garden, almost alone bar feverishly lawnmowing gardeners, and had the whole show very nearly to myself for the first half-hour.
By the time I was ready to leave it was only 11am and the queues were well on the way back to Junction 9. Once again, I swept out, waving (slightly sadistically) at all the sweating punters on the other side of the A3 still waiting to get in. You couldn't help but feel a bit smug.
Anyway: if you get the chance to go this weekend, don't miss it. Here are a few of the many delights you'll enjoy.
|Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Emily Mackenzie', Leonotis leonurus and Astilbe x chinensis taquetii 'Superba' in joyous union on the Best in Show stand by Madrona Nursery|
|Flower of the show was definitely Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstonne': it was everywhere, about 7ft tall and supremely elegant. Probably my favourite of all the rudbeckias and superb in big, in-yer-face planting schemes|
|Solanum quitoense, a gorgeous sultry big purple leaf with the dew still frosting its upper surfaces, from tropical woodland in central America - one of an extraordinary and inspiring display of exotics from Plantbase Nursery|
|Aralia cordata flowers catching the sunlight on the Edulis Nursery stand|
|I rather liked the funky pink frames used to set off the plants on Bean Place Nursery's stand|
|Dichroa februga, an evergreen hydrangea relative (The Botanic Nursery)|
|An intriguing heather from Trewidden: don't you just love the way the stems carry on up out of those huge blowsy flowers? It's Erica verticillata - and 70s and boring it ain't|
|And last but not least: one for all you heuchera lovers out there. Heuchera 'Sashay' from Heucheraholics had the most gorgeous ruched leaves with just the right touch of purple petticoat showing. Exquisite.|