Sunday, 23 May 2010

Rare Plant Fair: London Temple

Last week, I happened to be enjoying an ice-cold beer in a beer garden (I forget where – this could be due to the beer!), when my mobile phone started to ring. It was none other than Charles, a.k.a. Grumblemouse, who through the wonder of Social Media, has become a firm friend and passionate partner in plant crime! He informed me that there was a rare plant fair being held at the Inner Temple Gardens at the weekend and suggested that we check it out.

Well, needing no second invitation, I agreed; keen not only at the opportunity to purchase some rare plants, but also to see what a garden fair in the very heart of London would look like. So, today I braved the blistering sun (no mean feat for men of the bald community) and ventured into Waterloo by train and then onwards by foot, taking in the South Bank, Waterloo Bridge and Victoria Embankment before arriving at Temple.

Once arrived, I met up with Charles and we proceeded to enter the Inner Temple Gardens. What met us was an incredible sight – a radiant lawn in the middle of stunning London architecture, with stalls and tables dotted everywhere, packed with rare flora and fauna. I readily admit; it was strange to have a country-like plant fair in the very middle of London – at the end of the lawn were four lanes of traffic and the river Thames! Nonetheless, the setting was idyllic and rather grand.

In the end, I ended up having a fascinating conversation with Tony Marden. He runs Shady Plants, a small nursery based in Gloucestershire , specialising in arisaemas, amorphaphallus and other aroids and indeed, it was the rather spectacular Ariseaema Tortuosum that caught my eye and got me chatting with him. Tony caught the arisaema obsession about seven years ago after buying an 'empty' pot at a flower show and has been growing them ever since!

Well, inspired by Tony's friendly chat and advice, I decided to purchase two of these magnificent plants for myself:

As you can see, one is slightly behind the other, so I plan to enjoy watching this grow and unfurl over the coming few days!

Had I not been so light in wallet this weekend, I would have invested in a great many more plants for the flat. The rare plant fair was a thoroughly enjoyable affair, with friendly gardeners and growers more than happy to offer advice, tips and help. Although London Gardeners have now missed the boat this year (in hindsight, I should have written about this prior to the event), the rare plant fair is being held all around the country over the coming months. Visit the website to see if it's coming to an area near you – I wholly recommend it.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails