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Epimedium acum 'Nightmistress'

A visit to the first fair of 2021

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Borde Hill – Plant Fairs Roadshow – 18th April 2021

The sun was shining, Spring was in the air, and the excitement was palpable – from both the nurseries & the plant hunters.  The first Plant Fairs Roadshow of 2021 was about to open its gates (Hole Park in February having been cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions).  It was also the first plant fair for many of us in a very long time.  In fact, one lady told of being so excited to attend her first event after lockdown, that she arose at 2.30am. that morning & had to go wandering round her garden until it was time to leave for the Fair!

Extremely well organised & set in the delightful grounds of Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath, 17 small, high-quality nurseries were in attendance, all utterly passionate & extremely knowledgeable about their plants.  The fact that the entrance was by a time-allocated ticketing system allowed a steady flow of customers, who were able to chat with the stallholders in a much more leisurely way than the usual mass arrival as the gates open.

So many wonderful plants to choose from as well: Colin Moat of Pineview Plants had a really lovely selection of epimediums & pretty anemone nemerosa, Paul Seaborne at Pelham Plants a gorgeous new hybrid of Ranunculus called ‘Rococco Pink’ which creates large dramatic flowers.  Also, there were a variety of pretty pelargoniums, including Radula Roseum.  Tim Ingram of Copton Ash always has unusual plants – the Trillium Kurabayasii from California was looking particularly spectacular and Rachael Castle of Swallowfields Nursery’s Anemone Pavovina was looking really good too, as were the Pulsatillas at Rosy Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants stand.

There were plenty of tempting shrubs & clematis to choose from; I found myself coming home with 3 clematis from Marcus Dancer Plants for a new pergola, a gorgeous Amsonia tabernaemontana variety called ‘Storm Cloud’, with near-black coloured stems topped with stunning blue flowers from Daisy Roots & a delightful lemon yellow Uvularia grandiflora pallida for a humus-rich shady part of the garden from Pelham Plants.  None of which I knew I needed, but was extremely pleased with nonetheless!

A stunning Sorbus randaniensis with beautiful bronze new growth, (followed by abundant orange-red berries in the Autumn), also caught my eye at Graham Blunt’s Plant Base stall .

Riverside Bulbs were also in attendance with a sweetshop selection of dahlias & gladioli, as was Tom Critchley with a choice of wrought ironwork plant supports & decorative items to add interest to any garden.

A wander around the beautiful grounds of Borde Hill, with its stunning views over the West Sussex landscape, was an added bonus on a beautiful Spring day, with plenty of outside seating near the café if refreshments & a breather were needed – what more could one ask for after such a long lockdown winter!

Contact us

Quentin Stark
Plant Fairs Roadshow
1 Beacon Hill Cottage
Rolvenden Road, Benenden
Cranbrook, Kent
TN17 4BU