The weather has not been kind to us this winter with snow, cold and rain. Many of the shrubs that are usually in flower now were not even showing buds. However, Nick, Elaine, Cyril and Jo found plenty of blooms and foliage to take to the RHS Spring Ornamental Show and the Camellia Show. This event is usually held at Wisley Garden but, due to the building work there to create a new entrance, café etc it has been relocated to Savill Garden, Windsor.

Photo of Camellia 'Contessa Lavinia Maggi' being exhibited in Class 19 of the RHS Spring Show
Camellia ‘Contessa Lavinia Maggi’

Our Camellia entries included a class for 6 blooms, a class for 3 blooms and some single specimens. In the shrub section we entered a class for 4 shrubs in flower, Pieris in bloom, Heather in bloom, variegated foliage and a conifer shown for its foliage. The latter was from an original Mrs Beale plant, Cephalotaxus harringtonia. This handsome conifer can be found at the top of the Croquet Lawn border. The Camellia blooms were a mix of original plants and some of the new cultivars that have been bought with money raised by FOSE.

Photo of Pieris in Bloom being exhibited for the RHS Spring Show
Pieris in Bloom

The preparations for the Show entail a very busy, long day as well as some time in the weeks before checking what we think might be ready to show on the day. Only perfect, unmarked blooms are chosen as any blemishes will only get worse as the day progresses. Nick and Elaine make their way around the Garden examining each Camellia bush for likely entries. Cyril and Jo carefully ferry the blooms back to the Stableyard where they are prepared for travelling in small jars or buckets for the larger items. After an early lunch, the cars are loaded and we set off to tackle the M25!

Photo of a vase of Cephalotaxus harringtonia being exhibited in the RHS Spring Show
Cephalotaxus harringtonia

Once at Savill Garden all the entries are transferred to the marquee where the Show is held. It is a hive of activity with staff from Nymans, the Crown Estate, private individuals etc and the Committee members from the Camellia and Rhododendron Society. Tables are laden with colourful blooms and buckets of shrub branches abound. Much primping and preening occurs before we are finally happy with our entries. Some of the shrub entries have to be measured to ensure that they are within the size criteria for the Show. Elaine is buried under a mass of paperwork and labels trying to sort out which blooms are in which class. As you can see from the photos, everything is eventually ready and we can clear up and head home.

Photo of three Camellia specimens in the Camellia Class for 3 Blooms
Camellia Class for 3 Blooms[/caption]

We eagerly await news of any winners, as no one was able to go along over the weekend to see if our hard work had paid off. Watch this space for news!

Elaine

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