}

May 3, 2011

A visit with NARGS member Peter George and his amazing rock garden

Adonis vernalis in bloom in a tufa bed in the rock garden of Peter George, a collector of rare alpine plants who gardens in the quaint New England village of Petersham. ( I know, I usually show my Adonis vernalis, since Peter and I bought out plants together, but mine disappeared this year).

Members of the New England Primula Society tour the Petersham, MA garden of Peter George, an esteemed member of the North American Rock Garden Society. It was a perfect spring day here in New England, with a brilliant blue sky, and warm temperatures. Oriole's, tweeting migrating Warbler's, chirping Robins and Wrens sang while clouds of black flies swarmed around us.

Saxifrages come in many sizes and forms, and I knew that Peter George had many, after all, we fought over many plants at the Oregon NARGS meeting two years ago. I would venture to say that Peter has ten times as many Saxifrages as I do.


A birds eye Primrose, or a farinose primula sits in a sunbeam safe between giant rocks.
Anemonella thalictroides 'Schoaf's Double', a precious woodland Anemone that lasts only a few days in a New England spring garden making it one of our most lovely spring ephemerals.

A lone Saxifrage nestled safely between boulders.
A pine? Nope. This is a peony. Paeonia tenuifolia, a highly treasured rock garden peony that makes a stunning specimen plant once established.

This yellow dwarf Iris is no taller than 8 inches, it blooms in front of Peters Barn which was built in the 1800's.

One of Peter's passions is Eriogonum, or the flowering Buckwheats. I have yet to try them, but after seeing his collection of the alpine plants, I now think that I might try some. Perfect for a dry location in full sun.





May 2, 2011

The National Primrose Show - The Winners

I, I, I'M SPEECHLESS OVER THIS SWEET DOVE GREY SHOW AURICULA. IT WAS AN ENTRY GROWN BY JUDITH SELLERS OF NEW YORK STATE. IT TOOK AN AWARD FOR BEST SEEDLING, ( 'MOONGLOW' X 'TWIGGY'). 
This past weekend, the National Primrose Society Show was hosted by our local chapter, the New England Primula Society at Tower Hill Botanic Garden near our home in Boylston, Massachusetts. Ask any attendee who entered plants, and they will all tell you the same thing, that this year, the season is late, and as of a week ago, many were still concerned if the last of the snow would melt, let alone their concerns about any of their primroses being in bloom. A large genus, the truth is that many alpine Primroses bloom just after snowmelt, while woodland species bloom a month or so later. A typical spring show would normally see benches with dozens of Polyanthus and Primula veris, but this year, it was nice to see earlier, more unusual alpine primroses - the sort we rarely see at these shows.

AN AWARD WINNING ENTRY OF A PRIMULA ALLIONII GROWN AND EXHIBITED BY MARY MALLOY FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK. WE ALL WERE IMPRESSED BY THE NUMBER OF FLOWERS THIS WINNER HAD OPEN.


THE NATIONAL BEST IN SHOW, AN AURICULA SELF, GROWN BY MARIANNE KUCHEL WHO GROWS HER FABULOUS PRIMULA AT HER HOME IN VERMONT.

MARIANNE KUCHEL ALSO WON A DIVISION WITH THIS FINE PAN OF PRIMULA DENTICUALTA, THE DRUMSTICK PRIMROSE.

SUSAN SCHNARE, A NEW HAMPSHIRE MEMBER WHO HAS MASTERED THE CULTURE OF AURICULA PRIMROSES, WON A DIVISION AND A A RUNNER-UP BEST OF SHOW WITH HER ENTRY 'PARADISE YELLOW'

A FEW AURICULA'S GROWN BY JUDITH SELLERS.

So, where were my primroses? Well, after hosting the party and the guest speaker the night before, I got up at 5:30 to start digging and potting some entries, but I arrived too late ( judging had already started), so I just used them to decorate the membership table where they still received lots of attention by the many visitors over the weekend.

My tray of 6 species had many nice comments, but today, I had to replant them back into the garden. Maybe next year, I will  pot up plants earlier, like everyone else. I just wanted to keep as many in the garden for our party the night before, and possible.


May 1, 2011

Chris Chadwell, tales of the Himalaya, and a Primrose Show

Potted and benched Himalayan Primroses ( P. denticulata) at this weekend's National Primrose Society show held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.

This past week and weekend, we've had the pleasure of hosting Chris Chadwell, noted plant explorer, expert on Himalayan plants and Secretary and Editor of the Sino-Himalayan Plant Association. We were fortunate to have been able to host Chris in our home these past few days, as we was asked to be our keynote speaker at the National Primrose Society national exhibition which which our New England Chapter of the APS hosted at nearby Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Chris is a full-time plant explorer, and having been to Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal; and the Himalaya 25 times, he was able to share much information, as well as images and tales of his many adventures in this most beautiful and plant rich part of the world. He is very knowledgab;le and was willing to provide advice to those of us interesting in trekking there ourselves, as well as to offer help in planning such a journey. His presentation inspired many of us with photos of rare high elevation primula as well as other plants from the Himalaya. At the end of his presentation, he was most kind in offering Joe, Rodney and I with scarves and hats from Nepal, which we greatly enjoyed.

The night before, we hosted a party for Mr. Chadwell and for all of the attendees from the American Primrose Society. We lit up the yellow magnolias from below with spot lights, and since the royal wedding happened earlier in the day, we required all ladies to wear hats, and I made some pub food, mainly Steak and Guinness pie and Chicken and Leek pie, plus many other treats. 

 Lighting is important, and the spotlights that we usually use only in the winter after snowstorms, lit up the yellow magnolias in a way I could never have imagined.


Elisabeth Zander from the Berkshire Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society stroll our garden, on her way to the greenhouse.

 In the studio, I made a giant arrangement with yellow magnolia ( goldfinch), forsythia, pine and Japanese Maple branches.
 Rodney Barker, our chapter president (seated) wears his Tibetan hat and ceremonial silk scarves, as I do as presented to us by Chris Chadwell.
A  round-table discussion on collecting rare plants from the Himalaya lead by Chris Chadwell at the National Primrose Society meeting held at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, in Boylston, MA.

Party images from our cocktail party we hosted on Friday night for Mr. Chadwell and all out-of-town visitors attending the National Primrose Society show. British meat pies lead the menu, along with spring greens and lots of wine.
We asked that all guests wear hats, because our theme was 'Royal Wedding', which most attendees watched earlier in the morning on Friday. It was fun to see that most every one of our 50 plus guests, wore a hat!

The three judges at the National Show included, from left, Mary Mallow, Marco Polo Stufano  and Kris Fenderson, on the right.,


This was one of those busy weekends that included lots of parties and visitors, even fellow blogger and follower of this blog, Tony Bielaczyc, Deputy Editor at Martha Stewart Living, along with Marco Polo Stufano, former director of Wave Hill Botanic gardens visited the show at Tower Hill as well as own home garden and greenhouse later in the afternoon on Saturday ( so crazy and messy!!, but these are the sort of folks who can see through the junk to see the plants!). So, clearly, you can see why I haven't had a lot of time to blog over the past few days! It was a fun, busy, and jam-packed weekend, with lots of visitors to the garden, and little time to even check email. And now, back to work!