British Hosta & Hem Society Weekend
This past weekend, the British Hosta & Hemerocallis Society held its summer
weekend in East Anglia (north Essex & Suffolk). We stayed at the Rose And
Crown Hotel in Colchester, the oldest Inn, in the oldest recorded town in
England! There can be no doubt that people where smaller in the old days, as
my wife Jill who herself is small by twentieth century standards, almost
became wedged in the stairway leading to our four poster bedroom. A couple of
'Pandora's Box' in Jill's pocket's and she would have been stuck for sure!
Anyhow, The weekend started on Friday evening with a meal, followed by a talk
and slide show from Maureen Thompson on how she created her garden at Sun
House in Long Melford, Suffolk, which we were due to visit the next day. The
evening was finished off by Mike Shadrack, Showing us slides and talking us
through a few of the gardens he visited while at the Peoria convention, plus a
few others he visited afterwards, including Olga Petryszyn's and Herb &
Saturday morning, we began at Beth Chatto's garden in Elmstead Market,
Suffolk. This is a garden and nursery on approximately 5 and a half acres, in
an area of the country which usually receives very low rainfall during the
summer. Beth has therefore choosen plants that will tolerate these
conditions. There was however an area of the garden in a slight valley, where
the soil actually held a bit of moisture, this was where the majority of the
hostas where concentrated.
Next stop was Sun House in long Melford, Suffolk. A delightful garden that has
one several awards in the past few years. Best described as a hidden walled
garden I guess, planted in the typical cottage garden style. There are a
couple of photo's from this garden in Diana Grenfell's most recent hosta book.
Glen Chantry, was the final garden of the day, Located in Wickhams Bishop, NE
Essex. Again a garden of around five acres I think. Created by Wal & Sue
Staines on a fairly windswept site. Beautifully planted island beds and ponds,
with probably more hostas than the previous two gardens.
Saturday Evening and it was back to the rose and crown for more rich food,
slide shows and adventures getting up the stairs to our bedroom.
Sunday was nursery and auction day!
We started off at Richard and Mary Ford's Park Green Nursery, winners of Gold
medals at Chelsea and Hampton Court this year for their hosta exhibits. This
is where we held the auction.
It was a sunny morning, so we had an open air auction in Richard and Mary's
garden. There were many good plants donated, quite a few as yet unavailiable
from the hosta nurseries over here. Mike Shadrack was the auctioneer and as
usual used his, how do I say this, expressive manner and sense of humour to
get the bids up as high as possible. Marco Fransen of Holland, had donated
some of his 'Paradise' hostas, as well as planting up three TC 'Pandora's Box'
into one pot, to resemble the original plant he had paid big bucks for at the
AHS auction a year or two ago.
The first plant I bid for was a streaked form of 'Francee', which ended up
under my chair. The next hosta that came along was Tony Avents 'Obsession', I
wanted it but feeling a little guilty at how much I had spent on plants this
year already, I stopped bidding when the price started to get a bit high. ARE
YOU READY FOR THIS GUYS, my wife who was sitting next to me, carried on
bidding until 'Obsession' was under my chair too! Now thats what I call a real
wife! The same thing happened when 'Salute' came along, well I wasn't going
to stop Jill now she had the tatse for it was I. I went halves with Marco
for a four division plant of 'Tucker Valentine' and finished a happy man. The
real winner though was the Society, with a record take for a BHHS auction.
By the way chaps, Jill is already very happily married to me but she does have
a sister! Think about it..........Auction Fever could be in the genes!
A ten minute drive up the road, took us to Sandra Bonds 'Goldbrook Plants',
another regular gold medal winner. Sandra's place is a must for the serious
We finished the weekend off with a visit to Robin and Yvonne Milton's
'Mickfield Hostas' and the nearby garden 'The Old Rectory'.
Next year we a planning to have our summer weekend in Holland. If any of you
are planning trips to the UK and would like more details of the gardens i've
mentioned, let me know. Likewise.........If anyone would like to become a
member of the BHHS and receive three Newsletters, plus the BHHS Bulletin
edited by Mike shadrack, just eeee me and we'll sort it out.
Regards to all
Glen Pether UK
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