Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Another weekend, another road trip.

The beautiful spring continues, this time it was a trip to Norfolk for a few days to see some friends, look around some nurseries and visit a cactus mart. Norfolk has two fantastic nurseries for the exotic garden fan, Amulree and Urban Jungle. There are always things that catch my eye at both, this year at Amulree it was these stunning agave ovatifolias.

At Urban Jungle, part of the fun is walking around their different planting sections, sadly it is totally the wrong time of year for the edible jungle, but it was great to see the planting wall had survived despite the terrible winter. The ferns in the gaps are mainly starting to grow again and in a month or so should be back to its best again.  This is a clever very way of creating a wall, with full descriptions on the blog of Jamie who built it before heading off on his travels (Tumbleweed Traveller).

Then it was off to see the friends which I will cover in another post as they deserve it, if for no other reason than the very memorable line dancing disco night they took me to! The whole reason for the trip was to join the local British Cactus and Succulent Society trip to a catus mart on the Saturday. There is always a difficult choice at these shows; do you walk around to see all the stalls before deciding what to buy, or do you buy as you go so you don't risk someone else getting their hands on the best plants. Normally when shopping, as my OH will confirm, I like to look at all the options, comparing them before finally making my decision. At the shows though there are far too many other eager shoppers and you can't risk someone else getting their grubby little mitts on that prized plant. Having got most of the way around, I found someone with two trays full of aloe hybrids. You wont be surprised to know that I spent quite a while on this stand going through them all, checking I hadn't missed any and which were the best plants. 

There is another great point at any event like this, when everyone re-groups and you all have a nosy through what the others are taking home.  There are the looks of envy that someone else got the one plant you were after, discussions about plants you don't know about and sometimes quick trips back into the show to try and make a last minute purchase. This cactus caught my eye in one of the members boxes,  it almost looked stitched and I had a feeling my OH would appreciate the patterns / textures.

After a very nice lunch, it was off over the border to probably the largest cactus nursery in the UK.  Only a few days before I had been talking with some friends about why we don't have any really large succulent nurseries in the UK.  They had just come back from Germany and shown pictures of these giant green houses full of succulents of every description. So walking into Southfields, I was proved wrong when I was greeted by this:

The place is huge, rows and rows of tables stuffed full of cacti of every form.  Anyone who things succulent gardens lack colour needs to visit somewhere like this:

While shopping at a show requires one set of tactics, shopping here required another, leaving plants until you have looked around risks you never finding the plants again. It was not unusual to bump into people wondering up and down the many isles muttering to themselves about why didn't they pick that plant up when they first saw it.

After a fantastic couple of days, it was back home to pot up my purchases, here are ones from Southfields and the show.

I think my OH is slightly concerned about the appearance of cacti on top of the agaves, aloes and echeverias, but she need not worry I more than enough to keep me going without getting interested in cacti as well.

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