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Glorious sunshine beckons this weekend for the Wisley Flower Show: for my money, one of the very best small shows there is.

I popped by for the first day on Thursday and accidentally discovered the way to ‘do’ the show with minimal discomfort. As regulars will know there’s a killer of a traffic jam right down the A3 and on to the M25 which builds up gradually until by mid-morning you’re waiting well over an hour to get to the front gate.

Because I had a ridiculously over-committed day which involved collecting £200 of wood from a sawmill, visiting Wisley Flower Show and hacking the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Somerset, all by lunchtime, I turned up on the dot of 9am when the show opens. What a revelation.

I swept regally in without so much as a hesitation and was politely waved to my place in Car Park No 1 (right by the entrance) by a small phalanx of attendants. I strolled through the garden, almost alone bar feverishly lawnmowing gardeners, and had the whole show very nearly to myself for the first half-hour.

By the time I was ready to leave it was only 11am and the queues were well on the way back to Junction 9. Once again, I swept out, waving (slightly sadistically) at all the sweating punters on the other side of the A3 still waiting to get in. You couldn’t help but feel a bit smug.

Anyway: if you get the chance to go this weekend, don’t miss it. Here are a few of the many delights you’ll enjoy.
 


Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily Mackenzie’, Leonotis leonurus and Astilbe x chinensis taquetii ‘Superba’ in joyous union on the Best in Show stand by Madrona Nursery

Flower of the show was definitely Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstonne’: it was everywhere, about 7ft tall and supremely elegant. Probably my favourite of all the rudbeckias and superb in big, in-yer-face planting schemes

Solanum quitoense, a gorgeous sultry big purple leaf with the dew still frosting its upper surfaces, from tropical woodland in central America – one of an extraordinary and inspiring display of exotics from Plantbase Nursery

Aralia cordata flowers catching the sunlight on the Edulis Nursery stand

I rather liked the funky pink frames used to set off the plants on Bean Place Nursery’s stand

Dichroa februga, an evergreen hydrangea relative (The Botanic Nursery)

An intriguing heather from Trewidden: don’t you just love the way the stems carry on up out of those huge blowsy flowers? It’s Erica verticillata – and 70s and boring it ain’t

And last but not least: one for all you heuchera lovers out there. Heuchera ‘Sashay’ from Heucheraholics had the most gorgeous ruched leaves with just the right touch of purple petticoat showing. Exquisite.

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