Christchurch Alpine Garden Society meeting

Scilla litardierei
 I've traveled to many countries, but New Zealand is a tad different: perhaps because it's so far from anywhere else (except maybe Australia, which is still pretty far: Sydney to Aukland is over 2000km direct!)...things in New Zealand aren't quite like anywhere else. The entire country (103,483 mi²) is a tad smaller than Colorado (104,185 mi²), but possesses such an astonishing range of climates, habitats and dozens of mountain ranges in addition to the famous agricultural production...

I've been to many a plant meeting in my day: cactus clubs in Southern California are especially vibrant and crazy--the San Diego or San Gabriel cactus may have a plant show at most meetings, with lots of plant sales--but the one in Christchurch was JUDGED....and I'm embarrassed to say it me who did it!


A trunkload of treasures from Hamish Brown's  raised beds: I photographed this in his car's "boot" as they say before we drove off to the meeting...


And this is the Plant SALE section--dozens, maybe hundreds of choice (often VERY choice plants) and brought and sold--sometimes for the club, or for the donor.


You don't see Myosotideum hortensia at many plant sales I go to.


The sale plants were sometimes very creatively packaged...


I wish I could have taken some of these home!


And there were books (very good books) donated by members. I did come home with some of these!


There was a whole table of exquisite flowers brought for elucidation and sharing. It was peak of the rhody season after all!


It took a long time to do all these flowers justice--and there was a meeting to boot: namely me, giving a talk!



A whole box full of New Zealand alpine treasures grown to perfection--just brought for the heck of it (not in the competition), just to share.


Lots of work went into staging, preparing the plants...and recording the results of the judging.


I was told not to give the Rhodohypoxis a prize (there were many pots brimming with flowers like this: "they're much too common"!)


It was heartening to see two fellow Americans on the bench: Allium platycaule is a long time favorite of mine: I was amazed at how well it does in a pot in New Zealand (mine are duking it out in the garden)...Needless to say it won a ribbon!

Fritillaria recurva

I'm not sure what we gave the "best of show" to--in my beart of hearts it would be this dazzling fritillary...the most striking of its genus, and not too easy to grow this well.

And did I mention there were numerous tables loaded with goodies to eat after the talk (supper, they said)...but I dare not show these or you'll go raid the refrigerator!

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