IMG_1765I was alerted from the Sunday Times last week that there was a plant hunters fair at the National Memorial Arboretum today and not only do these fairs never seem to be anywhere very local but we had not yet visited the memorial, despite it being only 10 miles or so away from home. And what an amazing and poignant place it is! We will be returning on a less cold and damp day for a longer visit as the site is huge, but even today there were probably hundreds of people around and mostly not for the plant fair. The things that struck me most were the comprehensive inclusion of memorials around the site for every organisation or group involved in the various conflicts, but also the names….. thousands upon thousands of service personnel who have lost their lives in conflict or as a result of terrorism since the end of the Second World War……. over 16,000 I believe – very poignant indeed…….

IMG_1766On a more mundane note, I could have been like the proverbial child in a sweet shop at the plant fair, but had come with neither any preconceived ‘wants’ nor much cash, so had spent up by the second or third stall. At least I now have a good idea of the stalls that were there and the ranges they carry, and several said they would bring specific plants another time if requested, there being two further fairs here this year. It was certainly good to see things that were a little different and unusual – and parts of some national collections too (phlox, helenium and centaurea I think). Today I came away with two teeny tiny hostas (‘Cracker Crumbs’ and ‘Lime Fizz’), a large hosta with an indecipherable label which I have since emailed the seller about, the striking dark leaved fragrant Polemonium ‘Heaven Scent’ and a small Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ before the cash ran out….

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15 Responses to Remembering

  1. Pauline says:

    I can imagine that the National Memorial Arboreatum to be a very moving place, I have seen various programmes on TV about it, but I’m sure that nothing can compare with actually being on the site itself.
    You certainly came home with some lovely plants, I shall look forward to seeing them in situ!

    • Cathy says:

      I certainly didn’t realise the full extent of it when I have seen it on television – well worth a visit. I visualise several baby hostas in one low pot at some stage – I have Mouse Ears already

  2. rusty duck says:

    I have the Veronicastrum ‘Fascination’. Allow plenty of headroom. The label on mine said 90cms, but it is well, well over a metre. It’s one of the plants I’ve just shifted out of the terraces to a more accommodating position on the bank.
    The arboretum sounds awesome.

    • Cathy says:

      The arboretum is indeed awesome – and clearly visited not just by those who have lost loved ones in conflicts. When the trees are fully grown it will be even more amazing! Actually, I didn’t even look at the label of Fascination as I had seen them the last time I went to Wisley and was… well, fascinated… and they have been on my wish list so I knew they were pretty tall. Glad yours has established itself

  3. Julie says:

    We have not yet visited and would like to go, I imagine it was a very poignant and humbling place to visit. Thankyou for sharing this.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah yes – humbling, I should have said that but frankly I was fairly lost for words, as if words would not do it justice. If you are passing, do go.

  4. Anna says:

    We will have to try and visit this special place soon.The Plant Hunters Fairs are brilliant Cathy and we have one near us in later this month. The plantsman selling phlox, helenium and centaurea has been to our garden club and is an excellent speaker. I like the sound of polemonium ‘Heaven Scent’. Off to investigate forthwith.

    • Cathy says:

      They were all heading up to Bramall Hall today, which is up towards you. Nice to know they are back at the arboretum in May and August – I shall be too! The leaves of the polemonium are beautiful, and apparently if you cut the flowers back when they are over it should flower again.

  5. Chloris says:

    It sounds an amazing place. A long way from us I’m afraid.
    I love Veronicastrum ‘Fascination’, I love anything that gives a strong vertical line to the garden.
    It is such a pretty colour and bees love it too.

  6. A place I’ve never been, though we used to pass it often. I imagine it to be a vary moving place. Excited by the thought of a plant fair there – didn’t know that. Must keep a look out – It’s definitely “do-able”! You did well, on a small cash flow situation. And a scented Polemonium is a new one on me!

  7. Christina says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ve visited the memorials in Washington and they are very poignant I will visit yours if I am anywhere close.

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