Coming up on 18 April, in Little Bytham (full details below), there’s an interesting old-style Rare & Unusual Plant Sale by Jackie Murray. Jackie was, you may remember, secretary of SLGS for a while, when she and husband Pete lived in Stamford, where they packed a surprising number of plants into a small town garden.
They now live in Little Bytham, where Jackie grows an enormous collection of snowdrops and choice alpines. Having retired from full-time teaching, they run various courses, including digital photography (many thanks to Pete for providing the beautiful images, low-resolution, watermarked versions of which I’ve used here). Click on the small pictures to enlarge them.
Jackie says that she treasures memories of the great little specialist plant sales of old, when plantswomen such as Valerie Finnis and Kath Dryden would provide rare, much-cherished opportunities for pilgrimages to buy the rare and unusual treasures that they had propagated, perhaps only in ones and twos, many of them probably unavailable elsewhere.
(Sir David Scott and Valerie Finnis, a.k.a. Lady Scott’s wonderful garden at the Dower House, Boughton certainly had a strong influence on me, and I vividly remember perusing their heavily laden plant sales tables in an ecstatic daze. I would also add Herbert Exton’s lovely little garden at Sunny Cottage, Barkston, which fortunately you could visit at almost any time and come away with all manner of wonderful alpines and other goodies, some grown in white plastic coffee/tea machine vending cups, if I remember rightly!)
Such opportunities seem to be getting fewer these days, Jackie says, but “rather than be a grumpy old woman”, she’s decided to do something about it. Like any keen plantsperson she’s been propagating stock of her own plants as back-up and to increase her own displays in her garden. Now she has a surplus. Hence her plant sale of
“Rare, unusual, slow-to-propagate plants, many virtually unobtainable elsewhere. All grown hard, outside, in appropriate soil-based compost. “The hard, slow bit is done,” she says, “you get the easy bit, come and join in the fun.”
The mouthwatering list of goodies that Jackie will have for sale includes Hepatica, Trillium, Erythronium, Sternbergia, Allium, Daphne, Paeonia, Galanthus, Jeffersonia, Roscoea, Sanguinaria, Speirantha, Convallaria, Ipheion, Linaria etc, etc, all in small numbers.
Rare & Unusual Plant Sale by Jackie Murray
18 April 2015, 10am–1pm, Little Bytham Village Hall NG33 4QX (almost opposite Little Bytham church).
There will be a short talk on the plants for sale at 11am.
Coffee & cakes for sale in aid of the church. NB The garden will not be open.