Did You Know About The Rare Plant Fairs?

Today I sampled my first ‘Rare Plant Fair’, at Kingston Bagpuize House, Near Oxford, UK.  What a fabulous secret these fairs are!  I was expecting a few high ticket items and a cake stall – but in fact stumbled across 26 specialist nurseries, selling all manner of interesting treasures, and a throbbing mass of enthusiastic ‘planties’ all browsing and chattering around the stalls.  Apparently rare plant fairs have now become a permanent feature of the horticultural calendar in the UK.  And it seems that such things are also spreading across the US and other countries too.

At every fair here is the opportunity to buy interesting and unusual plants – and the point is that many of these you just can’t find at garden centres, because the nurseries propagate the plants themselves.  There are exceptional nurseries offering a wide range of interesting

shrubs, perennials and bulbs to enhance your garden. What I noticed as well, is that the prices were reasonable, but more importantly, it was apparent that each stall holder was passionate about plants, really knew their stuff, and each plant had been carefully tended.  One vendor explained to me that he used real soil for the irises (not compost) – “they like it better, and will last longer” he explained.  He gave me the distinct impression he really cared about what happened to his plants after he sold them.

Experienced and novice gardeners alike will find something to excite them in both the plants and the beautiful venues.  If you’re in the UK, you can find out more at www.rareplantfair.co.uk


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