Surprise Encounter: When my kids were very young, longtime horticulture friend Bob Brzuszek took us out into a Mississippi bog to show us wild pitcher plants (Sarracenia), carnivorous plants which get their nutrients from dissolved insect prey trapped in tall, hollow, water-filled leaves.
In a shocking real-life case of deus ex machina, as Bob sliced open one of the colorful funnels to reveal the partly-digested insects inside, a recently-ensnared honeybee flew out, released from the grisly death trap.
That came rushing back to me the other day when my sweetheart and her sister and I, looking for a rare colony of naturalized pitcher plants, were out “bog yomping” which is what locals around my summer home in northern England call hopping from tufts of grass to keep from getting muddy while traversing the remote moors.
Fens and Bog People
The misty moors of Lancashire are steep and windswept, nearly treeless except in the deep waterfall-fed ravines; the hillsides are covered with grasses and sedges, and rife with shallow pools gouged out by ancient glaciers, now matted with deep blankets of sphagnum moss, wildflowers, pink-and-purple heathers and thickets of sweet blue wimberries, tart blackberries, and succulent raspberries.
This is my fourth Floriade experience, attending the world’s largest horticultural exhibition, hosted in The Netherlands just once every ten years. This year’s show, as in the others in 2002 and 2012, featured stunning garden designs from dozens of countries around the world, exciting plants, unique accessories, garden art and other “hard” features, and the latest/futuristic horticultural innovations. With universal themes of sustainability and connections to nature, I took notes on dozens of ideas I can use in my own little cottage-style garden.
I never take for granted the privilege afforded me by the Royal Horticulture Society to attend its world-famous flower shows, especially on Press Day when a few selected journalists are allowed to mingle with and interview designers, horticulturists, craftspeople, and vendors. Over the years I have visited behind the scenes numerous shows including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Tatton Court, Harlow Carr, Sissinghurst, Wisley, and others; in their unique ways, all are just…WOW.
This summer kicked off with a new one for me, held for the second year at Chatsworth, a magnificent house and gardens nestled high in the Peak District of Derbyshire, central England. Though last year’s Press Day was closed early due to horrendous downpours – what the British correctly call “chucking it down” – this year the weather was perfect. Continue reading “Peek at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show ’18”