I filled in a survey for the RHS a few months ago. Some of the questions asked whether RHS membership was good value for money or not. I realised it is very good value for money, provided you make use of it, which I haven't really in the three years I've been a member. So I vowed to make more of an effort and visit its gardens and partner gardens more often, and go to the London shows held in the RHS Horticultural Halls (which are free for members).
So after a heavy day of co-facilitating group counselling, followed by supervision, I got a train to Victoria and walked over to the halls, passing several people with narcissi-filled bags on the way!
I bought some cowslips (Primula veris) from Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants. I love Hardy's - they always put on a beautiful display at shows, like this display at Hampton Court in 2013. The poppies in the second photo are Papaver commutatum and the stunning white flowers in the third photo are Campanula 'Jenny'.
I've yet to visit their nursery in Hampshire, but it is on my to-visit list, not least because it is near the real Watership Down. Richard Adams' fantastic, epic novel was set in the surrounding countryside, and I long to visit the area one day, as the book and the 1978 film have been favourites of mine since childhood. Cowslip features in the book as a coveted source of food at the beginning, and as a bizarre rabbit in the middle.
I was advised to plant the cowslips in a grassy but unmowed area, and hopefully they will spread. Fingers crossed - I would love to have more of these beauties!
I got some lemon thyme and Moroccan mint from Pennards Plants - another showstopper. These photos are also from Hampton Court last year.
The lemon thyme smells incredible. I bumped into a friend on the train home and got him to smell these amazing herbs.
Finally, I was there for the plant sale before the show finished, when you can buy some of the plants that have been used in displays. I got a Primula auricula from the Silver Gilt medal-winning display by Cath's Garden Plants. I think this is Gold Lace.