Hurrah. Hurrah. The first of this years Rare Plant Fairs was a local one for me – held at the The Bishops Palace Wells in glorious surroundings and in a part of the Cathedral I’d only visited for the Wells Festival of Literature . In the dark.  So I didn’t know what to expect! Why hadn’t I been before…

Surprisingly for me I didn’t take too many pictures of the stands – I was too busy looking at the plants!

Glorious hellebores did take my eye though. I have very few in the garden here in Somerset. I don’t know why really  – to be honest  there are some stunning plants out there.

These fritillaries  really did get my attention. A house close to ours had a spectacular display two years ago but they seem to have disappeared. These were such strong  large and beautiful plants that  I was tempted. But I resisted. For now anyway.

I did manage to buy plants.  No big surprise there then. After some huge indecision on my part – returns to stands more than twice I had decided on two roses –  some foxgloves – and  a monarda Jacob Cline I had been looking for. Added to that a selection of herbs – some strawberry mint – which I had never seen before  which will be good in pimms! I was tempted with so much more as  there was a great selection. But I had that voice ( Ian ) saying do you really need that. You can tell he’s not a Gardner. When did need enter into anything when plants or seeds are involved.

The admission price of the fair ( discounted by £1 for RHS members ( remembered my card for once) also included access into both the garden and into the Bishops Palace Itself.

At the fair end of the stalls stood a magnificant Magnolia which was stunning in its size and shape and flowers. Too big for my garden that’s for sure but pretty magnificant.

It was heartening to see such a busy fair and to run into a few familiar faces and put faces to  twitter handles – folk who I follow but haven’t met before.

The gardens and surroundings are stunning and very varied  – we only saw a fraction of it to be fair. ( no pun intended) There are 14 acres of gardens so it’s not surprising we didn’t get to see it all! But we will be back.

The community garden is an interesting space where volunteers can learn new skills. Looks a lot like allotments!

Euphorbia is stunning against the ruined walls in the East Garden – and looked magnificent. .  We had some stunners in our garden when we moved in but where have they gone now I asked myself.  ( reminder – you didn’t like them 20 years ago so you probably pulled them!)

The daffodils were out in force all around the gardens – except the formal garden – shame it’s not replicated in mine. I planted I don’t know how  many Pheasants eye last year but none have appeared. I know not why!  I know I was late planting and I don’t think I planted them upside down!

The banks of the moat were planted with colour and the famous swans were doing their bit for the tourists.  Introduced in 1870 they were taught to ring a bell for food which they still so today.  Somehow it won’t work for me at home.

The garden is interesting not just with plants. The buildings – the walls –  the remnants of the great hall – the history.

I shall certainly be back if only to see the Dahlias in the hotbeds. As you’d expect  in these surroundings the beds are planted with Bishops. Not your actual Bishops but those of the Dahlia varieties.

As well as the gardens we got to amble inside the BIshops Palace and the chapel. Well worth a visit.

What more could you ask for. A plant fair. Plants. A good walk around a lovely garden.

There are more Rare Plant fairs scheduled for the rest of the year – take a look at the schedule on Rare Plant Fairs – do go. You may buy a plant or two. Or three.

One thought on “The Bishops Palace Wells Rare Plant Fair 

  1. As one of the stall holders at The Bishops’s Palace I would like to thank you for writing about the fair. We all work so hard to put on a good show and it is good to receive such positive feedback. Angela ‘Butterfly Cottage Plants’


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