Glorious 12th for Welshampton Plant Fair’s charity fundraisers

Kind-hearted villagers in North Shropshire are preparing for their own ‘Glorious 12th’ and no-one is ‘grousing’ about it!

Highly Perfumed Mixed Spencer
Highly Perfumed Mixed Spencer

The annual Welshampton Plant Fair will be held for the 12th time on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1 to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support in Shropshire and St Michael and All Angels Church, Welshampton.

Last year, the event raised £8,250, taking the total to more than £58,000 in 11 years, a fabulous effort by the village’s small team of growers and supporters.

The event opens at noon with an auction at 1.15pm of ‘Special Plants’, donated from National Collections and noted plantsmen in Shropshire and surrounding counties. Some of the plants on offer are so rare that they will not be found for sale elsewhere.

Examples this year include a beautiful bonsai maple tree, especially potted up by a private collector donor. Free auction catalogues with full descriptions will be handed at the gate and lots will be on display in the hall prior to the start of the auction. The catalogue will be available to view online at http://www.welshamptonplantfair.co.uk/ and at https://hallsgb.com/fine-art/ in the lead up to the auction.

Auctioneer will be James Forster of Halls’ fine art department in Shrewsbury, who also help to produce the catalogue, which will have special sweet peas on the front cover this year.

“A speciality of our event and always in high demand are our individually-potted and labelled sweet peas, grown by plantsman Mike Phillips, who we understand is one of only two individuals in the country to grow them to such a high standard of maturity,” said Gill Eleftheriou, plant fair co-ordinator.

“In past years, flowers from his plants have been shown by exhibitors at Wem Sweet Pea Festival and at Shrewsbury Flower Show. Seed is kindly donated by Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Eagles Sweet Peas of Stafford.

“Two special collections are being fast-tracked in even larger pots for the auction – the highly perfumed Spencer Mixed and Blue Carnival.

“Mike sowed 550 seeds back in October and the plants are now growing on nicely. Shortly, they will be transplanted into special grow tubes, so that they have additional root space and will be tied to a support cane three times by the time they reach 18 inches tall and ready to be moved outside to harden off. Tendrils are also removed, so you can appreciate why they are special!”

The fair team is promising a great selection of fabulous plants, all under cover in marquees, to tempt gardeners. This year, a new stall will be selling dainty, in-vogue alpines, which are particularly suitable for troughs and planters, scree rockeries and smaller gardens.

Accompanying stalls will be home-made cakes and preserves, delicious refreshments and gardeners’ items, while a grand draw has a selection of great prizes.

The fair is organised and run by a small team, with items and costs fully covered by donations or by sponsorship. The event is open to all but no dogs, apart from guide dogs, are allowed entry.