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Last Sunday, there were 90 potato varieties on offer at the Potato day in the Garden Museum in Lambeth. What choice!  Pennard Plants was the sole supplier, with a large stand bursting with potatoes, onions, garlic, fruit plants and seeds. The staff offered expert and friendly advice on all aspects of growing potatoes and indeed all the other plants and seeds sold at the show.

And at only 20p per single tuber you could choose as many different varieties as you wanted (depending on how much space you have to grow them in!)

According to reports, queues had formed before the doors were open, and when I arrived around lunchtime, there was a brisk, but orderly buzz around the large stand. Eight potato varieties had already sold out and Chris Smith from Pennard Plants said that it had been a successful day so far, with people buying larger quantities than in previous years. I plumped for a couple of Early varieties (as it’s so exciting to harvest your own potatoes in June), called Manon and Riviera and an Early Main cropper called Bleu D’Auvergne – a French Heirloom variety with purple blue skin. Never having grown these varieties before, I’m looking forward to finding out how they all look, cook and taste later in the year.
I was equally delighted to be able to buy some Rhubarb plants at the show: Champagne being one of the sweetest varieties, Brandy Carr Scarlett being a late season variety (cropping into September) and Raspberry Red, a very decorative, sweet tasting, heavy cropping mid-season variety. They all sounded great to me and are also really decorative in the garden-just wish I had more space to grow even more varieties! It’s worth remembering though that Rhubarb needs a year to settle in, developing a good root system, before you can start picking stems, so crowns planted this year will be ready for harvesting from next year. Pennard Plants are exhibiting and selling plants at many shows over the next few months, including the RHS Great Plant Fair in Victoria on March 29th and 30th and also back at the Garden Museum for a Rhubarb Celebration on 3rd April (with lots of Rhubarb themed tasty food too). You can also plan your purchases beforehand on the Pennard Plants website which list 15 different varieties of Rhubarb.
On my way out, I couldn’t resist buying a few postcards of ‘A lesson in pruning’ (above) taken around 1910 at the Horticultural College for Women in Studley Castle. I’m now thinking of  changing my gardening gear or at the very least, buying a new hat!
The Garden Museum (above) is a very peaceful venue, hosting garden talks and events all year and has its Spring Plant & Gardens Fair on Sunday 8 May, 10.30am – 5pm where the will be ’20 specialist nurseries selling a wide range of fascinating and unusual plants’. It’s in my diary already.

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