On Saturday 9th May 2015, following a day of atrocious weather, 30 members of the Society enjoyed a visit to Dibleys Nurseries near Ruthin.
The day itself had started off wet again but was promised to clear after lunch. We set off from Station Road, Rossett in a 35 seater coach as we had been informed that the access to the Nurseries was too tight for a full size coach. After an uneventful journey we arrived at what can only be described as a track winding its way up the hillside, with a sign telling us the Nurseries were two and a half miles further on. At one point the hedgerow was brushing both sides of the coach and everyone was instructed to breath in. We all agreed when the coach driver said it was the longest two and a half miles he had ever driven.
On arrival at the Nurseries we were greeted by the owner, Mr Rex Dibley. He explained that we would have a tour of the gardens, followed by a visit to the Greenhouses, after which we would be given our eagerly awaited Streptocarpus to grow-on for the August Show.
The weather remained fine but overcast and the ground was wet and, in places, muddy under foot as we were escorted round the extensive gardens by Rex. He explained that all the trees and plants in the garden had been planted by himself during the past 25 years as the land had previously been a sheep farm. There were magnificent examples of various Birch, Maple, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Camellias and many more. There is even a Giant Redwood that he planted as a legacy. (It would be interesting to go back in a couple of hundred years to see how it has grown.)
It was then on to the main Greenhouse where we were greeted by the magnificent sight of 40,000 Streptocarpus of every colour and hue you could imagine. The Main Greenhouse is one of over 4,000 square metres of glasshouses heated by two newly installed Biomass systems. It is fully automated with all watering, ventilation and shading controlled by computer.
We were then very privileged to be given a sneak preview of one of the flowers being prepared for the Chelsea Flower Show next week. It is called Purple Polka Dot and is a brand new Streptocarpus bred specially for the Show. One look at these exhibits and you can see how Dibleys managed to take the Gold Medal every year for the past 25 years.
We then returned to the Reception/Shop where we were each presented with a Streptocarpus plug plant, appropriately named Charlotte, to grow on for the August Show and Members were able to browse and purchase a variety of plants. We could even buy a plug plant for the new Purple Polka Dot but no amount of pleading would persuade them to sell a fully grown plant until after this year's Chelsea.
It was then back on the coach and return to Rossett.
If this was an example of the standard of plants on show at Chelsea I cannot wait for the Society's trip to Chelsea, booked for 2016. There are still free places available.
Our next trip, to Eaton Hall in July, is now fully booked... sorry!
If you want to see how these Charlottes are growing come and see them at our Main Show on 29th August 2015.