Rosemoor is the destination of choice for RHS spectacles
THOSE who swoon at the sight of top-quality rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias will soon get a double helping of these springtime aristocrats.
It is thanks to Rosemoor's reputation as a national show arena that the Royal Horticultural Society is heading west twice in a month this year.
At the weekend, the RHS National Early Camellia Show will fill the Rosemoor marquee for the first time.
Then, on April 20 and 21, it's the turn of the main National Rhododendron Show to adorn the trestle tables for the seventh successive year.
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At both shows many of the exhibitors will be the cream of growers from the South and South West.
The early camellia show will feature numerous exquisite displays of single cut blooms, many of them unusual varieties that are seldom seen on traditional gardening travels.
For years the two national shows were staged at the RHS headquarters at Vincent Square in central London. As the years passed and motoring became more taxing, the society looked far and wide for a fresh venue – and opted for the rural delights of Rosemoor for the main exhibition.
Now the early show is following suit after three years at RHS Wisley.
"People can no longer get to Vincent Square easily, parking is dreadful and the congestion charge puts people off," said local publicity officer and exhibitor Alun Edwards.
"The success of Rosemoor has encouraged the RHS to look outside London for other shows. The main show is well established at Rosemoor and South West exhibitors do themselves proud.
"The early show promises some spectacular colour. There will be some very swish and exotic-looking camellias on display."
Running concurrently with Saturday and Sunday's camellia extravaganza, the South West branch of the RHS's Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group will put on its own show of early rhodos and magnolias, so variety is guaranteed.
The following month the same club will throw an exhibition of magnolias and camellias, so all three floral families are highly profiled in the same marquee.
This year's influential acquisition gives Rosemoor two of the three shows dominated by the iconic trio.
The third – the late show – has moved from London to the RHS's northern centre at Harlow Carr in Yorkshire.
Although experienced aficionados tend to cream off the major honours, amateurs occasionally tear up the form book and bag a trophy or two.
Whatever the outcomes, Alun Edwards said of the imminent crowd-puller: "It's a great event for Rosemoor and the RHS."
Rosemoor events manager Diana Gilding: "We are absolutely delighted that the RHS has trusted us with the second show and we have proved by our track record that we can run these to a high standard.
"Because of the show timings we missed out on the early rhododendrons and magnolias. Now visitors have the chance to enjoy different varieties and colours."
On both dates, trade and advice stands will be hoping to be in demand and a superb range of plants ready to be snapped up by eager buyers.
Running alongside the main show will be an exhibition by North Devon Bonsai Society in the lecture hall.
Admission to the shows is free, with normal entry to the gardens. Show opening times are 11.30am to 4pm on both Saturdays and 10am to 4pm on the Sundays. For entry forms for the April show e-mail geor firstname.lastname@example.org