Country & Garden: Cuttings

News From The Gardeners' World
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The Independent Culture
HIPPEASTRUMS (WHICH I still call amaryllis) were wildly popular with our children when they were small. The flowers are vast, sometimes 10in across, held on massively thick stalks up to 3ft high. The bulbs are like footballs. The growth, for impatient gardeners, is satisfyingly rapid. I still love them, though I can't always get the bulbs to flower again after their gargantuan initial explosions.

Kew celebrates these tropical-looking beasts with a festival this month, lasting until 30 April. There is a big display of the flowers in the Princess of Wales conservatory and other examples to be found in the Temperate House and the Alpine House. The artist Sue Mason is showing paintings of the genus and Veronica Read, who holds the National Collection of hippeastrums will be lecturing about them at Kew on 7 and 20 April (2pm). The admission fee for the lecture is pounds 4. For further information about the festival, call Kew on 0181-332 5622.

THE CLEVELAND branch of the Alpine Garden Society is holding a show today (12pm-4.30pm) at the Ian Ramsey Church of England School, North Site, Green's Lane, Fairfield, Stockton-on-Tees. Primulas, cyclamen, fritillaries and other dwarf treasures will be on show. Meanwhile, the south-west section of the AGS is also holding its show today (12noon-4.15pm) at the Great Hall, Dartington Hall, Dartington, Devon. Look out for saxifrages, sempervivums, hardy ferns, baby narcissus and miniature gardens planted in containers scarcely bigger than a tea plate.