George Forrest Memorial Medal Winners - 2003
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Mike and Christine Brown with their fabulous plant of Cyclamen parviflorum ssp. alpinum. alpinum at the Blackpool Show

Last year I admired this plant and wrote about in the Blackpool Show. This year it was even better and took the supreme award against incredibly tough opposition. There were several plants in the 'final' for the Forrest medal. Mike and Christine Brown's plant of Cyclamen parviflorum ssp. alpinum was in exceptional condition. Shiny dark green leaves sitting tightly, close to the ground and topped with hundreds of pale lilac flowers nuzzling onto the top of the foliage. You could almost imagine it in another, less pampered existence, keeping itself warm on a cold mountainside. Congratulations to Mike and Christine on taking the first Forrest of the year!

Cyril Lafong with his superb Pulsatilla vernalis, winner of the Forrest Medal at Edninbugh!

Footnote by Sandy Leven - I am about to share with you all a snippet of a conversation held in the foyer, after judging finished at the Edinburgh show. 'Cyril's Pulsatilla has won the Forrest Medal' 'Great! Is it as good as last time?' 'No! IT'S BETTER' And so it proved to be. Pulsatilla vernalis grown by Cyril Lafong had won the supreme award at the Edinburgh show for a second time. Last time was 2 years ago. Impossible to improve on perfection? Apparently not. No one recalled having seen a more magnificent plant of Pulsatilla vernalis. The flowers were huge and there were 'hunner's' of them. (I might have said 'thoosands' but that would have been a slight exaggeration). Well done, Cyril! Good choice, judges!

Susan Tyndall of Tympany Nurseries, Ballynahinch, County Down scooped the top award at the Hexham Show with her splendid dwarf shrub Epigaea repens.
The plant was exhibited overlapping a 10" pot [but Susan tells me it was recently repotted into an 8" in which it is growing and that this is plunged into the 10" pot]. This is the second time in 2 years that Susan's Epigaea repens has taken top honours. It won a Farrer in Dublin last year. An truly International winner! Epigaea is a member of the Ericaceae. You can see its relationship to Rhododendron in its leaves. It was covered with pale pink / edged with darker pink sweetly scented flowers, sitting above its hairy leaves. Its delicate perfume wafted along the show bench. No doubt the judges were drawn to the plant like swarm of bees! There is little doubt that the soft climate of Ulster suits this native of Eastern American woods. Thank you for coming over to Hexham , Susan and congratulations on snatching the AGS' supreme award from stiff competition.

Cyril Lafong's Orchis italica winner of the Forrest Medal at Stirling
The afternoon sun came through the west windows of the Albert Hall to light up Cyril's magnificent orchid. Its first hurdle was to beat Fred Hunt's 12" pan of Pleione confusa. Once it won its class it then had to beat the Best Primula [Edith Armistead's Pr. Aire Mist] and Cyril's own Douglasia idahoensis to win the medal. Orchis italica is widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean countries on all four shores of the sea. It is found in poor grassland over stony soils. It obviously like Glenrothes cultivation [Fife used to be on the equator, hence the coal-fields]. The winning pan was an incredible sight, especially as I noted above, when the sun lit it up. Nothing poor about this winner! The only dampness was to be found in Cyril's tears of joy. This is Cyril's eleventh Forrest medal. Search back through the pictures of Forrest medal winners and you will not find a happier winner than Cyril on Saturday.

Well, he's done it again! Three in a row for the SRGC Superstar!

The man with more winning pictures than the best supermodel has cover-shots, has triumphed at the Perth Show with this pan of Daphne petraea grandiflora. The Medal plant was in a class of four other D. petraea grandifloras, any one of which might have been a Medal winner at another show! Cyril - heck - you all know his surname by now :o)- is fond of Daphnes and showed several varieties at Perth, all to his usual standard. See the 2003 Perth Show report to see more.
Congratulations, Cyril, on your well-deserved success.

Head and Shoulders above the rest!
You could not miss this plant! Bob Meaden took top honours at Glasgow with his beautiful Glaucidium palmatum leucanthum, one of the world's top ten woodland plants. Native to Japan this cousin of paeonies and like them a member of the Ranunculaceae, is usually encountered in its lilac/purple form. Bob has grown it from a seedling in fewer years than I would have thought possible. In recent years Bob has been a steadfast supporter of the SRGC shows and his win today is well deserved. Who can look on such a plant as his and not fell just a little bit covetous. Congratulations again to Bob.

Cyril Does It Again
Question - How could he improve on the Silene hookeri bolanderi which previously won the Forrest Medal in Aberdeen?
Answer - Grow a bigger plant with more flowers!

Words fail me! You can see the quality of the plant. You can count the flowers. The flowers are pristine and there are still lots to come out yet. The only the thing you can't tell is how heavy it is. Luckily Cyril has just returned from holiday and is fit and well and well able to smile while holding up this fantastic prize winner. "2003 IS CYRILS YEAR" is the cry through the corridors of the SRGC. Well done again Cyril and thank you for your steadfast support of the SRGC shows. You have shown us what can be done. You have told us how to do it. How come you still do it better than we do?

Sandy Leven has done it again, winning the Forrest Medal at Elgin, with his magnificent plant of Cyclamen africanum, it is proving a very tough plant to beat at the Discussion Weekend Show, perhaps we will need to change the date in future!

Bob and Rannwig Wallis gave the judges a very difficult time at Ponteland because they had entered so many fabulous plants. I feel they must have been competing against themselves. The winning plant is a magnificent Cyclamen graecum ssp anatolicum.

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