Blackmore & Langdon’s nursery is located at
Pensford, near Chew Magna, just outside of Bristol, travelling towards
the Mendips. The firm was established in 1901 and they are, probably,
the world’s leading specialists in named Tuberous Double begonias. They
have made many introductions over the year which are most sought after.
Just look through the NBS
Register of Varieties and see how many are attributed to B&L.
Jim Blackmore and Charles Langdon were the firm’s original founders and
the business is still, to this day, in family ownership. B&L have
always supported the aims of the NBS and until recently John Langdon was
a judge and ex President of our Society, standing down in 2000.
While John and Rosemary, his wife, are taking more of a back seat these
days the new generations of Langdon’s, Stephen, Nick and Simon are
carrying on the tradition, along side dedicated staff, one of whom is
John Smith, who had a begonia named after him last year.
The Annual Sale weekend took place between the 11th and 13th
May this year. Besides the opportunity to pick up some choice plants at
choice prices, you can view the begonias and also delphiniums that will
in 10 days time be gracing the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and no doubt
picking up more medals.
I visited on the Friday and though I was
“under orders” not to buy any more begonias how could I resist? I spoke
to at least 6 NBS members who I recognised, some of whom had travelled
quite some distance. Taking numerous pictures of the event and the
crowds that gather I had a look at what was on the camera when I arrived
home. . Nothing. Completely blank. Possibly dropping the camera
before setting off didn’t help! However, all seemed well with a change
of batteries. However, not worth doing a report without pictures.
Exactly one week later I journeyed out and made a detour through Pensford.
Would the flowers still be available or had they gone on their way? The
answer was “yes” (just) and “no”. The begonias were loaded on the truck
ready to go off to Chelsea any time. The delphiniums, which provide the
backdrop to the B&L display, had gone up to London the previous day.
It made for some rather unusual, and at the same time, I hope interesting
shots. One bonus was that B&L’s new introduction of a ground white
picotee, Mia, which was not on show on the previous visit, was on
display, just coming into flower. This is sure to be most sought after
and is available from Spring next year.
It is always pleasure to visit B&L and chat to John and Rosemary and the
“boys” and share their enthusiasm, gain knowledge and advice they have
for all their plants, especially the begonias. By
the way, anyone visiting B&L, and is not a NBS member can now pick up an
application form from the display table.
Text & pictures by Basil Billinger