Flora, not fauna, at the Royal Welsh
So far this week I've been finding out about the myriad mammals that form the core of the Royal Welsh, but I decide this morning to wander out to the far side of the site to check out the plant marquee. Hoping that my hayfever checks itself in at the door, I head in and, quite frankly, wow.
Wow because you don't know until you see them how much time and effort must go into these displays. Whether it's one of the crazy, pseudo-architectural sculptures of vividly-coloured flowers which burn my retinas, or the fantastic-looking vegetables, it's a sight to behold.
I am accosted upon entering by a lady keen for me to photograph her 'vertical garden'. This is an example of aesthetics meeting practicality: if you have trouble bending over, or your garden is tiny, her box system is pretty impressive:
Next up is a lady manning a great-looking collection of acers. Now I'm not green-fingered but I am keen to find out why the acer in my back garden appears to be dying. Not dead, she says, possibly self-preservation from wind. You really do learn something new every day here. It may now be reprieved from its planned trip to the tip.
Here are some cool cacti and succulents:
The displays of flowers designed to provide an arresting visual feast are amazing. Not to my taste, I have to admit, but hopefully this will give you an idea of the kind of thing these enthusiasts create:
My favourite bit, by far, is the vegetables. I freely admit to being a gourmand, and there's something special about seeing perfect specimens of the finest foodstuffs, carefully arranged. Curvaceous cauliflowers, tumescent tomatoes and perfect parsnips - a wonderful opportunity to be alliteratively idiotic.
Gold medal-winning cauliflowers
Tomatoes on display
A rack of gold medal-winning parsnips
Check out our gallery more pictures from day three, including more plant displays a little later.