But I'm not sulking. I'm sure it was lovely nosh and there were obviously lots of gorgeous lovelies to talk to, but it was fine here, in the cold and snow, shivering, lunchless and so very, very, very lonely.
I had hoped to scoop the announcements of the GMG awards, but by 5pm. They still hadn't been posted. But congratulations to whoever won anything, anyway. I'm sure the awards couldn't have gone to better, nicer, more deserving. . . well, you know the sort of thing.
I took my baby brother to Wisley last week, for a seminar on Plectranthus. Despite being an RHS member, he had not yet seen the glasshouse. I think he was pretty impressed.
We were addressed, in the lecture room, by the bubbly and aromatic Jekka, who described Plectranthus as culinary and medicinal herbs. And then taught the basic taxonomy of the genus by Diana Miller, a botanist for whom most plantspeople have massive respect and who was Keeper of the Herbarium, at the RHS, before she retired. Her monograph Pelargoniums - you can get a copy here - is worth every penny.
When Diana had spelled out the anatomy of this plant group, we all wandered over to the glasshouse to be talked and walked through the collection. I left wanting to know a lot more, and also wanting to build a newer, bigger greenhouse, so I could accomodate more varieties. My favourite, for the day, was Plectranthus saccatus 'Wisteria' which you'll find illustrated here , I hope
The plants are dotted about but most are assembled in the corridor which leads from the main glasshouse to the service area. This is a fascinating and varied plant group and has particular attraction for me for several reasons:
1. They're smelly, and not always in a nice way - rather like salvias, hemp nettle most and other members of the deadnettle tribe, Lamiaceae. I derive a perverse, and probably perverted pleasure from sniffing such plants.
2. The are easy to grow, but challenging at the same time. Cuttings will root as soon as you drop them onto soil, but getting the little blighters to flower before November takes guts, pruning skills and a lot of good luck.
3. They dangle gracefully - no one could resist a delicately attenuated fop of a plant like these.
4. They come from Africa, mainly southern Africa - all of which is beautiful, gorgeous, fascinating and must be visited. Repeatedly.
5. The leaf colours and flower colours are subtle, seductive and charming.
The Picture is a Japanese chrysanthemum, at Wisley, snapped on my iPhone - whose camera is pants, as I believe I may have said before - on our way to the Plectranthus. Some of these classic Japanese varieties are superb. This one looked like granny's knickers after they'd got ripped up in the spin dryer.
I'm listening to the paint drying in my proper office - we've had the decorators in - and writing this on my knees in a cupboard which is serving as my 'jury rig office.'
This day last year my friends and I organised a special showing of Casablanca to other friends, who, we felt, needed a little cinematic education. I'm not sure that they were that impressed, but any excuse to watch Hollywood's greatest film ever, ever, ever!
This weeks film was The Wild Bunch. I'm not a massive Pekinpah fan, but love this dark tale of clapped out bandits. One of William Holden's greatest roles, I suspect, and what wonderful teaming with Ernest Borgnine!
I'm thinking of turning the 'this week's film' slot into a semi-regular, brief hagiography – or, from time to time, whatever the obverse is, of that term – of a person or persons who worked in films, and who I admire. Might be a runner.
Hope you don't get dyspepsia from the GMG lunch!