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I took will always look for abandoned or neglected plants. Some years ago my wife and a friend visited Heligan and came back with a stick of a plant. It was a very poorly Rhododendron which with nurturing has since become a beautiful bush, currently in bloom with soft pink flowers. We lost the label so emailed them a while back to be told is was quite a rare specimen and that we were lucky to have her.
Two week ago my non-gardening son told me to dug up a tall Rosa glauca from his childr friendly back garden. It's now doing well in ours.
I agree, admission prices are quite exorbitant & a deterrent in many cases.
One show that I could recommend and is fairly reasonably priced (£20 peak visiting times, for an adult) this is The Shrewsbury Flower Show...a really good family day out, with lots of attractions other than gardening exhibits.