Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tatton Show Gardens - from the sublime to the ridiculous

A trip to Tatton Show in Cheshire and a chance to have a look at the show gardens. I’ve never been to Chelsea or Hampton Court, so cannot compare standards, but this year, I felt there were some really good gardens at the show, and some great planting combinations.

 Inside Out (Gold) Inside Out (Gold) Inside Out (Gold) – very well done, but a bit too ‘lifestyle’ for me. I can’t help but wonder how the kitchen would look after a cold, damp North West winter.

Shine Garden (Silver-Gilt) I have seen some much better photos of the Cancer Research UK (silver gilt) garden. It was designed to represent a night-time charity walk through Manchester (Shine Manchester). I found it dark and unsettling.

Save a life, drop the knife (gold)Save a life, drop the knife (gold) Save a life, drop the knife (gold)

   Save a Life, drop the knife (gold and best show garden). There can’t be many show gardens featuring perspex-encased knives and grafittied hoodies. This garden demonstrated how you can move away from the bleakness of knife crime towards a lighter, easier life. It was very well planted. I loved the texture of the pine and sedum on the harmonious side of the garden.

When the waters rise (gold)When the waters rise (gold)When the waters rise (gold)

When the waters rise (Gold) – an interesting garden, which was thronging with visitors every time I walked past it.

Serenity (silver) Serenity (silver)

Serenity (silver) – certainly not a challenging garden but elicited a lot of favourable comments when I was stood there. I think a lot of people could imagine it in their own garden.

The water garden (silver) Another garden which didn’t really grab my attention – very well done, but not anything new – The Water Garden (silver)


 The secret garden (silver)The secret garden (silver)The secret garden (silver) 

The Secret Garden (silver) – beautifully planted, with lots of little details which demanded you to look, and then look again. The paths took me back to my grandfather’s garden. Tiny plants grew in cracks in the edging. The brick wall set off the blue of the delphiniums.

Perspective (silver)

Perspective (silver): nicely built, but the idea of the descending log walls, and the path decreasing in width to give an illusion of depth was rather spoilt by the obvious focal point at the rear of the garden – it made you look straight to the bottom. The wilder planting at the back of the garden was nice.

 Wild flowers of Inver (Silver)Great water feature in the Wild Flowers of Inver garden (silver). I quite liked the gently rolling grassy areas with crocosmias in  groups.

   Chocolate orange (silver) Chocolate orange (silver)

The Chocolate Orange garden (silver) didn’t grab me at all, I’m afraid. I quite liked the new take on the use of a ha-ha, but the planting did nothing for me – it felt rather unstructured, though certainly very eye-catching. And I’m a fan of orange flowers. I know that spotted laurels can have a useful place in the garden, but it just made me feel queasy here.

 Happy rabbit valley (bronze) Happy rabbit valley (bronze)

I suppose this garden was supposed to be fun, and perhaps I wasn’t the target audience. It was also trying to draw attention to the NSPCC which is a good thing, but… (Happy Rabbit Valley, bronze). I found it rather creepy, to be honest, and the sunflower in the second photo bows its head in embarrassment.

The schedule (gold) The schedule (gold) The schedule (gold)

The Schedule got a well-deserved gold medal. Lots of little details. It’s not often there is a muck-heap in a show garden. The bicycle leaning against the shed could have been taken at our allotment – it’s a dead-ringer for Henry’s bike and tartan basket. The veg and the flower beds were very impressive.

Paradise Isle 100 yesrs on (gold) Paradise Isle 100 yesrs on (gold)

Rather aptly, Tatton Park showed a garden (gold). It is based on the beautiful Japanese Garden in the park, which was completed in 1911 – 100 years ago. Very nicely done, showing that less, sometimes, is better.

Grasses with grace (gold) Grasses with grace (gold)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a photograph of the elegant focal point of this garden, without getting lots of people in the photo (Grasses with Grace (gold), with Grace being the focal point). However, just as beautiful was the planting, which merited close examination. I particularly loved the Echinacea (‘Green Envy’?) with the grasses acting as a veil.


easygardener said...

Show gardens are fascinating but I find there is a rollercoaster of emotions as I go around - Like/Dislike, Too Tasteful/Way over the top, Proper garden/That's never a garden, Relaxing/Too edgy..etc etc.
I then retire to the plant stalls to gather myself.

i doodle garden said...

I worked on the Secret Garden as part of my college course, and still can't believe we only got a silver!

Please look over my allotment pictures and see what you think!