Wednesday, July 27, 2011
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.
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 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) – an interesting garden, which was thronging with visitors every time I walked past it.
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 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): 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I wish I had been able to do gardening at school. A chance to grow. Luckily, my parents encouraged me in the garden, and I remember growing candytuft in a small area – I still love that flower.
Nowadays, thanks to keen volunteers, teachers and the RHS, a lot of schools give children the chance to experience the excitement of growing something, and the excuse to get dirty. At RHS Tatton Show, schools from the North West are encouraged to design and build gardens.
It was great to see the schools front to front gardens at the show. The schoolchildren had to design and build gardens based on their interpretation of a country. Each school was given a country to interpret. The gardens showed real imagination and a sense of fun and humour – I spent an enjoyable time wandering round; the more you looked, the more little details you could see.
The gardens were great, but even better were the entrants for the Beautiful Butterflies and Busy Bees schools container competition. The schools were challenged to create a planted container with flowers to attract butterflies and bees. There were some wonderful bees. Thank you to all the children who put so much effort in to their entries – they really made me smile and I wanted to make some bees myself :-)