My Top Twelve Picks from the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show

  1. Award-winning fruit (and veggies)
Basket of cherries, gooseberries and currants
Andrew Baggaley’s first prize winning basket of cherries, gooseberries and currants

2. Bees for Manchester

3. The Young Designer Competition

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the competition, five finalists have been invited to create gardens rather than the usual three. This is always one of my favourite parts of RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.

Calm in Chaos Garden was designed by Max Harriman to be like a woodland trail

Garden packed with flowers, water feature and seating
At One garden by RHS Young Designer winner, Will Williams

4. Whimsy

Child's poster reading 'If you don't succseed try try a gin'
Detail in the Banksy-inspired school garden

5. Old favourites in the Plant Marquee…

6. … and some novelties

I don’t know if Viola ‘Heartthrob’ is a new release, but I can’t remember seeing it before this year’s shows. The character and spirit of the large daisy flower made me smile – as my sweetheart pointed out, it looked as if a child had drawn the blueprint for it (if you know me in real life, I hope you’ll be kind enough not to mention what this tangle reminds you of). Other plants that caught my fancy included heucheras, gladioli, achillea, and the very striking Rudbeckia ‘Summerina Orange’ which was lighting up several displays. I’ll be sharing pictures of these in future posts.

7. Poisonous Garden

Orchid bathed in an unearthly pink light
Florescent pink lighting adds atmosphere at the entrance to the poisonous garden

8. Stilt walkers (and musicians, and dancers)

Man and lady on stilts in flower and leaf costumes
Good humoured giant flower people, always happy to wave and pose for pictures

9. School gardens

If I had to choose just one must-see section of this year’s Tatton Park Flower Show, it would be the 20 school gardens. They are wonderful. Top curmudgeon points awarded to anyone who can visit any four of these without breaking out into a grin and without spotting an idea for their own garden.

10. Creatures (there are fancy hens, too, and a bee on pretty much every allium you’ll see)

Face of a goat with a harness
Butterfly on achillea flower
Gatekeeper butterfly, browsing the flowers like any other visitor

11. The Show Gardens (and Back to Back Gardens, and Cheshire Gardens of Distinction…)

Modern glass fronted building with tropical garden
Pip Probert’s Jungle Fever garden

12. Jubilation

I was admiring a really unusual flower spike when a gentleman on the nearby orchid stand caught my attention. He’d arrived with a companion and made a beeline for the place where the RHS awards are placed. His opening, rather defiant salvo ‘It had better be a silver gilt!’ no doubt reflected the amount of care that he’d lavished on the plants and in putting together the display for the show. The orchids did look good.

All was well. Soon he was declaring to all and sundry: ‘I can die now!… I can die! I can die!’. After 30 years of exhibiting at RHS shows, he’d finally won gold. For an exhibitor or designer, that small difference between silver gilt and gold really does matter. I left, smiling vicariously at his pleasure just as he was explaining ‘I always said I wanted to win gold before I die’.

The 2018 Tatton Park Flower Show is on until Sunday 22nd July 2018. Every paying adult can bring two children aged up to 16 free, helping to promote the RHS’s goal of getting more young people interested in gardening. For more information, check out the Royal Horticultural Society’s website.

31 Replies to “My Top Twelve Picks from the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show”

  1. That mouth-watering fruit has me determined to try harder next year with my blueberries, gooseberries and whitecurrants! Lovely images.

    1. They really do look perfect. We’re growing a few garden peas, that’s all, but I think virtually every pod full is eaten with its own happiness dance.

    1. It’s great to have the ability to pick and eat them when they are perfectly ripe too. I bought some plums that looked delicious yesterday, but they turned out to be overripe and mushy.

    1. I’m glad to have been able to bring you flowers! We’ve been looking at satellite pictures showing how England’s green and pleasant lands have turned brown due to this year’s hot summer – perhaps sepia would be a better description.

  2. You are making me want to move back to England, if only for the flower shows! These are wonderful photos; I love the story of the orchid gentleman–I can almost hear him. Gooseberries take me back. I haven’t seen (or eaten) them since I was a kid.

  3. What a show! Thank you for providing a condensed visit for us to get a sense of the amazing sights, and loving work that goes into it. Cheers!

    1. My pleasure. It’s one of my favourite shows. I feel conscious of how much I missed out writing this which is a sure sign of how much there is to see and do. There was even a row of diggers for hire so children (and grown ups) could play on them.

    1. I bet you’d have liked the school gardens as much as I did. They showed so much ingenuity and creativity and I love the children + art + gardening connection. Did you spot the ‘try a gin’ notice? I thought it was a mistake at first, but the creature seems to be in a bar and the red text is surely deliberate. That was one of several things that made me think I didn’t know as much about the artists featured as I would like to!

      1. Didn’t notice it. Goodness! I don’t think that would be allowed here.

  4. Although I don’t know you in real life, some of your past comments gave a context for your aside about the Leucanthemum, which, by the way, I covet, and I thank you for the laugh. I must second Murtagh’s Meadow: “so much wow!” The fruit is dazzling. Is that Summerina Orange what’s in the back to the right in the At One garden? That caught my eye and made me wonder what it was. Inspiring photos!

    1. I seem to remember that you suffer (and find entertainment) in much the same way. The At One garden flowers you spotted are heleniums, ‘Moerheim Beauty’ at a guess.

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