Auriculas have an old-fashioned quality: something about the green flowered and mealy grey flowered ones on display at this year’s N.A.P.S. show mades them seem as if any decent Renaissance poet ought to have written a verse or two in their honour. Continue reading
The Eutierria Show Garden (pronounced you tee air ia), designed by Neil Sutcliffe and built by Creative Roots, drew inspiration from the cliffs of the River Trent. It was part of the mindfulness category of mood-enhancing spaces at RHS Chatsworth that demonstrate how access to nature and our wellbeing are interlinked.
Shade tolerant plants supplied by Miles Nurseries channelled the margins of woodland, but with gardenesque touches. White anemone ‘Ruffled Swan’, bronze ajuga, claret astrantia, blue geranium and a froth of tiny, chartreuse yellow alchemilla mollis flowers provided pops of colour against a green, textural planting of fern, moss, hosta, tiarella and brunnera. Trees and shrubs added architecture.
Remember the days when the Town Hall was the place to go if you wanted ‘further particulars’ about an event? How life has changed since then! At this year’s Southport Flower Show, we had no horse leaping events, but we did have heritage animals, courtesy of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, including a pig that was more rare than a giant panda (and much the same size).
The cultivars may have changed over the last 90 years, but gladioli like those shown on the 1929 poster were on display in 2019, together with just about every August flowering plant you could hope for.
Amongst so many choice plants, this solitary, perfect, innocent-looking, pink Japanese anemone caught my eye. Continue reading
It’s just my personal taste, but while white flowers such as this double hollyhock entrance me, I’m rarely convinced by white borders. I take in the overall effect, think “Ooh! A classic white border. Perhaps it will be better at its peak?”, then move on.
This year’s Tatton Park Flower Show gave me an insight into what twist a white border might have that would truly inspire me: chalky pastels.
Imagine this recipe: take pure white flowers, sully the mix with flowers that have creamy, ivory or white backgrounds decorated with streaks or blotches of pink, peach, yellow, lavender and green, then add a good helping of pure, pale pastel flowers. Use colours as soft as you dare to create a dreamy effect – I’m thinking of Edinburgh rock colours.
Not a title I was expecting to write, but I had to share this snippet from one of the nurseries taking part in the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. This peacock was (metaphorically) strutting its stuff as part of the silver-gilt winning display of elatum delphiniums by Home Farm Plants of Covington. Continue reading
After writing my last post it occurred to me that I might have the chance to realise my long-held ambition and go to an auricula show. It was a timely thought: the N.A.P.S.’s Northern Section’s auricula show was held at Kingsway School in Cheadle on Saturday. Visitors were ‘warmly welcomed’ from 2 o’clock onwards, so I headed on down. Bargain hunters may like to note there was no admission fee and a whole table of cakes were being offered at the knockdown price of £1 per slice.
In the hall, people were peering at rows of circus plants with button shaped flowers in bright, bold colours decorated with rings, stripes, powder, and fancy edges.
If I was forced to name my favourite flower, there’s a good chance it might be the peony. I love to see the red fronds of the herbaceous type pushing through the soil back to back together in their unearthly fashion around this time of year, full of promise for the season to come. And when their blooms appear – well, could you blame me for deserting the rose in favour of these?
Primrose Hall, a fixture at all the best UK flower shows, are currently teasing a sketch of their proposed 2019 Chelsea Flower Show design online. Arrangements of blooms tower over a garden of peonies. In the background, a garland tumbles down towards flowers floating in a traditional clawfoot bath. That’s my kind of outdoor bathroom!
The pictures I’m sharing here were taken on their stands at last year’s RHS Chatsworth and Hampton Court Flower Shows.
I had thought that there must be more than one peony here but as Primrose Hall’s Alec White, who kindly agreed to identify the peonies, observed, “Note that the corals change colour quite a lot as they mature!”. Continue reading
The exquisite bud-within-a-flower form of this rose makes it a winner on the show bench. Labelled Rosa ‘Dr. John Dickman’, this flower only has a hint of the mauve colour I’ve seen in other pictures – perhaps that’s the effect of the light level in the marquee, or it may be that the flower will develop more pronounced mauve tones as it matures. It’s a miniflora rose, which means that the leaves and flowers are larger than a miniature rose but smaller than a floribunda. Continue reading
A 8ft meteor has fallen to earth, coming to rest in a garden. The impact has blackened the fencing, scorched vegetation and reduced trees and shrubs to charred branches.
The path is miraculously unscathed: not quite so old as the meteor, it has been made from a Caledonian boulder formed millions of years ago. Smaller boulders lie around, giving the floor added dimension and creating a lovely backdrop for the silhouettes of low growing plants and twisted embers of wood.
The dark planting scheme glows red hot in places: the chocolate-red cosmos and orange-red helenium firing up the green and pewter foliage, the burnt wood and the futuristic lilacs. This is the Elements Mystique Garden from RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018, but the setting would not be out of place in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Continue reading
These flowers are a small sneak peek of the wonders on show in the Floral Art Marquee at the Southport Flower Show, which is on now until Sunday 19th August, 2018. Watch this space for more snippets from the show. Continue reading
- Award-winning fruit (and veggies)
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.
Chris Myers and I were chuffed to bits by the turn of events at The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show last week. We both had good reason. After a slow start (the judges’ Silver Medal theoretically rated it worst in show), the garden he’d designed was validated by the popular vote, being named the one the public loved most. Me? I’d been rooting for it!
Naturalistic plantings were a theme of this year’s show, but his garden was a hymn in praise of wildflowers (or more of a folksong). I enjoyed lingering awhile, listening to the sighs of pleasure as people glimpsed Hay Time In The Dales for the first time and felt its emotional pull. I knew this garden would haunt me, and it already is.
I thought of it when our evening walk took us past a flower-rich hay meadow between Edgworth and the Wayoh Reservoir. Around its peak now, the wildflowers include buttercups, yellow rattle, meadow vetchling, red clover, wild blue lupins, and a blend of grasses. A public information sign beside the meadow explains this patch of land represents what is now one of the rarest habitats in the UK.
It all seems so normal, and that’s part of the problem. Continue reading
I’m joining in with The Propagator to share my six favourite plants from the ongoing UK flower show that runs until Sunday 10th June. It’s a good discipline to be just allowed six, but you should know there was a small battle for every one of these slots. I hope I’ll not be the only one this week to share pictures from Chatsworth, as I’d love to see other people’s highlights. Here goes:
- Digitalis ‘Foxlight Rose Ivory’
Looking this up online, the first search result is a data card for trade sellers, saying: ‘…bold novelty colors boost retail appeal and drive impulse sales’. I’m sure they will! I had thought this foxglove was part of the Illumination series, but was puzzled by the pointed lip, so was pleased to find I’d photographed the label. This doesn’t always happen, especially if I am over-excited to see the plant.
2. Polemonium ‘Northern Lights’
I’ve always had a soft spot for polemoniums. This cultivar has a radiance because the lighter centres of the flowers are displayed against lavender blue petal reverses. The yellowy-orange stamens help too.
3. Gaura ‘Rosy Jane’
I love gaura (butterfly bush), even though it does much better in my sweetheart’s Mississippi garden than it ever did in my own tiny Lancashire one. Continue reading
As we wound around Derbyshire’s beautiful but narrow Peak District roads towards our sneak preview of the Chatsworth Flower Show yesterday, knowing how limestone has shaped the environment, making the ground glitter in places, I thought of one of my favourite poems: W.H. Auden’s ‘In Praise Of Limestone’.
I love the poem’s conversational style, but its abrupt changes of tone and subject matter might not suit everyone. Just as we can only read a poem from within the landscape of our own mind, we can only ever experience a flower show from our own perspective. My idea of tasty flowers and planting schemes might not be yours.
This year’s Best in Show award, for example, went to an attractive display with a lot of interesting elements, including the characterful wooden arbour, bench and water feature. Continue reading