I really loved the display by Edulis in the Growing Tastes marquee. It featured all sorts of unusual edible plants as well as some marvellous pod sculptures.
In the Plant Heritage marquee the display of milkweeds (Asclepias) was eye catching with its evocation of American desert habitat.
Warmenhoven can always be relied upon to put on a magnificent display of alliums, but unfortunately I don’t find their website at all user friendly. Downderry Lavenders were, as ever, downright gorgeous and Avon Bulbs was where I finally cracked and bought some plants – 3 Ornithogalum magnum – the tall white spires in the centre of the picture.
The plant discovery of the show was the fascinating range of Ginkos on the big plant nursery stand.
The Big Plant Nursery.
Fruit salad anyone ?
My least favourite style of planting is what I refer to as ‘fruit salad’ where plants are jumbled together with not enough structural planting and not enough green.
A garden for someone who doesn't like to garden?
I’m also pretty averse to the old-fashioned style of low maintenance garden where low-growing evergreens dominate. This garden will look pretty much the same every day of the year – boring.
Great Lego - not sure about the planting
The Lego Garden has had plenty of press, but entirely about the complexity of the Lego figures. I couldn’t have told you anything about the planting until I looked at my photos. The plants are very much the supporting cast.
Cold and soulless
This modern garden probably cost the most was a cold and soulless affair. I’m sure the WAGS will love it but I can’t imagine it appealing to many gardeners.
The Over-Active Bladder Garden - seriously!
I have to confess that I thought the ‘Matter of Urgency’ garden with the giant pink tap was about water conservation. My catalogue revealed that it was in fact about over-active bladders. Although I thought the tap was very clever, I’m not a great fan of Barbie pink and I’m sure that the gushing tap would have anyone with the condition rushing to find the nearest loo!
This is my very subjective review of some of the show gardens. I didn’t photograph them all – just those that I want to comment on. Southend on Sea departed from its traditional style gardens and created the ‘Playful Garden’. I’m not sure it worked all that well but I did think the planted cube with the perspex cylinder revealing the roots was a great idea – if difficult to photograph.
Combat Stress Garden
The high-backed bench offers a sense of safety
My personal favourite was the Combat Stress garden because it really addressed the issue of creating a beautiful place where the soldiers could feel safe while recovering from trauma.
A pigeon plunders the amelanchier in the Combat Stress Garden
I was also greatly entertained by the antics of the pigeon as it hung upside down to strip the berries from the garden’s Amelanchier tree.
The beehive sculpture in the Copella Garden
Striking log chairs
The Copella Bee Garden was beautifully planted with bee-friendly plants surrounding a striking sculpture with giant bees and chairs and a table I would love to have in my own garden.
Tyrell's Harvest Celebration
It was a case of ‘Crisps with Everything’ at the Tyrell’s Harvest Celebration garden with the journey from field to plate incorporated in the design. They certainly got my prize for the most original entertainment – musicians playing a selection of vegetable instruments!
The Vegetable Band
The Girl Guide garden was sumptuously planted with vegetables and flowers. It was a garden of two halves and I much preferred the end devoted to vegetables. I’ve never seen such healthy okra plants as those in the bed outside the greenhouse and the path lined with grasses and short and tall sunflowers worked really well.
Girl Guide Garden
These gardens are interpretations of aspects of the environment and biodiversity. There wasn’t much colour in evidence in any of these gardens but the two that caught my eye were the ‘Bangladeshi Allotment’ which looked like the real thing – uncontrived and somewhat messy – and ‘The end is where we start from’ with its giant acorn and germinating seed at the base of a young oak tree. I like things that play with scale.
Little oaks from mighty acorns ?