National Flower Beds – RHS Tatton
One of the reasons I have wanted to go to RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for a number of years is a desire to see the municipal bedding displays. Not that I am a huge fan of these sort of horticulture but I have a perverse curiosity to see them in real life.
I think this sort of planting is peculiar to the UK, but I’m happy to stand corrected. For my overseas readers a quick explanation. Municipal bedding stems from Victorian times when the councils and local authorities would create amazing displays from annual bedding plants. This form of horticultural display is still practiced by local authorities and in large public gardens.
The displays generally reflect something about the area from which they come. So Birmingham has created a display around the Mini car which was produced in Birmingham until October 2000. Though I do wonder about the sanity of the person who first came up with the idea of covering a car with bedding! St Helier have celebrated the Jersey Royal Potato by creating a steep potato field along with farmer all out of bedding. I quite liked Harlech’s steam train, though maybe some steam or smoke would have finished it off and gained a few more points.
I was really impressed at the work that must go into these displays. There is the planning, working out how many plants will be required and growing them on. I think a lots of the bedding is planted in advance in trays so the roots mesh together. It must take a lot of dedication and I am sure the creators take a lot of pride in their work.
The winner of Best Exhibit in the National Flower Bed Competition was the one from Bournemouth Borough Council (above). The bed sets out to demonstrate the contrasting literature, art and architecture of Bournemouth’s Victorian era. As you can see it was very well executed.
I can’t get excited about this sort of planting but I do admire the workmanship and skill that is involved in creating them.