A Plantaholic’s Heaven

Holden Clough Nursery
Holden Clough Nursery

My favourite part of the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show was the floral marquee, but then I can say that about any of the shows as I am really a plantaholic at heart.  What I really liked about the floral marquee at Tatton was that many of the nurseries are from the North of the UK and aren’t nurseries I have come across before.

Hooksgreen Herbs
Hooksgreen Herbs

I really liked Hooksgreen Herbs display.  They were one of the more southerly nurseries I saw coming from Staffordshire, almost do-able from my home.  I particularly liked the way their display of herbs looked more like a normal garden border rather than a herb garden display.  I bought some chicory from them for its amazing blue flowers.

Mary Green - The Walled Garden
Mary Green - The Walled Garden

Mary Green’s nursery is my sort of nursery, lots of woodland/shade loving plants, sadly they don’t have a website.  They had been awarded a Gold (as had all the nurseries on this post I think).  It wasn’t their first gold at Tatton but the lady I spoke to, possibly Mary Green, was as pleased as if it had been their first.  I bought an interesting ground cover plant from them: Stephanandra Incisa ‘Crispa’ which they hadn’t shown at Tatton before but I think will have provided very popular.

Jacques Amand
Jacques Amand

In contrast where the bulb stands and the Jacques Amand display of Eremurus particularly stood out.  Sadly I don’t think these plants would like my soil but I might just give one a go on the bank which is fairly free draining.

Elizabeth MacGregor
Elizabeth MacGregor

My favourite display was Elizabeth MacGregor’s. She is based in Scotland and I understand doesn’t do any of the shows further south than Tatton.  I thought her planting combinations were stunning, she obviously has not only an eye for a good plant but also an understanding on how to combine colours and textures.  For the first time ever in visiting a show I actually bought a nursery’s catalogue and I shall be perusing this over the coming weeks.  I bought a Sanguisorba from her but also I was thrilled to get one of her new introductions – Anemone Black Swan.  This was released at the Chelsea flower show and because one of its parents is spring flowering and one autumn flower, this plant flowers from June to October.  I have to say the plant cost a little more than I normally spend at shows per plant but I think it was worth it.

So those are my highlights of the floral marquee.  I have only shown you a bare handful of the displays, there were 83 nurseries present.

 

 

National Flower Beds – RHS Tatton

Birmingham City Council - 'Birmingham's Iconic Mini'
Birmingham City Council - 'Birmingham's Iconic Mini'

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.

Harlech WI - ' Spirit of Harlech'
Harlech WI - ' Spirit of Harlech'

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.

Cheshire East Council - 'Queens Park - The Story Continues'
Cheshire East Council - 'Queens Park - The Story Continues'

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.

Parish of St Helier - 'A Celebration of the Jersey Royal Potato'
Parish of St Helier - 'A Celebration of the Jersey Royal Potato'

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.

Bournemouth Borough Council - A Novel Approach (one end)
Bournemouth Borough Council - A Novel Approach (one end)

 

Bournemouth Borough Council - A Novel Approach (the other end)
Bournemouth Borough Council - A Novel Approach (the other end)

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.