Friday, July 31, 2009

The Late Companian

The Nasturtiums I sowed have flowered at last. I grew them to be a companion plant to protect the Cabbages.
They have grown too late, and the Cabbages have been eaten by the White Butterfly caterpillars.
Today is the first dry day this week. It has rained for most of July. The third wettest in a row...
I need to tidy the garden, and continue digging the allotment.
The birds and butterflys are flying around the garden. The Gladiolus are forming flower spikes.
Geraniums, Verbenas, Snapdragons, Clivias, and the Crocosmia are all in bloom. There are splashes of colour around the garden.
I hope we have some sunshine soon for our two week holiday. Its been wet since Tatton.
I love the colours of the Nasturtiums and they are so easy to grow from seed...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

RHS Tatton Park 3

The RHS/ Ball-Colegrave bedding plant competition takes part at Tatton Park every year. Local authority's, communities, and colleges make floral displays with a story behind each one. They are arranged along the central axis of the show ground, where people can walk up and down admiring the amount of work put into constructing them, and the overall masses of colours. All the competitors use bedding plants from the sponsors catalogue...
This entry was from Lancaster city council called 23.. remembering 23 Chinese migrant workers died in 2004 as they picked Cockles in Morecombe Bay. Two bags of cockles sit on the right of the display.

This was Manchester City Councils Time For Change. Manchester is planning on becoming the greenest city in the UK. It showed the world, penguins, and piles of rubbish...

Sheffield City Council's display was called Sheffield, Forging the Future. The figure pours molten metal into the cast. The city is famous throughout the world for its steel (think cutlery).

This display was called Noah's Ark, and was from Cheshire West and Chester Borough council. Chester zoo is one of its most visited tourist attractions there. I love the wooden carved animals.

The Darlington Borough Council and Woodburn nursery entry was called Small Beginnings. The Woodburn Nursery opened in 1982 and now supplies councils around the country with quality bedding plants. The bed represents a tunnel of finished bedding plants awaiting transportation.

I love this giant honey bee, the entry from Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The Honey Bee has been in decline in the Uk, and it is well documented, this display was called The Plight Of The Honey Bee. I do like the blue flower, and the white Bee hive behind it.

My hometowns entry (Cheltenham Borough Council) was back at Tatton this year with A Big Shoplifter Caught. This display celebrates the act of pachyderm crime in 1934..

A Circus was parading through the town centre when three Elephants broke free. They went into a shop to steal potatoes. One went inside to feed, and the other got stuck in the doorway. They are banned to this day from the shop.

Dumfries And Galloway council's was called JM Barries Peter Pan. He wrote in the garden at Montbrae house in Dumfries. I love the Crocodile with his tongue hanging out ready to eat Captain Hook..

Mansfield District Councils entry was called Gold A Tribute To Mansfields Golden Duo. These were Rebecca Addlington, and Sam Hynd who herald from there. You can just about see Beijing 2008 in the photo above.

Stoke On Trent's City council entry was called Potteries To Patagonia. This remembers the ship HMS Swift that sank off Patagonia in 1770 laden with pottery from Stoke On Trent. It was discovered in 1982 with a lot of the pottery still intact. The display shows the ships hull on the sea bed with the pottery immersed in the sea floor sand. This won best Bedding plant display..

The Metropolitan Borough Of Bury's entry was called Who Was Brian Gamlin? The man who invented the numbers on the modern dartboard, mixing high numbers next to low numbers. I loved the giant darts and the dartboard in the background.

This was Partington Town Councils entry called Partington Past. There is a viking ship arriving on the river Mersey, and the rural farming area it used to be.

This colourful display was not part of the bedding plant competition. It was called Whole In One, a representation of a crazy golf course. It said that everybody has holiday memories of playing Crazy Golf and that they just added some flowers. The Ornamental Protected Association always come up with big displays at Tatton. I liked the windmill that turned.

The RHS ran another Schools competition this year called The Wonderful World Of Veg. Primary and Junior schools around Cheshire grew Vegetables from Seeds, and found some recycled containers to display them at Tatton. the public got to vote for their favourite Schools container. This was mine and cats favourite with the wellington boots used as pots on a dresser
I loved this Rabbit in a red jacket. The schools took photos of their pupils doing the gardening and laminated the pictures. They were on display near their entry's..

This was a recycled bathroom set, bath, toilet and sink used as plant holders. I think the Schools had to use something recycled for a container, for this years green theme.

I love the bicycle too festooned with plants. The idea behind the competition was too show children where vegetables come from. A seed company supplied them with the seeds for the pupils to start dabbling in growing. some of the plants were beautifully grown despite being left in the elements. Hand painted and hand made containers adorned all the displays.

I enjoyed this use of pop bottle tops to decorate plant pots. I have a weakness for Sunflowers too..

A groovy push cart with Salad leafs growing in it, and on the roof...

This tin man was made from recycled coke cans, cut into small bits and stapled together. The figures were like scarecrows, but just as inventive as the containers, and colouring.

I have scoured the RHS Tatton Park website to find which school won the competition. If anybody knows can they tell me, so I can blog it!

The last two photos are from the Schools gardens. Three local schools got to make gardens at the show. It was designed to show the children's creativity and interest in gardening.

This was our favourite garden with the plants and figures representing nursery rhymes. We stood for ages trying to work out where each rhyme was explained, like Little Bo Peep, Oranges and Lemons, Humpty Dumpty, and so on.
That concludes my snapshot of the 2009 RHS show at Tatton Park.I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I hope to be there next year again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

RHS Tatton Park 2

The second days posts of Tatton start with a show garden I forgot I photographed. The gardens were arranged around rows and avenues, and some were harder to find than others.This was the BBC Northwest Tonight garden called Edible Trends.

It was a mixture of Abstract art, some groovy metal structures that looked like Dandelion seed heads, perennials, and fruit and veg. Cabbages were planted amongst the perennials that flowed along the outside of the garden.

This was designed by the Reaseheath College Garden and landscape design students. I looked at it twice, and kept seeing new things at every visit. The circular outline of the garden meant it was very hard to photograph. The submitted plan in the brochure looks nothing like this. The plan was flat with swirling colours. The garden was three dimensional, but I liked this a lot.

A new type of garden was at this years show. It was called Visionary gardens. I have shown some photos of the strangeness of them. Its like abstract gardening, its okay if you get it. This first one is called Cubed3 by Alan Burns and Philip Dugdale.

The second visionary garden was called Glyndwrs Vision by Peter Styles for the Welsh College of Horticulture. The program guide says this is a structural work designed to be viewed from all angles. The content is all related to Wales.

The third Visionary garden is called Time And the Bell, a line from a poem by T.S.Elliot. It is a mixture of Bamboos and grasses in limited pallet of colours. I did not understand any of the visionary gardens. It was a new category for me to photograph at Tatton this year.

The back to back gardens were good this year at Tatton. They are smaller than the show gardens but packed with ideas, plants, and structures. They are the heart of the show. This first one is called A Shared Space by Graham Bodle. It shows a garden shared between two households.

This garden looks like it has been around for years. Its Tim Fowlers Forgotten But Not Overlooked. It shows how a neglected shady area can be planted. I liked the use of reclaimed and recycled material. The shed has a down pipe catching water in a barrel. It rained a lot when we were there too so it did not need topping up much. This won the gold medal and best back to back garden in show.

Another garden that used reclaimed materials (an old snooker table for example) was the Finchdale Training College a load of old rubbish. It had solar panels for wifi for the open air studying in the corner.

Finchale training college trains people with disabilities for full time employment. The blurb in the book says "As with discarded items in the garden, they reshape marginalised and overlooked individuals into valuable and fully functioning members of society".
I loved the black tiles that reflected the densely planted borders. I like lots of colours.The mirror at the end reflected all the people stood looking at the garden. It got a silver medal..

David Dixons garden was called A Place For Waste. He constructed it with off cut timbers, chippings, old wine bottles, and scrap metal. the wine bottles make decorative structures around the tree's. It has a seating area at the end of the garden. This won a gold medal.

This garden was designed by Hugh Thomas and was called The Dark Horse Venture Garden "Out The Back". It looks like the back of a terraced house, and shows what you can grow in tubs and up the wall. Everything in it was grown from seed this year, except the fruit tree's. It is beautifully planted with annual flowers, as well as the vegetables. This won a gold medal.

This is why they design, plan, and construct the gardens. The prestigious RHS gold medal.I loved how some designers left them on display. People debate why one garden gets a certain medal and the other one doesn't.I think they wait nervously on judging day for the judges to scrutinise their gardens before the awards are made.

I loved the warm colour of this garden, and the loose prairie type planting around the edges of it. Bernie Quinn's garden called Lose The Shoes. The shoes are left on the entry to the reflexology pathway with raised stones to walk on. The garden engages all five senses.

The bird of Paradise sculpture fits in with the fiery passionate colours. There is cascading water, and swaying Bamboos and grasses. Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme offer their scents. It is a thoughtful garden, and won a Silver medal.

The University of Chester's garden was called Let Knowledge Grow. It was a line from a Tennyson poem. This is a quiet garden for reflection and study.

I liked the leaded glass panels, which celebrated the 170 years that the institution has been around for. This panel shows the University being built. This garden will be recreated in the University's grounds as the Alumni garden.

This garden was called Down Under Jennys 1950's Backyard. The designer is an Australian lady who was a volunteer at Tatton Park (the Estate house). She submitted a design and got chosen to build it this year. It is a representation of her Dads house in Australia in the 1950s. A mixture of edible plants and flowers in red, white, and blue. There is a traditional Dunny too.I actually spoke to her and asked if she would do it again. She is returning to Australia this year, but with a Silver medal.
Christies were back again this year with a garden called Closer To Home, designed by Andrew Walker. Christies are a cancer centre that treats 40,000 patients a year. They are planning to open a new Radiotherapy centre in Oldham Hospital as at the moment all the patients travel to Manchester. This garden will be rebuilt in the new Oldham centre.

It is a very calming garden with the lilac coloured walls, still water, and clipped Topiary shapes. calming pastel flowers are dotted around the garden.

The last Back to Back Garden today is the Hermits Grotto-Inspiration For Imagination. That is a real man sat in the cave. It is based on the story of John Harris, who after he was rejected by a woman lived in the cave until he was 99 years old in the Tatton estate.
That is a selection of my favourite gardens. One more post tomorrow from Tatton. There was a feast for the eyes I thought. I hope you are enjoying my tour of the flower show...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 1

Last Sunday me and Cat went with the girls (Hils, Angela, and Julia) to the last big RHS flower show of the year at Tatton Park. It is the final hurrah to the summer, and the equivalent of the Chelsea of the North. All the other flower shows are southern based. This was my third year of visiting, and I love the wait for the rest of the year. Its like being allowed in a sweet shop once a year, and I have a very sweet tooth!There was masses of gardens (about sixty all told), hundreds of horticulture and sundry shops, the Country Life magazine pavilion, the enormous Floral Marquee, food courts, plant society's marquee, the florist's tent, and a band stand. All children got in free this year as well, the show was quite child friendly with schools gardens, and activities around the grounds like painting and making vegetable faces..

This post will be about some of the Show gardens. There were recurrent themes throughout all the gardens. Ecology and recycling seemed high up on the designers plans. The opening photo is of the Aughton Green landscapes/Big Pond Company. I love running water, and colourful planting. People stood and looked at the waterfall at the end.I would love a big garden with a big pond like this one..

The show was packed full of colour which will become apparent with the photos. Not green like Chelsea last year. The designers listened to peoples complaints and decided to use as many colours as possible. This one exhibits a wide pallet of colours softly planting the hard edges of the ponds.

The gardens once planted look like they have been around for years. Its amazing how the insects buzz into the gardens like this Bee. He was happy at the Lavender..

The Bridgemere nursery garden was designed by Roger Pierce, and Johnathon Tew. It has a mixture of Herbs, Herbaceous plants, Vegetables, and Fruit Trees. There was a table and chairs in the middle amongst the billowing plants of the borders.

I am a fan of mass planting and do not like bare soil. These guys packed the plants into this garden and it was spectacular..

This was one of my favourite show gardens called the Little Hen Rescue garden. It was a garden usable by people to relax, and for chickens to run about. I loved the planting of the oranges and purples along the edges of the garden. A water container was decorated with orange and yellow snooker balls..

The plants are all in raised beds to avoid the pecking attention of the Chickens. This reminded me of last years Ladies That Lunch garden. The plant sale at the end of the show went to the charity that rescues thousands of battery and barn Hens. The planting here was done to make it low maintenance. I want some chickens one day...

The show this year had a new class called young designer of the year. they chose two young designers under the age of 25, from many entrants and let them design, and build a show garden. Next years Tatton Park flower show will have three young designers exhibiting. This entry was called Revolution was by Andy Gibson and Paul Duffy.

The maddest part was the rounded decking in the centre had ropes attached to it. The two Bamboos were planted in this circle. The decking could be rotated around 360 degrees to move the shade where the sun is. I like the Chamomile bench that you can fragrantly lie on. I love this Echinaceas next to the Sambucus. These cone flowers were the flower that was in the most gardens on display.

The Thyme and Money for Cancer Research garden played on the name of the herb. It used its charity logo as the main design in the corner. The planting radiated out with soft planting along hard lines. there were a row of bay trees, and a grove of Olive Trees that ranged from young to 200 years old.

Mary Hoult designed it, and had a Mediterranean feel to it with the gravel and terracotta pots. It was full of carefully thought out symbolism. I just liked it, I do not think too hard about the inner meanings. I read the brochure to see what the designers were thinking about.

From the back corner you can see the herb planting, bay trees, and the Olive Trees that were planted from young to oldest..

I liked this garden called Revolution by Phillipa Probert. the Seating areas had these groovy yellow cubed cushions. The planting was done along the lemon yellow coloured planters, in various angles.

This was the second of the young designer garden by Lee Belgrau called Red Rhythm. It won a gold medal and him the title of Young Designer of the year. Its a garden of contrasts, and lovely planting. The Red Structures make it vertical, and there is a still water feature by the seating area. He wanted to attract Bee's into the garden with nectar rich plants.

July is the month for the Crocosmias, and he has planted them under the red pillars along with grasses, and Heucheras.

This garden was called That Awkward Corner by Clive Scott. It was sponsored by the Pathology network. A lot of the plants used have used now in medicine such as Willow for Aspirin, and Foxgloves for Digoxin. This was a garden designed for a shady corner. Strangely for this years show it had no hard surfaces, so the rain water would go down to the water table.

This garden was called the Fibonacci Numbers In Nature. Stephen Dennis designed a minimalistic garden based on the numbers. The curves of Snail shells, the whorls of Daisy's and sunflowers all follow the Fibonacci numbers. The metal structure was supposed to be like the Birds nest stadium in Beijing.

This was called Strictly Come Gardening. It was full of curves, and metal figurines dancing. A play on the dancing show here..

This is a very unusual fountain, fed by metal channels that curved around the gardens paths..

The dancing figurines spin around the mass planting. Grasses, and soft pastel flowers underneath them..

I love the Lavenders and Agapanthus. The planting follows the light blue walls around the garden. From every angle it is curves..

A sunken Seating area is just below the fountain, surrounded by masses of flowers. You'd disappear under the flowers invisible from the ground above.

The last photo today is from the Lake District Bluebird garden. The dry stone wall is in a figure eight loop. This was based on the infinity symbol planted on the side of the boats attempting the water speed record. The Bluebird K7 was sat nearby, the last boat that Donald Campbell attempted in the 1960's.
I still need to blog about the Back To Back gardens, school gardens, visionary gardens, and the bedding plant displays.
More from Tatton tomorrow