Its been a few days now since I went with Cat to the Birmingham NEC to see the BBC Gardeners World Live, and the Good Food Show. These were running side by side in the cavernous space of four halls. We had got up at five thirty am to catch a train to Birmingham New Street. A ten minute train ride from BNS brought us to Birmingham International. Home of the airport on one side, and the Exhibition Centre on the other. There were various fair ride attractions around the halls decorated with flowers. This Tea cup ride had an Alice in Wonderlands theme.
This ride had lights on, and was equally planted out. I think there was a Carousel one somewhere but we never saw it.
The entrance we used had these triangular displays planted. I never realised until the end of the day that these were related to plant stalls behind them. Everything had labels because it was for sale. I love Hostas almost as much as Cat.
This is 21st century floristry. The people who led the demonstrations guided people through the process complete with microphones and headsets. Two Cameras were pointed at the main table so they could be seen on screens. I loved the purple orchid decoration on the wall behind the tables. As we had coffee they layed out everything that people needed to make their own floral table display.
After a two hour journey these Danish Pastries and Coffee were a welcome pick me up. It gave me time to peruse the Show guide which was over a hundred pages long.
One of the main things for going to the GWL show was to see the Gardening Celebrities speaking live, and in some cases signing books. At ten am on Wednesday the guest speaker was Alan Titchmarsh, talking about weather proof gardens. He was as funny and warm in real life as he is on his talk show. The Ilkley Bard he was described as.. (Ilkley is where in Yorkshire he is from). I have watched him for years on Gardeners World on Fridays when he was the presenter, through to his teatime Chat show, and recently as the affable host of the BBC's coverage of the RHS Chelsea flower show. I have also read his columns in Gardeners World magazine. He is a true legend of gardening in the UK.
The majority of people paid three pounds to sit in this auditorium. I stood outside with Cat watching and listening. The other days (the show runs from 16th to 2oth June) there were other speakers. I wanted to see Monty Don but he was not there on the day we went.I will have to wait for another opportunity to see him speak. Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Toby Buckland, and Alys Fowler were all due to do talks throughout the show. BBC radio 4 did Gardeners Question Time from there also when we were there.
There were all manner of plant stalls at the NEC. This was a gorgeous Pink and White Peony for sale. Look how gorgeous the flower was.
The stalls were all very inventive about displaying their plants to best effect. These Lily's were extremely fragrant. I loved them.
Cheeky Monkey and me. This stall had an African flavour. I loved this Monkey which i posed next to.
There were groups of plant enthusiasts there. This was the Streptocarpus Societys little display plant by their counter.
The Birmingham Orchid society made this wonderful prehistoric display and won a gold medal for it. The RHS was at the show awarding its medals for displays and the show and border gardens.
The sunlight was streaming through the skylights illuminating the displays of plants and all the visitors. It was a stunningly hot day, but as the majority of the show was indoors we did not feel it. There is some enonrmous air conditioning inside the NEC on the cealing high above the floor.
The Gardening Organic stand had these lovely deep burgundy splotched Foxgloves growing. I got their leaflets, and a vegetable growing calender.
I loved this telephone box which was decorated with flowers. The Exhibition halls were full of these inventive displays. The red telephone box is a much loved British symbol.
The other stars of these shows for me is always the flowers. Beautifully grown and displayed to fully emphasise their charms. This Echinacea caught my eye with its pink petals and holographic cone like centre.
These Chrysanthenums look like flying saucers hovering over their leaves. The light of the hall cast them in a ethereal way.
The most popular flowers we saw were these lemon yellow Aquilegias. They had beautiful long spurs and delicate cup like petals. They were nodding at me all around the NEC in plastic bags.
The other show that was running was the BBC's good food show. The Master Chef experience let people buy an hours cooking under the guidance of professional Chefs. The compere was Andi Peters (from childrens Tv) who had everybody in fits of laughter. I hoped to see the presenters of Masterchef (Greg Wallace, and John Torode). They were not there on Wednesday. The invention test where the Chefs have to make a meal from random ingredients would be a draw later during the week. The kitchen was sponsored by Miele, and Bounty. It was free to sit and watch these shows.
One of the highlights for Cat was seeing James Martin from Saturday Kitchen. He cooks quick and easy food every saturday morning and has a layed back demenour. He was in the Sainsburies kitchen. He made three courses in thirty minutes. A crowd of people watched him on a TV screen.
The Food show had so many exhibitors selling everything from Wine to Knives to Cookers etc.
I bought some frozen Pina Colada mix from a New Zealand company. I ate some Whitby Scampi and then had a Buffalo Burger.I drank a Hot Chocolate with Chilli.
(This is part one of three posts...)