Saturday, April 28, 2012

Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2012 (part two)

The Oriental Lily's were beautifully coloured,and the scent filled the flower hall.I love the infinite variety of the colours.
A Chinese Wisteria Tree growing in the Bonsai section.I am always amazed how these Trees can be grown so small yet look like a full sized tree.I have never been able to keep them alive,so its good to look at brilliant specimens.

One of my favourite displays was this small scale version of Keukenhof.The famous Dutch city where millions of Tulips bloom every year.The colours they bring to the garden give them an energy and light.
Some Dutch Iris growing away at the front of the display.I have a weakness for Iris,big and small.I am trying to grow some this year.
Tulip Eye Candy..
There were two specialist Orchid Nurseries at the show.I always love the Lady Slipper Orchids.they are sort of H.R.Geiger art work inspired,but very beautiful too.I can see why people start to covet Orchids.
I worry if I bought one of these from the show that I would Kill it once it got home.Its better to admire perfect plants rather than kill one with kindness at home.
The Sweet Peas smelt delicious.I have some growing in the greenhouse but they are only just germinating.These were perfect flowers and perfumed the air.How do they make them all flower at the same time?
Even the humble Pansy was on display in vibrant new colours and patterns.
The fabulous Himalayan Blue Poppies were blooming again.These Meconopsis are notoriously hard to grow yet the nursery can make them bloom for the show.RHS Harlow Carr was trialling these plants to see which grows best in Yorkshire.
A rare glimpse of me in front of the camera.Cat took it next to my favourite flower hall display of the Dutch Tulips in the flower hall 1.
This is a Scylla Peruvian.It is the maddest looking plant with a purple pine cone,and pale blue flowers.I love seeing plants that I have never seen before.
I had to take a photo of the display of one of my favourite Nurseries.They are called Dark star plants and they love growing plants that are dark coloured or have black flowers.I think the darker plants are great when grown together.The opposite of candy coloured flowers and rainbows.It was good to see them back.
In Flower Hall two next to the Kitchen Garden section there were these Heirloom Tomato Varieties.they even had fruit sat besides the respective plants.I have a fondness for growing Tomatoes every year and these had old and unusual varieties from all around the world.The Humble Tomato has been cultivated every where.It is easy to grow,and tastes fabulous.People must have crossed plants to come up with the amazing variety I saw here.
This Tomato was called Frankenstein Black and had a little Boris Karloff model to set it off.Humour and Tomatoes.
There were Aquilegias in bloom too.I love these delicate pink and white flowers with their pink spurs.My Aquilegias are just leaves at the moment.
Another crazy plant was growing in the nursery hat had won the Best In Show for its woodland display collection.It was like the forest floor had grown up through the concrete and boards of the hall floor.This looked like a black arum lily with a bright white light bulb!
The cup they won was enormous.I wander if they get to keep it or get a replica to take home with them?
Outside the flower halls the Sculpture of this Toucan took my eye.He was beautiful but very expensive.
Away from the flower halls,show gardens,and outdoor sundries there was floral art on display.I loved the bright colours of this representation of the Berlin wall,done by the Askham Bryant florists students.The peace word is made up of individual plants.
A church in Harrogate had this display done entitled from Darkness to Light following the restoration of the Church.I love the colour changes along the S shape,and the displays above it.The photos behind illustrate the story.
This was one of my favourite Floristry pieces.It was enclosed in a black box.It reminded me of a still life by Rembrandt with the different colours and textures.There were loads of artistic pieces done by professional florists,enthusiasts and students in different sections and titles.

The last photo shows some of the Tulips in the Tulip and Daffodil competition.Cat was tired out by then so we left the rainy showground.It had been a great day.
  There was the usual plant Specialist groups,Ripon Bee Keepers, Made In Yorkshire food section,Arts and Crafts,A cookery Theatre with demonstrations,A kitchen garden section,a garden roadshow Q & A's,Have a Go,and Gardening with Nature.It is open until tomorrow..

Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2012 (part one)

We went to the Spring Flower Show when it opened on Thursday.It was a case of ducking under cover between frequent showers.Gardeners are a hardy bunch so the crowds were there to celebrate the new growing season.The band was playing under cover by the blue gate.They have been there every year we have gone with their New Orleans style jazz music.Bring me sunshine...
The sun did shine through occasionally but we did end up getting wet.I wore my big black coat and a Yorkshire flat cap to stop me getting too wet.
A new feature at this years show was eight outdoor show gardens designed by garden designers,companies and students.They must have had a nightmare trying to construct them because the ground was boggy.Hence the bark chippings on the right hand side.This is Contemporary Heart by PWP Landscapes.

This one was for the Team GB Olympic team.A diver is plunging into a pool of flowers with the crowds cheering from the stands.
This was the Askham Bryam college entry simply called Shhhh.I love the curves of the wood and bricks,and neat planting.There is a lovely Corylus Avellana Contorta tree to the left.They had a copper version of the tree as a fountain dripping water.They recycled materials from previous gardens and the bench was from the potting shed.
The Dicentra looked lovely with Forget Me Nots growing underneath them.This garden won a gold Medal.We have Cats Dicentra growing in the sunken border.This is the time of the year that they flower.They were in a lot of the Nursery displays in the two flower halls two.A welcome reminder of Spring.
This garden had a White flowers growing under a Sambucas Nigra.I loved the contrast of the black and white.This had some Silver Birch Trees in the corner.It was called Practical Tranquility by New Leaf Landscapes and Keith Ledger.It won a Premier Gold Award.
I want one of these water features.The copper cups overflow and pour down to the next layer.The black rocks and slate catch the water and recycle it back up to the top.The show is good for giving you ideas for new plants,planting combinations,or new sundries to buy for the garden.
This garden called Glass And Grass by Sally Tierney, had a square pool with Marsh Marigolds growing next to a broken glass sphere that water cascaded from.The Magnolia was just about opening its pink flower buds.Each of the gardens cost around a few thousand pounds.
I loved this Horticap Blue Peter garden.It cost a mere £650 to construct.It has recycled materials and various nods to Blue Peter.Pictures of the presents,instructions to make a pencil case with a washing up liquid bottle,a wire dog,and stamps.It is possible to do a show garden that helps illustrate the work of the Charity.Horticap helps train people with learning disabilities in horticultural skills,allied crafts, and rural skills.They are based in Harrogate at the Blue coat Wood Nursery.
These lovely bearded Iris were for sale in an outdoor stand.There was hundred of traders selling gardening stuff,food,drink,greenhouses,statues,ornaments,garden tools
There were two Flower Halls packed with over 100 Nurseries and Plant Growers from all over the country.There were frequent returners,but also new Nurseries that I have not seen before.They were all marked on their displays and some were awarded medals.
After a long wet winter these halls represent flowering nirvana.There were so many beautiful flowers,plants,and grasses growing exuberantly.You can feel your energy levels pick up,and the camera was clicking away.I took 180 photos and have tried to distill some of the show down.I loved these Fox Tail Lily's.
A favourite flower of mine is Astrantia (notice the top picture).These Astrantia were flowering beautifully.Ruby Astrantia.
Fernatrix were present too with their lush display of Ferns.It looked like a little prehistoric garden had landed in the flower hall.
I loved these Parrot Tulips.Pure white with the frilly edges.Flowering to perfection.
Anemone De Caen looked sumptuous with the lilac colour,freshly watered by the look of it.
Blocks of colour abounded in both halls.These Chrysanthenums were at the peak of their flowering beauty.
They even had managed to get Welsh Poppies to flower in a display.One Orange, and one Yellow.Their papery petals make them sing out.
A Rhododendron and Azalea sweet shop.I have not seen these display at the show before.Our Rhodie's are still tightly holding onto their flowers.The buds are asleep.How they made theres bloom is amazing.
Azalea Evergreen Surprise.What beautiful flowers!
These really are like the night sky just as the sun has gone down.The colour is electric blue.
I loved these Aliums and Amaryllis.They are a dutch company who specialise in those two plants.They had them stood upright in rectangular zinc containers.I love this display!
The last photo from part one is these lovely Hostas.They have been planted in containers like ours and along a small stone path.I was amazed at the number of different sizes.From massive Hostas down to miniature Hostas.We bought three small ones called Hosta Kitty Cat.I want to grow them in a container on the table by the backdoor so we can admire them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kitchen Garden Estate

The rain has made gardening impossible,so the next best thing is to read a book about it.I got a copy of Helene Gammacks book "Kitchen Garden Estate".It is published by the National Trust.
 She looks at traditional country garden estates and what they had growing to feed the household.She offers some advice for each section for the modern self sufficient gardener.
 I love the historic look at all manner of growing your own produce.From Vegetables,Wall Gardens,Herbs,Orchards and Fruit Trees,Fish Ponds,Bee Hives,Dovecotes,Home Dairy's,Deer Park,and Vineyards.
 It is very informative and sheds light where the obsession for grow your own came from.In Britain there is a long history of people growing their own produce.There are skills we can still use today in the garden.
  What I also enjoyed was there are lots of historic recipes to try out in each of the chapters.
If it is cold and wet where you are this book is an excellent and easy to read.

Rainy Day & Flower Show Eve

Its been a very wet few days.After the doom and gloom of the hosepipe ban down south it has poured down with rain heavily here in Yorkshire.My frog rain gauge says 6cm of rain have fallen so far over these last few days.The ground is getting sodden underfoot now.I have finished my nights and was hoping to get to the allotment over the next few days.The best layed plans of mice and men.The rain is going to fall heavily until Saturday.The Tulips look lovely glistening with raindrops.The rain makes everything in the garden look vibrant and alive.

This Pigeon has been feeding in the garden today.He has been finding the scraps of food left by the scruffy House Sparrows and Blackbirds.They spray bird seed all over like a custard gun from Bugsy Malone.                                                                                                                                                  
   It is the Spring Flower Show tomorrow at Harrogate.We will take spare clothes,an umbrella,and hat to keep the rain off.I hope the organisers have a gazebo for the Bourbon City Jazz band who usually greet all the visitors at the main entrance to stop them getting soaking wet.The Show is one of the highlights of the year and there are over 100 exhibitors in the two flower halls.                  
Gardeners are hardy types so I'm sure the Yorkshire showground will be packed and doing a good trade.The first Flower show of the year heralds the start of the growing can see sumptuous flower displays and buy lots of bulbs,plants,and sundries to take back a souvenir of your visit.We have bought jute bags over the past two years getting cash back as I have spent up buying things at the shows.I love the Harrogate Spring Flower Show.The Camera batteries will be charged and ready to take photos for the blog.