Tatton Park Flower Show - 2013

Once again I have had the pleasure of visiting the Tatton Park Flower show, something I have done now for many years, and as always the people who organise and those that take part in it put on another excellent show!

I should imagine it is a logistical nightmare to organise such an event each year, and to that end I take my hat off to all who played any part in putting the show on.

As in previous years the organisers tweak the layout to make it a bit different each year, and his year was no different.

However! I would have to say from a personal point of view, that a few of this years tweaks were not to my liking.

Perhaps I should drop a line to to the organisers in the form of feedback explaining my point of view.

Back to the show:

This year there were more Large Gardens than in previous years suggesting that even in these austere times some companies are making an effort to progress.

Conversely I think there were fewer Small Gardens and Flower bed gardens, suggesting that the people, particularly the Town and County Councils who are having to make cut backs, have chosen not to enter this year.

Those that did excelled as ever!

As I mentioned, there were lots of large gardens to see which in itself was good, but some were so large I found it quite difficult at times to get shots that would do the exhibits justice.

To overcome this problem, I have in many cases taken overlapping shots from various points around the perimeter of the garden so I hope this does not spoil your perspective of the garden/s.

This year I missed quite a few of the Small Gardens as I found out when I reconciled my photos with the Show Catalogue.

I think one of the reasons for this is that some of the Trade Stands are laid out in a fashion that they could in there own right be entered in the Small Garden competition.

Perhaps the organisers could alter the legend on the Site Map to differentiate the Small Gardens from the Trade Stands and help to eliminate this minor problem.

Perhaps that is something I could mention in my feedback to the organisers!

Now for the detail, but where do I start?

I think the easiest place is to more or less take the tour I did, with just a few variations.

For example if I visit a Large Garden I will show all of the Large Gardens in alphabetical order, and so on with the other categories.

As always,click on the photographs to enlarge or engage a slide show as the case may be.

RHS National Flower Bed Competition.

In this competition the competitors are allowed an area of 7 metres x 4 metres to construct a flower bed that represents a local story or landmark in their particular area.

Bath Time

by Partington Parish Council

This exhibit depicts a classic bath time scene complete with rubber ducks and bubbles.

Dock Park Regeneration

by Dumfries & Galloway Council

This exhibit represents the historic Dock Park which is undergoing regeneration including the restoration of the bandstand.

Passport Required

by Frinton in Bloom

This exhibit was sponsored by Primrose Hill Nurseries.

This exhibit represents the 19th century manned wooden level crossing that once formed the entrance to the town!

Pit Boy to Prime Minister

by Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

This exhibit represents a local resident Joseph Cook who emigrated to New South Wales in Australia.

Initially he worked in the coal mines before entering into politics, and eventually was elected to the position of Prime Minister of Australia in 1913.

The Canals of Birmingham

by Birmingham City Council

This exhibit represents the 100 + miles of canals that converge in the city centre!

These canals were the Lifeblood of Industry in Victorian times but are now mainly used by tourists!


The School Gardens

These are small back to back gardens created by children from schools in North West England, although most of them were relatively local.

The brief this year was for High Schools to have a Science Theme, and the Primary schools to have a Historical theme.

Click on image to engage slideshow.

Children's Container competition

This consisted of Primary schools constructing a container from recycled materials to depict the theme Summer Sea Side.

To add to the atmosphere in the area the organisers had constructed a few In theme exhibits as well.

The general public post a ballot paper to decide the winner!

Children's Interactive area

As the title suggests this is an area where young children can try their hand at planting and watering plants, along as taking away ideas for use in their own gardens back home!


Fruit and Vegetable Competitions

This area was split into two parts to allow both adults and children to compete!

Senior Fruit & Vegetable show

The Adults section was typical of an Open Fruit & Vegetable show with classes for both individual and collections of fruit and vegetables.

Whereas children representing their schools, competed in a Trug of Vegetables class of their own.

Trug of Vegetables


Large Gardens

A Day at the Seaside

This garden was constructed by the New Charter Dreamscheme where they attempt to recreate an old fashioned day out at the seaside.

The inspiration came to the students from a day trip to Lytham St Annes, from which they used planting colours and textures to represent the sea and sand.

Add to this the deck chair and The Punch and Judy booth and the effect was complete!

Sense of Place

This was a huge garden so I have taken the liberty of copying the artists impression of the garden to give some sort of scale to the pictures I took.

This garden was designed by Carolyn Hardern and she has tried to produce a garden for people suffering from Dementia.

After the show,the garden will be dismantled and re-erected at a home in Warrington that specialises in the care of patients with Dementia!

A Stainless Century

This exhibit represents the centenary of the Invention of Stainless Steel in Sheffield, and was awarded 'Best in Show'

The water rill represents the flow of molten steel flowing out of a crucible.

The Pergola represents an iconic building in the city.

After the show the garden will be re-erected in in the ground of a Retirement Home.

Breaking the Cycle

This garden was produced and designed by The Manchester College working in partnership with HM Prison Service and YOI Styal.

The garden is broken into four parts to depict the hope of the the prisoners To Break the Cycle and not Re-offend.

For example:

The Fruit is the fruits of their labour and the vegetables represent what can become of a more industrious life style!

The Stepping stones are the steps to the prisoners take to stop re-offending!

The broken fence and wasteland represents offenders laying waste to their lives.

Remember to Reflect

This garden was produced for the Alzheimer's Society as a place to to sit a reflect!

The Garden is built on a grid of overlapping squres to divide the garden into three distinct sections of water,paving and planting.

St Luke's Cheshire Hospice Silver Anniversary Garden

This garden like many others has been built to reflect the trials and tribulations of the patients.

The mixed grasses represents the confusion many patients suffer, and the steepness of the slopes depicts the climb people have often to make to improve their lot!

The planting of silver roses represent the organisations anniversary!


A place to sit and relax and soak up the colour and smell of the sumptious planting, or if the mood takes you why not have a dip in the splash pool?

Summer Fairytale

The inspiration for this garden comes from Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Dirty Stop Out's Garden

This garden for the family who want to make the most of their garden choose what the weather is!

There are areas for sunbathing or just sitting in the shade.

It also come complete with a Pizza oven, Barbecue and dining area for a bit of al fresco wining and dining!

The Home Guard-ener

This garden constructed by the students of Finchale College highlight gardening as it took place during World War 2

In fact the garden is based on the Ministry of Food guidelines in the late 1930's.

Among the features are the Anderson Air Raid shelter which invariably was covered in soil and used as a vegetable patch to supplement rationed foodstuffs.

Then of course there was the Outside Loo, Coal house and Dolly tub for the washing.

The Mypod Garden

A garden designed by students from Leeds University.

With land being so expensive these days, and gardens attached to modern houses being rather small this innovative structure has been built to form a chilling out space.

The pod has been built with modern materials including the use of LED lighting.

The outside of the structure has been overplanted in this case with moorland grasses and shrubs, but the owner may if they wish, turn this into a productive vegetable garden.

After the show this garden will be dismantled and erected in a Leeds Hospice!

This garden won The People's Choice award.

The Water Garden

The beauty of this garden is that although it is quite large in this setting, people can take elements from it, and fit into a garden that is somewhat smaller.

Through Nature

This garden has been inspired by the life of Beatrix Potter and in particular from Mr McGregors garden in Peter Rabbit.

The public are able to walk through the tunnel and emerge into potager garden.


Galaxy Gardens

These gardens are a new feature to the show this year and were inspired by the close proximity of the show ground to Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The brief for the gardeners was to design a garden themed on our own Galaxy.

Gravitational Pull

The inspiration for this garden comes from the gravitational pull around a Black Hole

The centre piece is a 1.8 metre (6ft) diameter cone formed of steel and recycled scaffold boards.

Life on Encladus

This garden has been inspired by recent information that Encladus (One of Saturn's Moons) could possibly be home to some life forms.

The central dome sat on a form of moonscape is based on Fuller's design of a geodesic dome that will contain a selection of edible plants.

The poles represent radio masts at the explorers base camp!

HH- (Mu-No Thing)

This garden has been inspired by Einstein's theories about the curvature of space / time and gravitational waves.

Plus the is said to be a reflection of the insignificance of mankind within our galaxy!

The Stargazer's Retreat

The inspiration for this garden comes a local astronomer and photographer who takes photographs of the stars from a shed in his back garden.

Watch This Space

(National School's Observatory)

This garden is an artistic impression of a rare event that is due to happen in our galaxy this year.

A huge cloud of dust and gas will encounter the super black hole at the centre of our galaxy and be ripped apart!

A telescope mounted on a viewing platform some distance away allows visitors a view of the design.


RHS Young Designer of the Year

The brief this year for the three selected candidates was: Eco Innovations.

Escape to the City

by Tony Woods (aged 27)

The design was quite bold with wood and stonework structures in combination with lush planting!

This garden was selected as the best of the three and earned its designer The Young Designer of the Year award.

GreEnCO Sense

By Christopher James (aged 28)

This garden was designed as a haven for insects, especially bees!

The garden was constructed from many recycled materials, with the pergola being formed from copper beams and the back wall from recycled bottles!

The Bees Garden

by Florian Degroise (aged 23)

This was a contemporary garden made from recycled materials such as timber pallets and reject scaffold boards.

The planting was selected to attract bees, as the title suggests!


Small Gardens

The Evolution of Jet

This garden depicts the Journey of Whitby Jet from its origins in the Jurassic period to a Gemstone of today.

Jet is formed from the fossilised wood of the Monkey Tree (Araucaria araucana)

Garden Gallery

The art work around the garden is made from recycled materials and is made to represent flora and fauna.

The pond and the waterfall was made from recycled glass.

The recycled bottles reflect light on to the planting scheme.

Precious Resources Garden

This garden was designed to produce a high impact average sized garden, using easily obtained modern materials at a moderate cost.

Railways End

This garden was designed to question Dr Beeching's reshaping of the railways!

The lines depict the lines lost and the hole represents the hole left in the railways infrastructure.

Sound Idea

This garden has been designed to give an area to relax and meditate with its use of sound and colourscapes.

The design also includes a wi-fi system for the modern person with their smart phones and tablets!

This garden was deemed to be The Best Small Garden.

The Edible Medley

This garden is designed to fetch together ornamental and edible plants!

This was done with blocks of edible vegetables and various grasses.

Add to this the sound of water and a stone paved area to sit in and you have a very versatile garden.

The Industious Force of Nature

This garden has been designed to replicate an old disused mill by building a wall from reclaimed bricks and adding the water wheel that once powered the mill.

Add to this a few shrubs and perennials and you have a heritage garden.


Great British Allotments

This was a new feature to the show this year where various schools and allotment association demonstrated various methods on How to Grow your Own.

It also showed the resourcefulness of the plot holders and growers in how they recycled materials.

There was a greenhouse made from Plastic bottles, compost heaps made from pallets, and raised beds made from various materials.

There was thrifty school kids growing dwarf french beans in old baked bean cans,( they start them young in this part of the country)

Accrington Allotment Association




Seed to Table and Back to Seed - Trafford Allotments Association






West Lancashire Allotments Association


Schools taking Learning Outside



Bee Garden -Wellacre Academy

Camberwell Park Specialist

Support School



Norris Bank Primary School



Millbrook Primary School



Millbrook Primary School



This is an area where 10 apprentice and / or trainee gardeners complete a section of garden that includes several gardening techniques e.g. two types of paving, decking, a bog garden and a perennial garden.

The competition is designed to test their knowledge and manual skills.

Finalists in this competition will go on to the UK National finals later in the year.

The garden was laid out in a long strip as seen in Pic - >>>

This area was then sub-divided into sections approx 1.5 m wide and extended to the back fence.

This created sections where each candidate could demonstrate their skill in each of the disciplines.

As the gardens were shared by two trainees I have taken the liberty to draw a vertical line on each photograph to define the areas of each candidate


National Plant Societies

This part of the show is where one should go if you want to see plants grown to the highest quality!

Similarly if you want information on what is often known as Hobby Plants you will generally find someone here to answer your question or give advice!


Cheshire Bonsai Society


Manchester Bonsai Society


Plant Heritage Society - Cheshire Group.


British Tomato Growers Association


British Bee Keepers Association


National Vegetable Society.


Trade Stands

It would not be a horticultural show without these people!

Many of the stands are decked out quite often equally as good as some of the Small Gardens seen around the show ground!

These are a few that caught my eye!


Finally just to finish, I thought I would show you a few feature items that were dotted around the show ground.

There were wrought iron Stags battling on a rocky precipice, and a Windmill.

There was also a Helter Skelter but I never got round to photographing it, or indeed having a 50p slide down it!

Then there were the excellent Seaside themed features.

....and that concludes my visit to Tatton Park Flower Show 2013

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the show as much as I enjoyed my live visit to it..... Tg

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