Tatton Park Horticultural Show 2014

Once again I have had the pleasure of visiting yet another RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park and as always it was brilliant, more so this year because of the weather.

The sun shon all day long and the temperatures must have reached somewhere around 21°to 25° C (70°-80°F).

The theme for this year's show was Carnival, and the exhibitors really went to town with the theme in terms of colour, which were further accentuated by the glorious sunshine!

The day I visited was Lady's Day where the prize for the best dressed lady was a £200 voucher to be spent at Te Sento Milano.

I did notice that one of the trade stands took advantage of this event and the sunshine, and did a roaring trade selling Parasols as an added accessory to these well dressed ladies.

A further attraction this year was a group of performers from Cabasa Performing Arts who formed a Carnival Parade at various times during the day.


The show was split into four zones entitled Grow, Escape, Inspire and Feast.

The theme for the Element gardens was Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.

The RHS Young Designer of the Year competition theme was avant-gardening, and the School back to back gardens gardens had to have a literature theme, and the container gardens a Carnival theme.

What I like about the Tatton Show is, it is designed to encourage young horticulturists, and local schools to participate in gardening related subjects.

As I see it, these young people are the gardeners of the future and hopefully they will go on to inspire future generations of gardeners, designers and exhibitors who in turn will hopefully keep the tradition of horticultural shows ongoing for future generations.

Just a few points about my blog

As mentioned above the show consisted of a number of zones each reflecting a particular horticultural connection.

To this end I plan on listing the exhibits roughly in alphabetical order rather than as listed in the catalogue.

Generally, clicking on the picture/s will either start a slide show or enlarge the picture.

Because some of the exhibits were quite large, and I did not have a wide angle lense, I often found that I had to take a number of pictures from different angles to do the exhibit/s justice.

This means that those exhibits in the blog with more than one view is not a preference on my part, it is the only way I felt I could get the full impact of the exhibit into the blog.


The Carnival Procession


Carnival Container Competition

Normally I love this area but I don't think the RHS did it justice this year as it was situated in a picnic area whereas in other years it was situated in a fenced off area.

This meant that I found it quite difficult to negotiate around the exhibits due to the many picnic tables and mats that were dotted around.

You will probably see what I mean when you look at the slide show.

Plus I am not sure if I saw all the exhibits, so my apologies to those children whos exhibit I may have missed.

Other than that I still liked what I saw and duly submitted my vote for best exhibit although it was a bit biased as my grandson had a vested interest in the show as he helped to build one of the containers, sadly his school did not win.

These were the results:

1st PrizeSt Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning, Merseyside.

2nd PrizeSandside Lodge School, Cumbria.

3rd Prize The Village Pre-school (Gorse Covert) Cheshire.


Cheshire Carnival of Distinction

This group was formed around ten years ago to promote the Cheshire area, and their exhibits were designed as tasters for the general public to visit the numerous gardens in the Cheshire area.


Adlington Hall


Arley Hall Gardens


Fryer's Roses


Bluebell Cottage Gardens.


Cholmondeley Gardens


Biddulph Grange Gardens


Norton Priory Gardens

The exhibit as a whole won the Best Show Feature category.


The Elements Gardens

De Musica Mundana

This garden is a contemporary interpretation of the four elements and is based on a plan by the 17th century cosmologist Robert Fludd called De Musica Mundane.

The design highlights the balance between the various element in our universe, upon which all forms of life depend.

This exhibit won a Silver Medal.


The lawn, planting beds, pool and hard landscaping have been designed using abstracted versions of the symbols of the four elements.

Earth is depicted by the planting, lawn and Biochar compost mulch.

Plants and a triangular sail shade move in the breeze, symbolising air

Flame-testured paving and charred larch cladding on the wall represent fire, along with planting reminiscent of flames in shades of red and yellow.

Water is featured in the triangular-shaped pool.

This exhibit won a Gold Medal

Elements Garden

The design is based on an upland garden, with a central feature wall made from local Kerndge stone that breaks down to form a waterfall.

The planting scheme has a fire theme on one side, with reds and yellows forming an intense colour palette.

On the opposite side of the central wall native wild flowers, grasses and mosses predominate.

The backdrop to the garden is formed by large sycamores and birch trees synonymous with the uplands.

The ribbons depict the wind passing through the garden and over the stone wall.

This garden won a Silver medal


Climate change can create extremes of weather resulting in wind damage, flooding and wildfire.

This garden depicts an area where wildfire has swept through a forest, destroying everything in its path.

Dead and blackened scorched trees stand like gravestones recalling the once-living Forest.

Beneath them the amazing power of nature is at work, and the charred landscape is beginning to recover

Rain has fallen on to the parched earth and the sun has shone through and warmed the ground.

The roots of the trees, protected from the fire by the earth that surrounds them, push up new growth, and dormant seeds that have lain on the forest floor for years have started to grow ...resulting in the forest is coming back to life.

This garden won a Silver Gilt

See the Wind

This garden has been inspired by the beauty of the wind blowing across a field of barley in summer.

The large blocks of planting at contrasting heights allows the eye to visualise the swirling of the wind.

The wind cloud sculpture provides a three-dimensional vision of the wind's activity.

This garden won a Gold and was declared as the 'Best Garden in the Elements section'.


The Fruit and Vegetable Competition

This competition was in one of the marquees and like I mentioned in my introduction I did not spend much time in here because of the heat.

I did however have a quick look at the produce on show and got the impression the quality of the vegetables was not up to the quality of past years but the fruit was very good with a much larger turnout than the vegetable classes.


Floral Art

The Floral Design Studio was situated in the aptly named Inspire section of the showground where two floral arrangement and floristry competitions took place.

The first consisted of displays from the Cheshire and North West Areas of NAFAS, professional florist and floristry colleges, the second was the second stage of a new floristry college competition where the theme was Carnival.

Five colleges competed for the chance to stage an exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015.

The first stage of the college competition was held at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show earlier this this year!

The Open competition.


Ferdure Floral Design Ltd


NAFS - North West


NAFAs - Cheshire


Reaseheath College

Inter College Competition


Bicton College of Agriculture


Neath & Port Talbot Group


Norton Rodstock College


Warwickshire College


The RHS National Flower Bed Competition

This competition showcases the talents of local authorities and communities from across the UK who choose their own theme for their flower bed.

This is usually inspired by a local event, an anniversary or some thing that is topical in their local news.

This year's competition also features new community designed mini beds on an area of 3m square.

There are special awards for the best flower bed and the best mini bed.


50 years of Britain in Bloom


W.I. in Bloom


A Bee's Journey


Ways to Grow


HMS Brittania


One Hundred Years On


350th anniversay of Jersey


The Bee Roads to Manchester


Between Tides


Ring of Bright Water


Lazy Days

The 350th Anniversary of Jersey was judged as Best National Flower bed exhibit.

Ways to grow was judged as Best Mini Garden.


Great British Allotments

This area consisted of a series of allotment plots created by local communities and groups.

Each plot has its own twist on the Grow your own theme.

As an allotment holder myself, I wasn’t overly impressed with this area because like the children’s Carnival Container competition there did not seem to be any connectivity between the plots as they were scattered over a large area.

I think if it had been laid out in a grid or similar to back to back gardens they would have looked better.

As it was each one was very similar mainly consisting of prefabricated plastic raised beds so I did not bother taking any pictures of these.

I took this one as it was a bit more traditional.


National Plant Societies Marquee

This is an area I like to visit but again because of the temperatures in the marquees I did not go in until towards the end of the day which meant I didn’t get to spend as much time as I usually do talking to the members of various societies.

There were only fifteen societies represented this year which was quite a low number compared to previous years.

Perhaps costs and the availability of volunteers to man the stands played a part in this.

Nevertheless those that did turn up put on a splendid display.


Cheshire Bonsai Society


Cheshire Group Display


School Gardens

The school gardens were designed by school children from Primary and High schools from around the North West of England, where they were required to produce a small literature themed garden.

Each school chose a different book to base their design on.

Once the book was chosen, it was read, and discussed by the children as part of their normal class work.

This included applying mathematics to determine the size of their layout, art to produce a schematic plan, science / biology to understand plants, and finally hands on tasks to construct their design.


Show Features

These consist of displays backed by local businesses and organisations to entertain and inform visitors, advertising if you like!

Around the World in a

Manchester Garden

Congleton Schools Celebrate

Congleton in Bloom

Summer Dreams by

Four Oaks Nurseries


Show Gardens

A Taste of Wythenshawe by Reaseheath College

This community garden incorporated an innovative and creative approach to growing edible plants, including hydroponics and sculptural features, to celebrate Real Food Wythenshawe.

Real Food Wythenshawe is a five year £ 1 million Big Lottery-funded community food campaign led by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, with a slogan of 'Grow it, Cook it, Eat it!'.

This exhibit won a Gold medal and was runner up in the People's Choice.

Safe from Harm

The NSPCC Garden

This garden has been designed to raise awareness of the NSPCC's 'Now I Know Appeal to fund the Child Line Schools Service', thus ensuring that specially trained volunteers will run workshops in every primary school throughout the UK by 2016.

The garden illustrates a child's journey from darkness to light

The joumey begins in a sad and sombre place, depicting a world without the NSPCC.

Dark foliage and muted tones dominate, and the child struggles alone with a problem.

Moving through the garden, the darkness is banished by the green of the NSPCC brand, and the child is helped to a place where they are safe and secure.

A beautiful sculpture proclaims the values of the NSPCC and colourful blooms symbolise happiness and safety.

This garden won a Silver Gilt and won the 'Peoples Choice' vote.

The Narrows

This long thin garden is typical of the average suburban garden.

The design shows that a garden of this shape does not necessarily need to be laid out with a large central lawn and flowers round the edges.

The garden has been split into three areas to allow members of the family to do their own thing or relax together as a group.

Features include an oak deck and partitions, a pergola, stainless steel sculptures and living wall planters.

This garden won a Gold medal.

Maggie's Forest Garden

This garden features layers of planting within a forest setting, creating a productive and sustainable environment that induces feelings of wellbeing and a sense of connection with nature.

Timber planters represent the fifteen Maggie's Centres across the UK. while swings and water bring calm and movement to the garden.

Many of the plants featured support welfare, either through medicinal use or by providing nutritious food, while also benefiting the forest environment: thus complementing the health and care ethos of Maggie's Centres.

This Garden won a Gold medal and The Best in Show award

The Water Garden

This garden was inspired by rivers, streams and ponds, and incorporates a water feature that consists of a waterfall falling into a shallow cascade, which winds its way into a pond.

The water features are surrounded by a mixture of plant material, and a path meanders over a bridge up to to a gazebo where one can sit, relax and enjoy the garden.

This garden won a Sliver medal.

Tatton Reflects

Each week during the First World War soldier gardeners as they were called were invited to write in to The Gardeners Chronicle.

The Chronicle was a local professional weekly paper.

In November 1918 a letter was received from Lieutenant Meggies, writing from the old German front line near Ypres.

He described wandering through the sites of former gardens and listed the plants that were beginning to recover after four years of war.

He also offered tips on how to improve the growth of these plants.

Inspired by the soldier's descriptions, this garden is a depiction of what he saw.

This garden won a Silver Gilt

A Stylish Garden

By HMP & YOI STYAL working in conjunction with the Manchester College Justice Sector.

This garden has a Victorian theme and was inspired by the National Trust's Styal Mill.

The key elements are two three-tier water features, a sundial and a curved Victorian seat, all set within formal bedding and herbaceous borders.

This garden won a Silver Gilt.


The design depicts the set of a fashion show, with a stencil-patterned feature wall created in London Stone, a stage and a catwalk-style walkway in chic paving that runs through the centre of the garden.

The planting scheme comprises six semi-mature trees under-planted with grasses and perennials.

The garden has been designed as a place for a professional couple to relax and unwind, and has minimal maintenance requirements.

It is a controlled space, somewhere to gather one's thoughts with the sound of tree canopies and grasses swaying in the breeze.

This garden won a Silver Gilt.


Summer Gardens

Digital Green

The Digital Green garden incorporates element from the digital world.

These include a wi-fi tree, a garden house that resembles a TV screen, vertical planting in a motherboard, and a water wall to highlight both the transparency of the internet and connection problems.

A metal grille is under-planted with blue plants, representing the way that the digital world can distance us from the real world.

The shades of the plants reference the colours of electrical wiring, and are planted in a specific pattern so that the colours blend well together.

The garden is linked with the digital world via a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a QR code.

This garden recieved a Bronze medal.

Industrial Transitions

This garden has been inspired by and celebrates Manchester's rich industrial heritage.

It demonstrates what can be achieved in a small urban space, using mainly reclaimed materials complemented by a contemporary design and a rich, textural planting palette.

Manchester's prominence during the Industrial Revolution and its modern transformation have influenced the garden's design.

The rill and pond represent the canals and docks that powered the city, and the rails and seating area reference its factories and tram lines.

This garden won a Gold Medal.

Making Sense

Making sense of what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste is an essential part of experiencing and exploring our world.

Most people develop sensory perception unconsciously, but having a learning or physical disability can affect the process of ordering and making sense of the world.

This primary school sensory garden has been designed to be both stimulating and relaxing for children with special needs.

The elements within the space provide a heightened experience of sight, smell, hearing, touch ond taste, giving children with special needs the sensory stimulation that helps them to develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally.

The wildflower area and blue planting bed with a lavender border create a calm place to oid relaxation.

This garden won a Silver Gilt.

Summer Breeze

The design of Summer Breeze is a contemporary take on a meadow.

The planting is structured and features grasses and perennials with a limited colour palette.

A hammock is slung across two aged oak posts in the centre of the garden, surrounded by toll grasses.

The grasses act as a thin veil, allowing views of the rest of the garden while giving a sense of enclosure.

Modern upright sleepers represent a birch copse.

This garden won a Silver Gilt.

The Forgotten Corner

This design features a sustainable vegetable plat to provide fresh vegetables for the household, and makes use of that awkward corner of the garden that is sometimes forgotten about or is an unused area tucked away behind a shed or garage.

The garden consists of a number of raised beds that fan out from the shed in the corner of the plot.

The inspiration for the design came from a partnership project that the designer has been working onwith the Salvation Army to create a community allotment site that will produce homegrown food and create a healthy lifestyle.

This garden won a Silver Medal.

The Threatened Islands of South East Asia

This garden's focal point is an abandoned South East Asian Buddhist temple that has been taken over by exotic-looking plants.

A small boat can be seen emerging from the dense vegetation on the river that flows to the temple.

The design reflects the voyage of discovery that visitors to the new £30 million Islands project at Chester Zoo will experience when the attraction opens in 2015.

They will learn about the threatened animals and plants of the Indonesian islands and how they can make a positive contribution to their long-term survival.

This garden won a Silver Medal


Trade Stands

As always the Trade stands have a comprehensive range of gardening products and accessories on sale at the Show, plus many of them present their wares in a form that is often equal in stature to the Show Gardens.

Each presentation is assessed, and three and four star awards are given to the best stands.

These awards are for excellence of presentation and not as an endorsement of the products or services offered.

This year eleven 4*** and twenty four 3*** awards were presented.

Hartley Botanic of Oldham won the best Trades Stand award.

W S Warmenhoven from the Netherland won best stand in the Plant Village.


WoridSkills UK Landscape Gardening Competition

This is a competition for apprentices and students in more than 60 vocations, who compete in heats throughout the country to win their place in the World Skills UK final at the NEC in November.

The landscape gardening heat at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park sees the final eight students build a garden to a set design, in 22 hours over three days.

The garden has been designed by Alexandra Froggatt and includes elements to test the full skill sets and capabilities of the competitors.

The Eight Gardens

Apologies for having eight pictures of the same layout but if you look close enough you will see some variations.

I did ask to get nearer to the test pieces but my request was refused


Young Designer gardens.

The RHS is heavily involved with promoting horticultural careers and nurturing new talent in the garden and landscape design industries.

The RHS Young Designer of the Year competition provides a platform for garden designers aged 28 and under to make their design debut at an RHS show,where they can demonstrate their creativity and hopefully kick start their careers.

An RHS garden selection panel selects three finalists to stage their designs from a given theme at the show.

This year the theme was; 'avant-gardening'.

Each of the finalists received expert mentoring and support from established garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.


The selected designers for 2014 were:

Clare Broadbent who is 23 and is from Cheshire.

She is currently studying for a masters in landscape architecture at the University of Sheffield.

She is passionate about designing gardens that accommodate people, wildlife and plants, and spaces that are sustainable,and of high quality and functionality.


Alex Schofleld is 25 and currently lives in Switzerland, where he moved at the age of 14.

After university he realised his true passion lay in plants and gardens, so he moved to London to study garden design in 2013.

He now works in a nursery in Switzerland, as well as running his own landscaping company, and is going to study landscape architecture in Geneva this autumn.


Sam Ovens is 25 and from Cornwall.

He grew up on a farm and his love of the outdoors, combined with a passion for design, led him to study garden design at Falmouth University.

He has recently started his own garden and landscape design practice, focusing on environmentally sustainable design and horticulture.


workOUT by Clare Broadbent

This garden provides opportunities for exercising at home, as it offers a convenient alternative to the gym.

It has also been designed to promote the daily use of outdoor spaces and to provide a sanctuary for wildlife.

This motivational yet therapeutic environment, incorporates bold-coloured planting and a central pond.

The pond features Archimedes Screws that offer workout opportunities and also aerate the water.

Other features such as the pergola pull-up bar and pummel horse benches make this a functional and aesthetically pleasing garden in which the whole family can exercise.

This garden recieved a Gold medal and was voted as the People's Choice in the Small garden category.

Prehistoric Modernism by Alex Schofleld

This garden has been designed for sun worshippers.

Sometimes the weather in the UK can make our surroundings look rather dull, so to this end, this garden suggests ways of counteracting that problem.

The inspiration was taken from the prehistoric monument at Stonehenge.

The contemporary design hopes to capture and transform light from the sun by channeling the views of the ornamental grasses and perennials through coloured Perspex screens.

An intimate stepping-stone path leads to a split level lounge deck with a fire-pit.

This garden won a Silver Gilt and was runner up in the People's Choice in the small garden category.

The Sky's The Limit by Sam Ovens

This garden has been designed to challenge the way we think about outdoor space.

It is a multi-storey garden in which every square inch of ground can be planted, a place that connects us with plants and wildlife and reminds us of the importance of our gardens.

The design is intended to make visitors stop, think and consider new ways of using their garden space.

It is said that one should view the garden from different levels and angles to see exciting and unique views, sadly I was unable to do this due to the fence around the garden, and I was only able to take this one picture.

This garden won a Gold Medal and earned it designer the title of Young Designer of the Year 2014.

....and that concludes my visit to Tatton Park Horticultural show 2014

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