Tatton Park Horticultural Show 2015
Once again I have had the pleasure of visiting yet another RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, and as always it was brilliant, although the weather was not as good as last year.
The day deteriorated as the day went on, when I arrived the weather was overcast but dry with a temperature of around 15°C(60°F) then it turned to drizzly rain.
This meant for most of the afternoon I was ducking and diving under umbrellas for most of the time, which was not very pleasant.
But I persevered and went on to enjoy the show as much as I have done in previous years.
Similarly, the show was split into three zones entitled Grow, Inspire and Feast. Last year it was split into four.
I am not sure if this was due to the show being smaller, nor am I sure if it was indeed smaller than last year, but it certainly felt as if it was.
The stalls and exhibits seemed closer together on the field events, but in the marquees the reverse seemed to the case, as the displays were spread out much more.
But having said that, I think the overall quality of the displays was better as I think you will see when I display my pictures later in the blog.
Just a few points about my blog
As mentioned above the show consisted of a number of zones each reflecting a particular horticultural connection.
Ordinarily I would have set myself a plan as to how I would tour the show, but this year because of the layout of the site, I basically walked around the perimeter and criss crossed the zones as necessary to see everything.
However for simplicity in producing this blog I have decided to discuss the show in the order that it is displayed in the index of the show catalogue, rather than in the order I toured the show.
As every exhibit has a story to tell, I have included brief extracts from the catalogue's descriptions of the stories.
As always in my blogs clicking on the picture/s will enlarge the picture.
Similarly,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 Show Gardens
This garden provides a place for a large family to sit, dine and entertain.
The rendered walls provide a clean, contemporary look, and incorporate raised planters.
Plus the walls have been deliberately kept low so as not to block surrounding views.
A water wall feature runs the width of the garden.
Trees on either side provides a woodland feel as well as adding a framework to the garden.
The waterfall at the rear of the garden adds atmosphere and movement, while a solar-powered water pump generates ripples in the pool beneath.
A timber boardwalk around the perimeter of the garden provides a viewing platform.
Drifts of grasses and upright perennials in the colours of the rainbow dance in the breeze and represent the movement of the Northern Lights.
Solar panels, attached to the tree house, provide the energy to light the garden at night.
Picking up the Pieces
Picking up the Pieces has been designed by female prisoners at HM Prisons who have undertaken City & Guilds horticultural qualifications
During their studies the women chose and defined the concept of Picking up the Pieces as an aspiration, and a wish to move forward in their lives.
The garden is intended as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles as well as a place in which to reflect and realise that every situation can be
Picking up the Pieces has inspired many prisoners going through difficult times to fulfil their potential.
The garden is enclosed on three sides by a bespoke jigsaw
Each piece of the jigsaw represents different aspects of our communities.
By working together we can build positive relationships and achieve much through education and support.
The Perennial Legacy Garden
Perennial is the UK's only charity dedicated to helping people who work in horticulture when times get tough.
The garden is designed to reflect element of the gardens at Arley Hall and Upton House.
The planting palette is a rich tapestry of traditional and contemporary herbaceous perennials.
This garden won the Best Show Garden award
Spiralling into Control
This design demonstrates that a usable front garden can be functional and striking, as well as offering benefits to nature.
The wide frontage at the opening of the spiral represents the gateway onto the public highway.
The main structure is a green roofed car port, which provides shelter for the family car(s) and a dry storage area for items that need keeping reasonably dry.
Its vertical sides provide an opportunity to grow food for the family and the green roof absorbs rain waler.
The KBI Flexi-Pave pathway entrance is made of recycled materials, and is porous, attractive and durable while being suitable for vehicle access.
It allows roots that grow beneath to breath and for the garden to absorb storm-water run-off and avoid flooding.
It Makes Sense
This spiral sensory garden has been designed for a family with a child with special needs.
It creates a safe and stimulating place for a child to play as well as being a place for parents to spend time to relax.
The garden is filled with colour, scent tactile planting, and movement.
The planting is intended to attract wildlife to stimulate the interest of children.
Primary colours, are provided by sunflowers and other garden favourites.
Movement and sound are created by grasses as well as water.
Herbs and other edibles appeal to the children's senses of taste and smell.
The garden will live on after the show when it is rebuilt at a local school.
Field to Fabric
The garden charts the process of textile production from plant, through the carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing processes.
Another aspect of this garden is to present the permacultural aspects of planting and to support education around species that have
become endangered due to agricultural processes, despite having been abundant in the past.
Following its display at this show, the garden will be transferred to Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale and located in an area of the museum where free drop-in traditional textile craft workshops will be taking place.
Maggie's Water Garden
Designed for a Maggie15 Cancer Care Trust Centre, this water garden provides a space to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the Centre's users and care-givers, their families and friends.
It focuses on supporting health and wellbeing, and offers a place to sit meditate and reflect.
Inspiration for the garden's design was taken from the Art Deco penod with its bold geometric shapes and industrial motifs, as well as the human
need for pleasure and escape.
The dark green pillars represent strength and form, and contrast with the water plants Nymphaea 'Alba', which signify reflection and peace.
The herbaceous perennials are chosen and planted in a way that evokes flow and movement
Together they create a harmonious environment in which to reflect.
The planting colour scheme is made up of white, green and silver foliage. which emphasizes peace and serenity.
Three differing levels of large rainwater storage containers are incorporated into the garden, each with rain-harvesting catcher funnels to enable sustainability.
This garden will be dismantled after the show ,and rebuilt in one of the Maggie15 Cancer Care Trust Centres.
The Water Garden
This is a garden for a couple who want to fetch some life into a previously underused area of their garden.
It is intended to be both visually appealing and calming, with the contrasting movement of the water and stillness of the space, and has been designed for all year round interest.
The majority of the planting around the pond consists of moisture-loving perennials, Alpines and heathers.
These combined with the gentle sound of the water will hopefully attract and support wildlife.
The grassy bank provides a relaxing site for a hammock in which to unwind and enjoy nature.
This garden was awarded the accolade of Best Water Garden
Back to Back Gardens
Last year these gardens were dropped from the show, but due to popular demand the organisers have brought them back.
Borders of roses and Flowering herbaceous plants fill the garden with colour and scent and shows how a previously unused space within a garden can be transformed into a delightful garden area.
A Mid-Summer Night's Theme
Betula species add a light aspect, and subtle colours weave through the planting.
A temple ruin and pool add atmosphere, and the planting style is reminiscent of Cholmondeley Castle
The Hermit's Garden
The narrow infinity path that leads up to the root house which are both constructed from salvaged materials, allows for the modern hermit to take exercise and meditate while being surrounded by planting that is useful and attractive.
A simple curved stone seat is the only furniture provided and is set into a bed of scented chamomile.
The mass mixed planting of the many culinary, medicinal herbs and fruiting plants is a haven for wildlife especially wild bees and other insects.
After the Show, all of the plants used in the garden will be replanted in the new Bee Garden under construction at Adlington Hall.
A Quiet Corner
The design features a curved swathe of grasses that follow a cobbled path to two larch stools
The grey wall creates a sold backdrop to the softness of the planting, and the soft grey cobbles in the path.
A low shallow steel water bowl reflects the sky and native Acer campestie to create a calm and peaceful focal point.
This garden won the Best Back to Back Garden Award
It is inspired by the modern Oriental / Asian style of architecture.
Limestone paving is used for the walkway and seating area to contrast with the planting,and the pool of water reflects the sky, thus making the garden appear bigger.
The simple planting scheme contains only a few varieties of plants and no flowers, and focusses on the green foliage and texture of the bamboo and ferns.
Bring Me Sunshine
The lush fragrant plants are in hues of muted blues, lilac and pink.
They all have healing qualities,and provide essential oils, and good nutritional and medicinal values.
The Ginkgo creates a good planting choice to add height and structure to the garden.
The garden has three rectangular frameworks consisting of vertical pulsating LED lights representing fibre optic wires encased in a solid grey frame.
Quarried Cheshire limestone paving adds to the contemporary feel, which is in keeping with the technologies intended for the future of Cheshire.
The plant selection includes those of differing areas of Cheshire, including bog plants, moss and turf of the Cheshire plains.
The Cloud 9 Kitchen Garden
In this contemporary urban kitchen garden there is space to grow food that will be harvested and cooked on the spot.
The garden also contains features that harvest rainwater, and succulent planting traps provide permeability, water conservation and filtration.
A range of perennials create a blaze of colour and show how nice bee-friendly gardens can look.
Hexagonal structures representing honeycombs give height, and handmade wicker bees buzz throughout the garden
A bench and a hand-carved wood table gives the visitor a place to sit and contemplate the garden.
Gone are the expanses of gravel and sparse planting,these are replaced with some clever plant combinations.
The display consists of a wide range of salt tolerant plants with colours and textures creating the illusion of the waves.
For example; whites and cream flowers represent the froth, and blue and purple flowers represent the swell of the waves.
The timber posts depict weather-worn breakwaters and chestnut paling helps provide sand stabilisation.
Within is an area of lawn one can relax on a sunlounger and listen to a computer generated soundtrack playing maritime sounds.
Slow & Preserve
This is a damp shady garden, designed for a landscape architect or town planner to demonstrate how areas of land which are often ignored and unused, can be brought to life and into practical use in a creative way.
The garden has an L-shaped boundary wall built from reclaimed bricks and creating a shaded and protected micro-climate within the garden.
This micro-climate preserves water white allowing the user to walk through without feeling enclosed and uncomfortable.
Moss graffiti is used on the back wall.
The planting incorporates species that are shade tolerant, thrive in damp soil and will tolerate occasional flooding.
Planting the space with wetland species helps to create slow urban run off, which preserves our precious water reserves.
The garden takes its name from the black-peppered moth that had to evolve due to the pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution.
The scorched wood pergola represents the soot-covered trees.
The planting recreates the habitat in which the black-peppered moth thrives.
It is a species-rich grassland similar to that found on the Cheshire sandstone ridge and many other parts of the northwest.
Seasonal perennials have been incorporated into the grassland to enhance the colour palette.
Year of Light Gardens
Three gardens took part in the International Year of Light.
This event was initiated by the United Nations to highlight the vital role that light plays in providing solutions to global challenges.
The pavilion and roof is a light-filled structure.
Fibre optic glass 'drops' are set into the floor and the 'wave-form' path is a metaphor for how light refracts along the fibres.
The trees and the surrounding planting are in cool shades, building to a vibrant colour spectrum.
Light Catcher is a celebration of light, and how it has evolved to become a universal symbol of hope and positivily.
The garden harnesses natural daylight to create drama and ambience by using materials chosen for their reflective, diffusive and fluctuating qualities to create a contemplative and soothing space.
The bold light-catching structure funnels sunlight down to a central reflective bowl of water and represents our collective and unifying understanding
of light's positive 'language'.
The planting scheme was mainly formed of plants that react to light.
The colour scheme focuses on iridescent purple and blue hues with sprays of white to create a haze of luminosity that alters and moves.
Quantum of Light
The design was inspired by a computer generated image of this event which depicts 'red towers' as photos or quantumsof light and'blue barrels' and ' yellow lines' as other particles.
A colourful palette of reds, blues and yellows recreate this 'energy flash' moment and radiate out from the circular concrete core and energised water pool.
A sweeping curve of steel columns represent the large electromagnets used in controling the movement of particles.
The concrete and used in the garden are references to the industrial process used at CERN to create these events.
Young Designer Gardens
Each year three young designers are selected by a panel and have an oppotunity to design a 'Show Garden' at this show, this is the results of this years entrants.
The Sunset Garden
It is a space to walk and relax in. designed for glorious summer evenings catching the rays of the setting sun.
It is inspired by a north Norfolk garden, which receives the last low level light, with its illuminating quality creating a warm glow across the planting.
The posts and arches form an enclosure without dominating the space, and they add formality.
Trellis panels are used to balance the mass of the hedge on the opposite side, while framing a view into and out of the garden.
This garden won the award for best Young Designer of the Year 2015
This garden offers a contemporary take on the traditional physic gardens of medieval England, and offers the chance for engagement and contemplation.
The journey through the space begins at an exposed surrounding before moving into a natural safe haven at the heart of the garden.
The Perfect Lawn
Here the lawn takes the form of raised turf cubes, which provide informal seating while allowing space for wildlife-friendly planting.
The planting scheme is made up predominantly of purples with splashes of burnt orange.
The garden promotes the reduction of lawned areas and the increase in planting as being of great wildlife value.
The Plant Village
As usual this part of the showground was well supported and adorned by the various horticultural traders.
Most of these trade stands had produced small show gardens in front of their stands, here are a few examples:
John Cullen Gardens
P & K Nurseries
Petrichor Bulb Specialists
This is a new feature for 2015 that provides an opportunity for horticultural students, designers, community groups and budding gardeners to experience the design, planning and build of a themed 3m x 3m horticultural exhibit in a show environment, without the large financial, and resource commitment of a show garden.
This year's theme is Plant Hunters
In the film ET, the extra terrestrial was a plant hunter.
Trees and herbaceous plants of California, where the film is set are used to show how native plants from that area, introduced over centuries by various plant hunters, are now quite common in our English gardens.
The planting celebrates Gilbert White, 1720-93 who rarely travelled more than a day's ride in his life.
Unlike some plant hunters who travelled all over the world, White showed that we can be plant hunters on our own turf.
Voyage of Discovery
This is a highly productive garden bed containing carefully selected native and exotic species, each planted for their pollen and nectar, and natural pest control.
The style is that of a flower meadow, and incorporates both edible plants and flowers, which also provide a setting for wildlife.
The centrepiece has a nautical theme incorporating a ship's compass, rope and fishing nets.
The raised bed depicts the areas in and around Wigan and Leigh.
It includes reference to the canal pier, pit slag heaps, the pit head and wheel and the local rugby field.
Volunteering is Blooming Good for You
CV5 Cheshire East collaborated with two charities - Knutsford Grow, who provide a voluntary gardening service, and the Cheshire Waste Reduction Volunteers, who inspire the public to change their thinking about waste.
The bed focuses on the promotion of volunteering, and features donated plants from the local community and an interactive composting area.
The vast majority of the plants in British gardens have been introduced from abroad.
Plant hunters risked their lives scouring vast continents to bring back new species.
This garden by The Tiny Plant Company represents the achievements of these individuals.
This garden won the Best Blooming Bed award.
National Flower Bed Competition
This competition showcases the talents of local authorities in the UK.
The competitors have chosen their own theme for their flower bed.
This bed by Preston City Council depicts a floral interpretation of the defence of the mission at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. Natal, South Africa 1879
when the British army defended it against an overwhelming Zulu force.
This garden won the Best National Flower Bed award
This bed by Dumfries and Galloway Council depicts the journey of John Paul Jones the Scots-American who came to prominence in the American
Revolutionary War after leaving Scotland in 1773
This bed by Birmingham City Council has an Aztec theme highlighting the Mexican origins of the Dahlia the national flower of Mexico.
Floral Design Studio
The Floral Design Studio included displays from the Cheshire and northwest areas of NAFAS, who are professional florists and floristry colleges.
NAFAS - Cheshire Area
NAFAS - North West Area
School of Floristry
Somerset Postal Flowers
RHS floristry college competition.
In this competition two colleges compete for the chance to stage an exhibit at the RHS Chelseo Flower Show in 2016,
At that Show the finalists compete to win the prestigious title of RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year 2016.
The theme for the competition is Musicals Through Time.
Hugh Baird College
Reaseheath College won this heat.
Cheshire's Carnival of Gardens
Cheshire's Gardens of Distinction was formed in order to draw together the best of Cheshire's gardens.
Included in the group are specialist plant growers, garden historians, instructors, artists. head gardeners and owners of historic gardens.
The show feature offers a taste of Cheshire's Gardens of Distinction, and has been designed to give visitors a glimpse of Cheshire's horticultural
richness and diversity.
Bluebell Cottage Gardens
Cheshire Gardens Trust
Ness Botanic Gardens
Norton Priory Museum & Gardens
National Plant Societies
I like to go into this marquee and generally have a chat with like minded people on a variety of subjects.
This year there were around fifteen societies present, and needless to say I had a chat with a few of the members and took two or three pictures of there stalls.
National Vegetable Society
The Herb Society
The Japanese Garden Society
Great British Allotments
Each of these allotment plots are created by local communities and groups.
Each has its own twist on the 'grow your own' theme, from five-a-day to wildlife gardening, and self-sustainability.
This allotment-style garden contains a sedum-roof shed, greenhouse, raised beds, rainwater harvesting, shaded area, patio area, and 6 x 2m square raised beds.
Raised beds contain a wide variety a/ herbs and edible plants including some unusual crops.
One bed could be used in a back yard to grow something you can't buy in the shops
Mill Town Meals
The garden also includes planters and a pond containing edible water plants, all of which can be used to create a favourite meal.
A path through the allotment has a bright vegetable trail leading up to a potting shed where there is information about community growing.
A mural of Mossley, stone and mosaic seats, and planters that look like mills and chimneys help create the look of a mill town landscape.
The Incredible Edible garden is a celebration of creating Community Growing Groups
This garden is the result and shows one venture coming into fruition.
This 8 x 5m plot is set with a backdrop depicting the conditions of World War 1.
It contains a lean-to shed, four planting areas and wooden walkways using recycled materials and the ever useful sandbag.
This is a traditional allotment site in which herbs, vegetables and flowers grow in raised beds and pots.
This was a new class this year where the brief was to transform a standard 6 x 4ft garden shed into an eye catching design inside and out.
The Hungry Gardener's Shed
It can be used a potting shed, a place to dry and store herbs, strings of onions, garlic and of course-make a brew.
The green roof helps integrate the shed into the surroundings.
Covered in low-growing herbs it looks beautiful while attracting bees and butterflies.
On one side of the shed a trained apple tree grows, and on the other, pockets made from sacks are used for growing vegetables and salad leaves.
A border around the shed, edged with twisted hazel, is filled with colourful and tasty edibles.
At the back of the shed is a small camping cooker, where freshly picked vegetables from the allotment, can be cooked and savoured in minutes.
The Lost Gardens of Manchester
Using old photographs and research, the hideaway celebrates Manchester's gardening heritage by remembering gardens that once graced the city.
The shed features some of these old photographs of gardens from Manchester such as Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and the sunken gardens at Piccadilly.
In addition, apple crates will be used as planters and shelving, a nod to the orchards that once stood at Shudehill (Manchester's bus interchange).
Old tools from gardens of yesteryear and branded deckchairs will form part of the display.
The shed with its ramshackled appearance gives a strong sense of nostalgia.
This is a shed designed for artists and bird watchers,is a secretive hide out.
It is painted with realistic woodland and wildlife scenes on the interior and exterior of the shed - an inspiration for nature lovers.
The Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation
Inside, the mirrored interior makes the space seem to stretch to infinity, but also reflects every aspect of the visitor, from all sides, top and bottom.
Within the interior the audience can either record a confessional, revealing their inner personal secrets in a completely
anonymous environment or choose to activate the speakers and glitterbail and have a private, solo disco!
The Cut Flower Shed
The shed is painted blue on the exterior and cream on the interior and has on upcycled slate roof.
Inside, at the rear of the shed is a sewing machine table, painted and set up to resemble a florist's counter.
There are buckets of freshly cut British flowers arranged on and around it.
Outside, a cheerful awning protects the flowers from the weather.
To the front of the shed, Wellington boots, filled with hand-tied bouquets, act as door stops.
World Skills UK Landscape Gardening Competition.
The students and apprentices taking part are the highest scoring entrants in The Association of Professional Landscapes and WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening competition.
After two national knock out stages, they now have 18 hours over three days to individually build a 6 x 2m garden.
This year, the garden has been designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal winner - Jody Lidgord.
The top six will go on to compete in the national final, which will be held at The Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham in November.
I had a chat with three of them and what came over was that they all seemed to be very interested in the 'Design' aspect of gardening, but not so keen in the 'Physical' side of constructing their designs.
On hearing this I laughingly asked them is this a case of you do not want to get your hands dirty?
They replied embarrassly with a few excuses so I left them with the following advice:
Someone who can practice what he/she preaches is more likely to succeed than those only know the theory!
That seemed to go down much better.
These are are a few examples of their work:
Edible Incredible Container Growing Competition
This is one of my favourite parts of the show.
As I see it, this is where the gardeners of the future are going to come from.
This year I thought their were less entries but having said that, I thought the quality was better, so well done the RHS your Campaign for School Gardening seems to be working.
The RHS has challenged primary and secondary schools from around the northwest to enter the Edible Incredible Container Growing Competition.
The competition helps school children to learn about growing and looking after plants, as well as the importance of recycling.
As you will see there are some wacky designs and clever methods of recycling as they use their imagination to create some unusual Edible Incredible Containers.
Cheethan C of E Academy
St Edmunds Arrowsmith CFL
From Small Desks Great Minds Grow
Lacey Green P S
Healthy Minds,Healthy Body,
Grow your Own
Nether Alderley PS
Mill Town Meals
Buckton Vale PS
One More Step
St Mary's C of E P S
Marlfields Primary Academy
The Herbs of St Bridgets
St Bridget's P S
St Mary's Primary-Glossop
What Can You Find in a Pizza
St Helen's P S
When Nature Meets Incredible Edible
St Mary's Primary-Marple Bridge
Vivaha Wedding Feast
Sandside Lodge Special School
1st - St Bridget’s Catholic Primary School – ‘The Herbs of St Bridgets’
2nd - Nether Alderley Primary School - ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Body, Grow Your Own’
3rd - Lacey Green Primary Academy – 'From Small Desks Great Minds Grow'
Like the previous school entries this section was another area that had improved in quality from previous years.
High school gardens
The theme for the high school gardens this year was the industrial heritage of the North West of England.
Umston Grammar School
Quarry Bank Mill
Wilmslow High School
Transport in Time
The winner of this class was Umston Grammar School
Primary school gardens
The theme for the Primary school gardens was legends and fairy stories.
Benjamin Brierly and Failsworth Pole
Higher Failsworth Primary
The Winwick Pig
Croft Primary School
St Catherines Primary
Gawsworth Primary School
Evelyn Street Primary School
The Tulip Bed
Overhall Community School
Whirley Primary School
St James' Cof E Primary School
Bruche Primary School
Dowson Primary School
The winner of this class was Whirley Primary School.
A feature garden this year was entitled: You’re Not Getting Your Ball Back celebrating the Rugby World Cup to be held in Britain in the autumn.
The garden was constructed by Oaklands School
The other half was a sizeable raised pond designed for ‘dipping’ to study aquatic life,
A rugby ball (presumably the one you’re not getting back) floated on the surface of the pond.
Trade Stands & Floral Marquee
A horticultural show would not be a horticultural show without the trade stands, and this show had plenty of these, so much so, I was spoiled for choice as to which ones to photograph so I have chosen around a dozen or so to show some of what was on offer.
What I did notice in the marquee was that there seemed to be quite a few Bonsai exhibits on show.
Now this is something I have always admired particularly when you consider how long it takes to get these tree/shrubs to this quality.
So as a mark of respect to the dedication these guys give to their hobby, I thought I would show a few.
The finally there are the more traditional trade stands, some of which can be seen here:
A Walk in the Woods - Twigsters
Pots and Pithoi
Tor Stone Ltd
Cook's Garden Centre
Every Picture Tells a Story
Slack Top Nurseries
Four Oaks Direct
.......and that concludes my visit to RHS Tatton Park Show 2015