Tatton Park Flower Show


Once again I have had the pleasure of visiting the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park.

Like last year the organisers have had their thinking caps on for ways in which to improve the format of the show and to my mind I think they have been quite successful.

Once again they have pushed the boat out towards the 'young gardener' and I for one really appreciate that, after all these are the people who will carry on the art when the gardeners of today have gone.

This year the RHS there were three categories pointed towards younger people namely; RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year which has been ongoing for a few years now,and the two new categories; Young Planting Designer and Young Landscape Contractor of the Year.

I did notice that the Worldskills Landscaping Competition was not there this year and I wondered if this had been replaced by the two new categories.

If it is it was a great improvement as you will see later in this 'blog'.

Then of course we have not to forget the schools, these seem to be getting better and better, and when you speak to the children and their Teachers the enthusiasm is quite infectious.

I had an added interest this year as my grandaughter took part in the event.

Another feature that had been added this year was a Butterfly Dome which seemed to hold quite an attraction, so much so the queues were around 100metres long all day.

I'm afraid I missed out on it simply because with so much more to see elsewhere on the show ground I considered I couldn't afford to spend so much time in the queue, maybe I will go in next year!


The 'theme' of the show this year was "Bugs & Beasties" as seen by the many giant willow bugs dotted throughout the show ground.

Bee - 4.75m (16ft) tall.
Found in the School Garden Area


For simplicity I have laid this blog out in relation to the grouping in the Show Guide, the only change being;I have placed the groups in alphabetical order.

Each exhibit generally has a story to tell, so I have included brief extracts from the show guide and / or, my interpretation of how I saw the exhibit/s.


In terms of the photography;because some of the exhibits were quite large, and I do not have a wide angle lense, I generally found that I often 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 necessarily a preference on my part, it is only my way to try and get the full impact of the exhibit into the blog.

As always in my blogs, clicking on the picture/s will enlarge the picture.

Garden Categories:

Back to Back Gardens
Blooming Borders
Bus Stops
Discover and Grow
Floral Design
Floral Marquee
Future Spaces
Plant Societies
Plant Village
School Gardens
Show Features
Show Gardens
Trade Stands
Young Designer / Landscaper

The 2017 Show:

On entering the showground the visitors were entertained by a couple of Flower pot men, a Bubble maker and two Lady Butterflies which gave the visitors a chance to have a 'photoshoot' and try out their cameras.


Back to Back Gardens

These small garden plots offer inspiration and ideas for the tiniest of spaces and show just how interesting small gardens can be with careful landscaping and a carefully curated selection of plants.

Arley's Thyme to Retreat:

Designed to provide a calm, tranquil and peaceful space, away from the hustle of busy everyday life.

The arbour is a perfect place to sit back and relax, and take in the colours and scents of the flowers and herbs

Spinning the Silver Thread by Chalmondely Castle Gardens:

This is a double back-to-back garden and shows two very different spaces separated by a sandstone wall, and joined with a pathway that passes through both gardens.

One side represents a 'formal' silver garden with Buxus topiary and mounds of silver foliage.

The other side is a woodland garden with an uncontrived style that reflects Cholmonddeley's wilder areas.

Trees and shrubs create depth and differing light levels to enhance the colour of Digitalis Silver Fox which represents the 'silver thread' in the title.

Green Dreams:

A quiet space designed for plant lovers with a demanding work/home life to relax.

The soft, airy flowering perennials and grasses surround a large circular day bed to rest and unwind in.

Macmillan Legacy Garden:

At the entrance is a wishing well, in which copper discs have been placed, each engraved with words from past donors.

The poles, of varying sizes, represent both large and small legacy donations given by the public to the charity.

The circular seat has copper discs on it each engraved with words from I those helped by Macmillan.

This garden won the best 'Back to Back Garden' award and it also won the 'Peoples Choice' Award.

Noughts and Crosses:

The main layout takes the form of a noughts and crosses grid with raised beds housing the crosses, and floor-level circular stepping stones the noughts.

95% of the materials in the garden are recycled materials.

Peace Garden:

This colourful bohemian-styled garden is designed to create a relaxed and calming mood.

The path leads visitors through the garden towards a tree with the figure of a woman hugging it.

The garden contains a seating area at the rear of the garden to provide somewhere for visitors to sit and take in the atmosphere.


This garden is full of signs and symbols that are designed to inspire meditation.

The symbols painted on the wooden posts and back wall represent the different chakras and colours that are associated with meditation, and the calming planting colour scheme, together with the sound of the water, is designed to relax.


Blooming Borders

These are 3 x 3m borders that offer an opportunity for community groups and small businesses to show off effective small-scale planting designs.

A Veteran's Refuge:

This border has been designed to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was designed and built by members of the Hull 4 Heroes.

Hull 4 Heroes has created and renovated several homes and their gardens for veterans in Hull.

In this border, a granite cobble path winds its way to a tall, ancient chair.

The planting features a blend of herbacious perennials and traditional bedding plants, with hree trees and a stone circle to complete the design.

Blue Italian:

This border was inspired by a Spode's of Stoke-on-Trent Pottery design.

The classical plinths display planted containers containing blue and while herbs and perennials, alongside a 'Spode's China Rose'

This border will be installed on a small urban, green space, located next to the former Spode factory after the show.

Dreamy Nostalgia:

This garden built by a team of family, friends and neighbours evokes memories of lazy days boating on the river.

The garden invites the visitor to stand and look out over a river of flowers, and imagine sailing off into the sunset accompanied by the gentle rustle of bamboo and the scent of lavender.

Equality Rising:

This border is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England.

It contains a sculpture rising up through a pink triangle, the latter a symbol that originated in Nazi concentration camps to denote homosexuality and now more commonly associated with the gay rights movement.

The black metal sculpture is inspired by the Human Rights Campaign logo.

This border was judged to be the 'Best Border'


Bus Stop Boulevard

Decorated Bus Stops to celebrate the local community,culture and people.


Growing Oldham Feeding Ambition:

On this bus shelter, vertical panels of edible plants including salad leaves, herbs and vegetables grow. Together they illustrate the high yield of edibles that can be grown in a small vertical space.

All the plants have been grown or propagated by community groups working with Incredible Futures Oldham, a social enterprise that aims to help people improve their local environments and wellbeing through practical community-led action.

Solar panels, which power the fridge inside the shelter, are installed by Oldham Community Power, an initiative that installs community-owned renewable energy on school and community buildings.

The fridge represents The Real Junk Food Project Oldham, a group that is part of a movement to challenge, highlight and ultimately eradicate food waste.

Instructions for growing food easily at home are on offer from the bus shelter as well as recipes linked to food available at the bus stop.

Growing Seeds for Inspiration:

Inspired by the wonderful art and gardens of Manchester's Whitworth, this bus stop is re-imagined as a fun, thought-provoking mini art gallery and garden.

It came about through the designer volunteering at The Whitworth and forging connections.

It showcases the link between art, gardening and design.

The design includes ivy screens and planting inspired by the Whitworth's Art Garden.

Artwork has been produced through Whitworth wellbeing programmes.

Nebulis - All is not Lost:

This sci-fi-inspired, pod-like station from the future has long been forgotten and Nature has started to reclaim it.

It features a docking station and a robot poised in standby mode with a gesture towards the 'nebulus' insignia.

Low-maintenance plants grow in containers more usually associated with technology.

Peel Back Time:

This heritage-style bus stop showcases elements of the newly renovated Peel Park, Salford, including illustrations of the park on display at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Key design features such as the tear drop and quatrefoil planting beds and bespoke seating are incorporated.

Cottage garden plants from the park's original design grow alongside contemporary specimens.

Vintage gardening tools and excerpts from the original park keeper's journals can be found inside.


Pride in Manchester:

Manchester is a beacon for the LGBT+ community and this bus stop aims to recreate the rainbow hues of the Pride flag with horizontal shelves of flowers.

Grasses and flowers popular with pollinators sit on its roof, making it friendly to the environment.

Inspired by the groundbreaking bus stops recently constructed near Piccadilly Gardens, waterproof solar charging panels are fitted to the roof, with USB ports for people to connect their phone chargers.

This shelter that supports pollinators, people and the LGBT+ community encourages locals to take Pride in this small patch of Manchester.


Discover and Grow

Asparagus Peas

Collection of Veg

Trug of Veg

Trug of Veg

Trug of Fruit & Veg

Trug of Mixed Fruit

Trug of Veg

Trug of Veg


Floral Design

Future Florist Competition

Bishop Burton College

Best Exhibit in Category

Hugh Baird College

University of Roseheath

Floral Displays

Joseph Massie

Fletcher & Foley Floral Design

Cheshire Area of NAFAS

Best Exhibit in Category

Buddy Marvellous by Julie Dickinson

Man-Nature-Man by Flowers North West

Verdure Floral Design


Floral Marquee

The Marquee had over eighty exhibitors in it this year which I considered far too many to photograph, so I only photographed the ones that caught my eye which was around 30% of them!

Ashcroft Perennials

Brookfield Plants

Cathay Pacific (Marquee Sponsor)

Cath's Garden Plants

Chrysanthemum Direct

Chrysanthemum Direct

D'Arcy & Everest

D'Arcy & Everest

Derbyshire Bonsai


Chinese Juniper

Derbyshire Bonsai


Japanese Red Maple

Derbyshire Bonsai


Common Hawthorne

Derbyshire Bonsai


European Larch

Eagle Sweet Peas


Our Harry

Eagle Sweet Peas


Sir Jimmy Shand

East of Eden Nursery

Fryers Roses

Hampshire Carniverous Plants

Hampshire Carniverous Plants

Hare Spring Cottage Plants

Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries

Harts Nursery

Holden Clough Nurseries

Judged best stand in Floral Marquee.

K Partington

Norfield Nurseries

North of England Bonsai


Carpinus turczaninawii

North of England Bonsai


Crataegus monogyna

North of England Bonsai


Chamaecyparis obtusa

North of England Bonsai


Juniperis chinensis

Robinson's Seeds & Plants

T3 Plants

The Botanic Nursery

Tinisburn Plant


Future Spaces

These gardens illustrate how we might consider using our private and public gardens in the future for better health and wellbeing, to cope with climate change, and to carve out private garden space in crowded urban areas.

Cactus Direct:

The message behind this garden is 'Global Warming' and how we can limit the worst impacts of change in the future.

If we don't by the end of this century many of our native plant species will be extinct, and our gardens resemble the landscapes of Southern California or Mexico, with only drought-tolerant plants surviving.

For example we may have rows of Echinocactus grusonii replacing traditional box balls, and Agave salmiana,and Polaskia chichipe in place of our traditional shrubs.

This garden won the best 'Future Spaces' award plus the 'best 'Construction' award.

Mid-Cheshire Hospital - Remember Me Garden:

This garden tells the story of a dementia patient's journey from diagnosis through to requiring 24-hour care.

The garden shape has been designed to trigger inklings and evoke memories, which in turn may spark conversations.

For example; in the memory shed there are glass bottles containing small objects such as shells and old seed packets to hopefully spark memories.

Note: Both designers of this garden have family or friends who are suffering from the condition.

The Live Garden:

The Live Garden demonstrates how a small space can be tansformed into a residential garden by using three different levels to create extra space.

Key features includes a sitting area with projector screen, a wall of raised beds, a subterranean retreat with mood lighting, water feature, and a bespoke sculpture and a balcony garden.


Garden Hideaways

Personalised versions of the traditional 6ft x 4ft Garden Shed and Greenhouse.


Boys and their Toys


Ekphrastic Flowers

Garden Song (front)

Garden Song (back)


National Plant Societies & Plant Heritage

Alpine Garden Society

Japanese Garden Society

National Carnation Society

National Chrysanthemum Society

National Vegetable Society

National Plant Collections

Manchester Bonsai Society

Acer palmatum -

Japanese Maple

Juniperis chinensis -

Chinese Juniper

Pinus sylvestris beauvronensis -

Scots Pine

Zalkova serrata -

Carpinfolia group


Plant Village

A&J Plant


Barton Nurseries

Bean Place Nursery

Beech Tree Farm Plants

Brookside Nursery

Cook's Garden Centre

Dominic Kaye Plants

Fryer's Roses

Glebeland's Nursery

Middleton Nurseries

Oscar Plants

P & K Davis Nursery

Judged as Best stand in Plant Village

Primrose Hall Nursery

Proctor's Nursery

Rectory Garden Plants

Sunray Plants

WS Warmenhoven


School Gardens


from Harry the Poisonous Centipede


by Avalon School


from The Harry Potter Series


by Bruche Primary School


from Wind in the Willows


by Croft Primary School


from The Animals of Farthing Wood


by Dowson Primary Academy


from Silverwing


by Evelyn Street Primary School


from The Animals of Farthing Wood


by Gatley Primary School


from The Pied Piper of Hamlyn


by Glazebury C of E Primary School

Best Primary School


from Winnie the Pooh


by Higher Failsworth Primary School

Charlotte A Cavatica

from Charlotte's Web


by Marlfields Primary School

Badrang the Tyrant

from Redwall-Martin the Warrior


by New Mills School & 6th form

Mr & Mrs Beaver

from the Chronicles of Narnia


Springfield Special School

Best High School


from The Hodgeheg


St Vincents Catholic Primary School


Mr Fox

from Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox


by Walmsley C of E Primary School

Jemima Puddle-Duck

from The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter


by Wilmslow Grange CP & Nursery Schools



Flags - Wind Sculpture

by Andrew Lee


Depicting the invisible nature of the air.

Eternal Trinity

by Ali Hutchison


Designed to give a spiritual and aesthetic response.

Where Giants fear to Tread

by Jayne Ford Glass Design


Inspired by landscape,nature and the elements.

Ebb and Flow

by Janette Lazell


An observation from the natural world

Dragonflies on Blades

by Joanne Risley


Based on organic forms from Nature

Summer and Winter Trees

by Michael Disley


Marble depictions of trees through the seasons.

Red Kite in Flight

by Lindsay Waring


A wire sculpture of wildlife in motion.

Sculptors at Work



by Michelle Clarke-Stables


A narrative from the sculptors life.


Show Features

Preston Railway Free Buffet for Soldiers and Sailors:

During World War I, as soldiers and sailors passed through the railway station in Preston, they were greeted by a team of women, volunteering their time to provide the servicemen with hot drinks.

The willow sculptures, made by people of all generations pays tribute to those women and military men.

Norton Priory:

This garden encompasses the theme of health, wellbeing, relaxation and a place to unwind and meet people.

Visitors are invited to wander down the path and spend time inhaling the relaxing herbal aromas, stimulating the body and mind with the reds, oranges and yellows of the flower border's, all while listening to the gentle sound of the wind chime.

Bridgewater: Canal, Coal and Craft:

Salford's historic Bridgewater Canal was established in 1761 and it offers a unique place that continues to inspire local communities.

Within a planting scheme that reflects the colours of its Industrial heyday, a series of handcrafted features reveal the story of the canal's origins and its ongoing impact today.

Just a few of other features I witnessed as I walked around the showground

The Bruntwood Experiment:

The Bruntwood Experiment champions urban greening through an exploration of the different ways we can use the often overlooked plants, written off as weeds, naturally colonising our urban spaces.

This experiment aims to show how these plants can thrive, contributing to the biodiversity and overall wellbeing of a community.

The garden also functions as a means of bringing people closer together through horticulture.

Bruntwood has already brought together the garden team and students from University Centre Reaseheath in Cheshire to help create elements of the garden.

Tatton Park Secret Stories:

The feature is inspired by one of the oldest elements of Tatton Park's award-winning gardens - an unusual 18th-ccntury hornbeam maze, much loved by the Egerton family.

It seemed to be a big hit with all, particularly the children.


Show Gardens

From a Different Angle:

This garden designed by the University Centre Reaseheath offers an innovative and challenging sensory space for a special educational needs school.

The garden's design echoes the sharp edges of the stone and mountains of Cumbria, which is where the garden will be relocated.

The children, of varying abilities, are taken on a journey between the lush sensory planting in raised beds, to the covered area that is enclosed by living walls and a vibrant shade sail.

The garden provides a journey through several zones of kinaesthetic and cognitive stimulation and sensory experiences.

Colour therapy was researched for the design, and orange has been used as a contrast with other elements because it facilitates socialisation, increases contentment and stimulates mental activity.

Every plant offers a sensory value.


Stop,Think, Change:

This garden has been designed by women who have been positively influenced by the Thinking Skills Programme.

This cognitive behavioural programme aims to reduce the risk of re-offending, by helping offenders develop their thinking skills in order to manage their personal risk factors.

The garden is clearly defined into three separate areas.

Self discipline is represented by the colour red, with a fire pit to represent 'hot thoughts', and a range of linear and textured plants.

Blue represents problem-solving, with three water spheres portraying reflection.

In the green 'positive relationship' area in which safety is key, a pergola represents shelter.

The combination of greens and creams has a calming effect and enhances positive feelings.

A bespoke metal question mark and a carved statue of a woman portray a woman thinking.

By using newly learnt thinking skills the woman is likely to make a decision with a more positive outcome.

The structures, perennials and shrubs will be replanted at HMP and YOI Styal, Wilmslow, after the show.

Gabriel Ash Greenhouse Garden:

The Gabriel Ash RHS Portico greenhouse acts as the hub of this Show Garden, providing a place lo plan, propagate and protect.

Using a greenhouse as an aid, the garden promotes a playful approach to planting combinations.

Visitors can see deep borders full of vibrancy and pattern, with plants chosen specifically for their foliage.

Interesting leaf shapes.patterns and textures are layered to create an interwoven tapestry of leaves interspersed with bright, vibrantly coloured flowers to attract pollinators.

Architectural plants such as Dicksonia and Musa provide height and interest.

An exotic atmosphere has been created, provoking what feels to be a different climate with plants that can happily grow in the UK.

Set within this large private garden, rich, bright colours play an important role in the scheme, suggesting exciting new plant combinations for the viewer's own garden.

A still pond reflects plant shapes and patterns back into the garden, adding depth to the space, and a small decked seating area allows for quiet r

Slow the Flow:

Water run-off from front gardens covered with non-porous materials is increasingly the cause of flooding problems, so this stylish, contemporary front garden space demonstrate techniques for capturing, retaining and slowing the flow of rainfall.

Porous concrete beam walkways lead up through garden to the front door of an imagined timber frame house.

A living roof holds and slows I he rainwater as it passes down the down-spout into a galvanised sleel container, which over-flows into two more water vessels, all surrounded by rich green planting and soakaways.

Beneath the garden is a water storage tank, which is powered by solar energy and allows the plants to be irrigated during drought.

During heavy rain, an overflow in each of the troughs releases water into a soakaway, which in turn fills the underground storage tank.

A steel sculptural panel, set within the boundary hedge, contains a laser-cut flowing water design.

Ornamental plants with an emphasis on strong foliage and texture, including a large selection of grasses, have been incorporated into the design, woven through with a small selection of flowering plants in pastel tones.

This garden was judged as the 'Best Show Garden'

Facing Fear, Finding Hope:

In support of Chron's and Colitis UK

The journey begins in Facing Fear, an uninviting place.

A steel pergola, angular path and bubbling pool symbolise the confusion, lonliness and turbulence an individual can suffer when their condition erupts, while the plants dark colour and texture are represents the intense sensation of fear and pain.

When exhaustion overwhelms, a redwood chair provides a welcome place to retreat.

Steps draw visitors down into Finding Hope, a bright sunken area, reflecting the transition towards better health and confidence.

In this happy place, suffused with hope for the future, attractive, colourful plants and gently flowing water raise the spirits.

It suggests a place where a person in remission is content to remain.

A formal hedge marks the inner boundary; a reminder that Crohn's Disease has no known cure and sufferers have to learn to manage the disease.

The bespoke stainless steel sculpture represents optimism, but realistically, alludes to the possibility that illness may return.

For the Love of It:

Intended for a mature family that enjoys spending time at home and in the garden, this design provides space for the occupants to explore, sit, relax with a favourite hobby, and dine away from the view of neighbours.

A decorative, vertically slatted wooden boundary assists in splitting the garden into rooms.

It continues with the low internal slatted fences cutting into the garden.

A sleeper bridge carries the visitor over a sunken, shallow pebble pond.



Andy and Tim Wood Sculptors

Breeze House

Four Oaks Direct

Garden 4 Me

Hartley Botanic

Juliette Hamilton Design


Muck Boot Company

Pure Glass Greenhouse

Softub UK

Tristen May


Susan Long Sculpture

Tor Stone

Artfe by K Paxton


Young Designer of the Year


Prospect and Refuge:

Designed by; Anca Panait

This garden is designed as a multi-functional outdoor room.

The timber furniture and decking defines the central space and creates a warm natural ambiance, and is aesthetically attractive.

The woodland planting creates a sense of enclosure and escape from the outside world with the variations in planting height acting as a buffer from city noise.

Studio Unwired:

Designed by; Ula Maria

This garden transports office workers out of crowded and conventional office facility into an outdoor environment.

This environment provides unique working conditions throughout the day by allowing different levels of exposure to the elements.

The variation in exposure is created by the pergola which is divided into three sections - open, semi-sheltered, enclosed, working in combination with the Pine tree canopy.

The dunes and coastal hinterlands, and is the designer's personal interpretation of childhood memories of Baltic landscapes.

***** This garden won the title 'Young Designer of the Year' for its designer.

Business and Pleasure:

Designer; Jake Curley

This urban office garden is inspired by the natural planting style of the 'High Line' in New York.

The intent behind the design is for the table (that seats eight people) to be used for office work for much of the year round, or as an outdoor dining area.

The planting scheme, containing grasses and flowers and a simple water feature is designed to be beneficial to pollinating insects and wildlife.


Young Landscaper of the Year

Three pairs of finalists are each building and planting a portion of a garden designed by last year's Young Designer Competition winner Caitlin Mclaughlin

Each pair has been briefed interpret the design with a style of garden - urban, country or coastal.

Although the pairs work together, winners of each competition won't necessarily come from the same team because skills are assessed separately.

Urban Retreat - Let em Grow:

Designers; Giulio Passarelli and Karl Crowe

This garden is inspired by neglected urban spaces, where vegetation takes control over an unmanaged site, colonising tiny pockets of soil available between pavers or cracks in walls.

These sites are extremely valuable for their biodiversity due to the dense, complex layering of vegetation alongside limited human intervention, and they also help soak up stormwater run-off and reduce the urban heat island effect.

Therefore, gardeners are encouraged to take a less-stringent approach to managing their gardens to 'Let 'em Grow' and develop into more natural, wilder, richer places.

Countryside Garden - Arrange,Rearrange.

Designers; Anna Rhodes and Joshua McDonnell

This garden celebrates the cyclical llfecycle of plants.

This countryside garden showcases plants as a crop to be harvested and explores creative means to extend our appreciation of them.

With blurred edges, it welcomes native and local plants and as a productive garden, it trials the blend of the unusual and ornamental.

Compositions are in flux as the garden exhibits processes of growing, decomposing and reproducing, while harvesting, cutting, drying, arranging and displaying take place.

At the end of the show visitors will be able to take away bundles of cut flowers 'Rearrange'

Coastal Garden - Chaos to Coastline:

Designers; Ben Poulter and Elliot Hood

These two were awarded best designer / landscaper in this category

This coastal retreat offers a functional social space for clients to enjoy and a place to escape the hubbub of city living.

Divided into multiple areas and offering many levels, the designers have combined crisp, sharp lines of contemporary landscaping with a free flowing planting scheme in keeping with that of a coastal area



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