Plant fanatics braved the weather on day one of the fifth annual Cottesbrooke Gardener’s Fair.
While there were no queues for the car park, visitors did have to cope with rather a lot of mud.
As gardeners tend to manage in all weathers, numbers through the gates were high.
But some visitors voiced surprise the show wasn’t cancelled, especially after coaches got stuck in the boggy conditions and the passengers were asked to walk the rest of the way.
The fair is bigger than when it launched as the plant finders’ fair five years ago, and the organisers have done well to spread the excellent nurseries and craftsmen down the hill.
The food and drink stalls are far more plentiful and you can take picnics. There’s still free access to Cottesbrooke’s gorgeous gardens, and talks and advice this year from the likes of Chris Beardshaw, Helen Yemm, Mark Diacono, Coton Manor’s Caroline Tait and James Alexander Sinclair.
Saturday will see Chelsea gold medal-winning Cleve West added to the bill.
On Friday there were a lot of people leaving by lunchtime, possibly because of the rain and boggy car park, but all seemed to have cars full of plants. The majority stayed and, dressed for the weather as gardeners sensibly are, enjoyed the Cottesbrooke gardens.
By 4pm, the sun had come out. Hopefully the ground will dry out a little overnight.
There’s not a lot Cottesbrooke could have done about the weather, and the car park team did a great job helping anyone whose car needed a push and there’s even a tractor on standby.
The show goes on tomorrow and Sunday, and you shouldn’t be put off if you wear a decent raincoat and wellies.
There’s some great plants for sale and even in the rain, Cottesbrooke is a lovely garden visit. And at least it’s not the Isle of Wight!
Fingers crossed for a couple of dry days . . .