Category Archives: garden shows

Cottesbrooke Gardener’s Fair 2012 – Friday

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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.

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As gardeners tend to manage in all weathers, numbers through the gates were high.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The show goes on tomorrow and Sunday, and you shouldn’t be put off if you wear a decent raincoat and wellies.

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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 . . .

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Cottesbrooke Gardener’s Fair celebrates fifth anniversary in June 2012

Cottesbrooke Gardeners’ Fair (formerly the Plant Finder’s fair) is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year offering lots of plants for sale from some of the country’s most prestigious nurseries.

The Fair, held in the stunning grounds of Cottesbrooke Hall in Northamptonshire, takes place from 22-24 June and is open daily from 10:00am – 5:30pm.

Parking is promised to be better this year although visitors may have to expect some queueing seeing as it is located in a lovely rural village. Ignore the satnav and follow the signs.

Speakers are always a highlight at Cottesbrooke – and this year you can catch Helen Yemm, Chris Beardshaw, Cleve West, James Alexander Sinclair and River Cottage’s Mark Diacono sharing their wisdom. Talks are £5, bookable in advance when you buy tickets , or first come, first served on the day.  Top topiary snipper Jake Hobson will be offering wisdom for free.

In the Skills Tent will be a free rolling programme of practical, drop-in/drop-out, hands-on talks and demonstrations given by horticultural experts from Northamptonshire’s Moulton College. Subjects range from sustainable water use, allotment gardening, pests and pruning to general gardening advice. It is not necessary to book – first come, first served.

In the Inspire Tent, hosted by James Alexander-Sinclair, you can have a free 20-minute, one-to-one session with a garden designer to help you with your own garden design challenges. These are bookable on the day on a first come/first served basis.

There are over 70 hand-picked exhibitors including some of Britain’s leading specialist nurseries and growers.

There will be extra food stalls this year too, or you might want to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds. There’s also a chance to have a posh tea on the lawn with full china, tea and cakes.

The ticket price is £12 on the door Friday and Saturday and £10 on Sunday (it’s £9.60 or £8 in advance by calling 0845 130 7778) and children 14 and under are free. (The website booking seems to change a £2 fee, which seems to defeat the object of buying in advance).

This includes free entry to the gardens, plant shuttle, parking and Plant Swap. There is also a NGS Plant Creche for visitors, and additional car parking in place for this year.

Upon arrival to the event please do not use satnav, but follow directional signage.  If you have pre-paid tickets follow signs for the HALL CAR PARK and please have tickets ready and display rear-view mirror hanger.  Visitors who wish to buy tickets on the day must follow signs for the AVENUE CAR PARK.

It’s a lovely day out if you love your plants. We’d recommend taking plenty of cash for your purchases. And perhaps a brolly, although we hope you won’t need it.

Here’s a link to pictures from last year’s Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair

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Video of the slide down from the Westland Magic garden at Chelsea Flower Show (that big pyramid thing)

I can only apologise for the terrible witch-like cackle at the beginning and end of this video. However, I did come down from this enormous several storey garden in a metal slide. he poor chap at the end is just a random person who happened to come down after me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To get up there, first you queue – unless you are a celebrity in which case you queue-jump – then you go up a few floors in a lift. The queue is long.  I probably wasted an hour of garden exploring but figured it would be worth the wait. Goodness only knows if they will be opening up on public days – the queues will be enormous.

Inside is a LOT of scaffolding, but also a lot of plants. And planters. And trees, and a greenhouse, and a shed. It’s an extraordinary thing Diarmuid Gavin has created.

Once out of the lift there are two very steep, very rickety wooden ladders to climb to get the view from the top. Then you have to navigate them backwards to get down to the top of the slide (there are more ladders if you want to descend by steps or you can wait for the five-person lift).

The slide is the easiest way to get down, and it is fun, although you do go very fast.

Is it a show garden? Yes of course it is. And worth it just for the inevitable headaches it will have given Heath & Safety officers.

All words and pictures © Northamptonshire Gardens

 

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The ridiculous garden – (or the Westland pyramid), a Health & Safety bad dream

Pictures © Northamptonshire Gardens

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Diarmuid’s pyramid from the inside

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More RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012 pictures

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All images © Northamptonshire Gardens

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Diarmuid Does it Again: Show stealing pyramid dominates press day at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Diarmuid Gavin’s big slide

IT’S that time again, garden designers and plantsmen are in a state of panic as Chelsea Flower Show press day arrives.

An strangely subdued air to this year’s build-up – there are 16 large show gardens and Main Avenue seems somewhat empty.

Brewin Dolphin

But what is there is pretty spectacular. On the first corner as you come in from Garden Gate past the Royal Hospital is Cleve West’s Brewin Dolphin (that’s a company by the way) garden.

Next is Joe Swift’s Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust garden. The designer was banned from presenting the BBC’s usual nightly coverage this year, as were all the presenters who are exhibiting, on the grounds of impartiality. (They are probably quite busy and knackered too.)

Thomas Hoblyn’s Arthritis Research Garden has some impressively tall skinny cypress trees as its backdrop.

Joe Swift for Homebase

Andy Sturgeon’s M&G garden comes next, with its copper rings coming out of the water feature. Lovely planting though.

Arne Maynard has returned to Chelsea this year after a 12 year absence for Laurent-Perrier, and although the pink punctuation is gorgeous, it was looking a little floppy on Monday morning.

Sarah Price’s Telegraph Garden next door is quite muted, but again the plants are the star.

Across the path is the RBC Blue Water Garden (which I read as the BBC Blue Peter Garden on first glance), by Olympic Park designer Professor Nigel Dunnett, with a distinctive conical-roofed seating area.

Joe Swift, in there somewhere

Don’t miss Jo Thompson’s gorgeous Celebration of Caravanning garden on the opposite side of the run, with so much delicious planting crammed into the space it seems Doris the caravan might never actually hit the road.

Across from Jo is Adam Frost’s Land’s End: a Rural Muse, which apparently draws inspiration from Northamptonshire’s own 19th century wandering poet John Clare.

Coming down to the end of Main Avenue all eyes shoot upwards. You simply cannot avoid the ridiculously huge and rather scary-looking pyramid offering from the ever-adventurous Diarmuid Gavin. Which has a slide from the top. It simply has to be seen to be believed, the scale of it is so enormous. I feel slightly sorry for the Quiet Time:

DMZ Forbidden Garden which is simply dwarfed on what is usually the key site.

Thomas Hoblyn for Arthritis Research

MORE TO FOLLOW . . .

All words and pictures © Northamptonshire Gardens

Jo Thompson for the Caravan Club

Telegraph Garden

Arne Maynard Laurent-Perrier

M&G garden by Andy Sturgeon

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Off to Chelsea Flower Show 2012

So, what will we see at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show?
Northamptonshire Gardens will be live blogging the action throughout the day, at least, until we get kicked out for the queen’s private view . . .

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Northamptonshire Gardens at HTA national plant show

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Want to know what new plants will be jostling for space in your garden next year? NG visits the trade plant show where breeders and nurseries try and catch the eye of retailers in a multi million pound industry. We’ll be posting plants up (for as long as technology allows)!

Interesting chat with British firm euroflora about their carnivorous plants. Very pretty, very hardy, like sun but most sales are to continent not UK.

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Some pictures from Friday at Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair

A successful fourth Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair took place this weekend. There’s a photo gallery here which shows Friday’s opening, courtesy of @nosylocaljourno Hilary Scott.

The show had lots of quality plantsmen and talks from highly regarded garden writers and designers included in the entry price.

There were some issues on Friday when visitors had to wait in traffic jams for an hour or more just to get in, and the event certainly needs more loos and food options. It certainly something tricky for the organisers – the event is clearly attracting more visitors but a lot of its charm comes from the fact it is held on a small country estate with small country roads. The solution may be to show/buy tickets once the car/coach has parked up.

The weather held out and hopefully visitors took the chance to look at the beautiful gardens, tended by Phylip Statner and his team.

Some people travel miles to this fair and its quality of plants is undeniable. Hopefully by ironing out some access issues it will continue to be an essential date on the garden calender and thrive in Northants for years to come.

What were your thoughts/experiences?

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