Tag Archives: James Alexander Sinclair

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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New opening for the NGS at Collingtree, August 21

A new opening for the National Gardens Scheme charity this weekend as Jenny and Jim Redmond open Karell House, Collingtree Park, Northamptonshire, NN4 0PB on Sunday between 12noon and 5pm.

A large garden next to Collingtree golf course and the brook, the well-loved garden has manicured lawns, tree peonies, herbaceous borders and many shrubs and unusual plants. There are teas and cakes for sale and there is access for wheelchairs except for by the river bank.

Follow sign to Collingtree Park Golf Course, left onto winding Brook Lane, third right onto Turnberry Lane, first right onto Belfrey Lane

AS the gardening season comes to an end there are still a handful of openings in September, and most of the big homes and gardens stay open to the public until October to show off the autumnal colours.

One up and coming event worth marking in your diary is being held on September 3-4.

Althorp’s Garden Art Weekend, includes talks by garden experts Nick Hamilton from Barnsdale and local boy James Alexander Sinclair. There will also be ‘live’ wood carving by chainsaw artists Peter Schwartz and Carrie Yeun. More info to come.

 

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And the Queen approved too. Chelsea Flower Show photos from Monday’s press day

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Northants Gardens got the chance to visit Chelsea Flower Show on Monday, press day. This is when the judging takes place and the press are booted out at 3.30pm before the Royal Family visits and a gala dinner takes place.

Cleve West’s Daily Telegraph Garden took Best in Show, as many designers battled with weather that for once, was actually too good. Plants were at least two weeks ahead of schedule and some last-minute changes had to be made. All in all a beautiful day, blessed with sunny weather while back in Northants there were welcome downpours.

Here’s a few photos from the plant pavilion and show gardens. If you have a chance to visit Chelsea this week, let us know what you think.

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Cottesbrooke Plant Finders’ Fair – expensive plant supermarket or enriching day-out?

Cottesbrooke Plant Finders’ Fair started four years ago in the grounds of a magnificent stately home in Northamptonshire.

The ethos was to be up-market, presumably to entice the wealthy North London-folks up the M1. Potential exhibitors, paying a lot for a stand on which to sell their wares, were vetted before being allowed into what was being pitched as an exclusive club. Garden gnomes and bedding petunias wouldn’t be entertained in such exclusive company.

However, after a slow start, and despite the economic climate, the up-market  ethos seems to have worked. The number of exhibitors at the Cottesbrooke plant fair for 2011 has nearly doubled from year one and currently stands at 60.

This year’s fair is set to take place from Friday June 24th – Sunday June 26th and is open daily from 10:00am until 5:30pm

For the uninitiated,the Plant Fair brings a lot of nurseries and horticultural sundries all together in one place selling their wares, plus your admission fee gives you a chance to tour the very lovely gardens.

There are also high-profile guest speakers, including Dan Pearson, Helen Yemm, Stephen Lacey, Val Bourne, Derry Watkins, Juliet Roberts and local garden buffs Ursula Buchan and James Alexander Sinclair. Last year they charged extra for access to the talks but the 2011 entry fee includes the talks (subject to availability (of seats, presumably)). 

There’s a plant crèche to stash your purchases, a free plant swap for those organised enough to bring a pot of something with them and help available to take purchases back to the car park.

A word of advice: The food queue was horrendous last year so a picnic might be advisable. It’s not too far from the car park to nip back for your lunch.

A mixture of plant nurseries from as far afield as Ireland will attend, including Crûg Farm Plants from North Wales. Visitors can see craft demonstrations and browse the garden sundry stands including two from Holland who specialise in tools.

Carla Cooper, Cottesbrooke’s Administrator said “This is all good for the local economy and in time may give the county’s tourism a little boost. In fact next year we hope to offer local hoteliers a preferential ticket price so that they can offer a Fair weekend break deal”. 

Here’s the price for up-market though: entry to the fair is £8.50 on the gate. Thankfully, this year there is an advance booking line where tickets are £6.50, although annoyingly, there’s an additional £1 ‘booking fee’ PER TICKET. The booking line is 0845 130 7778 and charged at a local rate. Children get in free.

If the weather stays fine, this could be the CPFF’s best year yet. Visit www.cottesbrookehall.co.uk for more details and a list of exhibitors and speakers.

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