Last week was the North West of England's largest flower show. I had a fabulously enjoyable day in the company of old friends: it really was well worth the ensuing pain! The image above is of a mound of agapanthus which dominated the entrance to the main Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) marquee.
I have a few allergies and am uncertain whether agapanthus cause one of them. However, there were loads of ideas for garden planting. This year eryngiums were ubiquitous.
The stunning blue colour of the variety in the upper image, and taking into account having travelled several times through Los Picos (in northern Spain), would stimulate fond memories if planted in my garden. In the lower photograph is one of the eryngiums also known as sea-holly. These are silver-white, just perfect for my 'white' garden. Also handy as a barrier to potential trespassers given all those barbs! Oh splendid whiteness!
I should like a water-feature without attaching such to the water-supply and so had been looking at miniature ponds. In the first photo is a lovely example from Waterside Nursery (Leicestershire). The simplicity of the granite bowl would blend unobtrusively in my Japanese garden. Another example in the second picture from D'Arcy & Everest (Cambridgeshire) surrounded by miniature Alpine planting (their speciality) would also blend in if a different coloured stone were available.
As ever at these events there were plenty of experimental displays. Here a wall of re-used wine-bottles - shimmering, tactile, æsthetic - proved to be a magnet as old & young were drawn to it, many with smiles on their faces. Me too! %)
The highlight of the whole event for myself was catching up in the flesh (as opposed to via social media) with 'old' friend Jacqui, hubby Dickie and Mum Sue. Jacqui is perhaps more widely and better known as The Hungry Gardener, a designer and builder of edible gardens. Her entry to the show this year was situated in the RHS Fruit & Vegetable Pavilion, the only set garden that was. It was entitled "The Garden-Party". Jacqui deservedly earned a silver medal (although personally I believe it merited a gold!). Note the cress-upholstered chairs and Sue's edible flower display! Fantastic! I just wish I had had the sense to purchase a lemon verbena, as I have been unable to source elsewhere for the past two years and mine perished in the deep winter a couple of years back. Maybe next year!
[Image description: chums seated on the grass during our first collapse.]
Now to the whingeing. It was nigh impossible to find any seating or even somewhere to eat/drink as the facilities just could not cope with the sheer numbers of visitors. For disabled folk like myself, this proved problematic. Eventually I had to just plonk myself on the grass. Thankfully I had a strong, burly guy to pull me back up. Given that the main audience for the show were shall we say the more mature end of the market, I believe the failure to provide adequate seating at least remiss and likely discriminatory. Interestingly, most of the garden designers had also failed to take account of disabled folks' needs. Heigh-ho!