show gardens

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I’ve wrote a couple of articles on Southport Flower Show in the past few days.  Today’s is all about the Show Gardens.  The garden above is by Greg Mook of Mook Gardens, they named it Keep Cool & Carry On.  It was awarded a Large Gold Medal.

The theme for year was ‘cool’, the garden reflected the theme in the colours of the planting.  They used plants in blues mixed with black foliage plants.  The tall verbenas and agapanthus looked great set against the white walls of the garden.

This garden by Crosby Landscapes featured a cool pink and white theme with clipped box trees.  A waterfall in the corner flowed into a pool which ran through the garden, stepping stones crossed the water to reach the seating area. The garden won a Large Gold Medal.

This garden featured Verbena bonariensis as well, it was popular at Southport this year, as it was at Tatton Flower Show.  The designers verbena around the walls of the garden.  Myerscough College were awarded a Large Gold Medal for their design.  The garden was named Personal Serenity, the cool shades of lilac, purple and white created a very tranquil space.

The Cool Runnings garden is by Brian Caunce Paving.  It won a Large Gold Medal and was based around the Jamaican bob sled team.  The central path reflects the bob sled track winding through the garden.

The Coronation Street garden was commissioned by Southport Flower Show to celebrate Coronation Street’s trip to the seaside.  It features the famous chimney pots from the street, the bar from The Rovers Return Pub and street sign. A chill out area was provided with a comfy sofa which was surrounded by planted beds and traditional red brick walls.

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I enjoyed a grand day out at Victoria Park yesterday, despite the damp weather. A bit of drizzle didn’t put off visitors, the show was very busy.  Last week I featured an article about what you could expect at Southport Flower Show. Today’s article has a few snippets from what I saw at the show.  Over the next few days I’ll feature some more articles on the show gardens and floral designs.  Visitors queued up to have their photo taken with a pint at the Rovers Return, in the Coronation Street garden.  The garden includes features the famous street sign, the bar and chimney pots.

Southport Flower Show has the largest amateur growers competition in the country.  Competitors bring their home grown flowers, plants and vegetables, all keen to be crowned the best in their chosen category. There were some beautiful examples, grown by talented amateur growers, including the biggest leeks I’ve ever seen!

Visitors were entertained with bird of prey displays, medieval knights and live music throughout the day.  I took a break from plants and flowers to watch The Knights of the Damned display of ye olde English jousting.

The Grand Floral Marquee contained displays from 66 exhibitors.  The marquee showcases everything from cottage garden flowers to Bonsai trees, all grown by specialists.  Visitors can get expert advice and buy plants and seeds direct from the growers.


Tomorrow (Sunday 19th August) is the last day of the show, it’s open 10am till 5pm.  If you’ve not got tickets, you can buy them on the door for £21, concession tickets are £18.  Kids under 16 get free entry when accompanied by an adult.

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Southport Flower Show starts next week, from 16th to 19th August in Victoria Park, Southport.  It’s the largest independant flower show and this is it’s 83rd year.  The official theme is ‘Cool’, gardeners and growers will be reflecting the theme in their designs.


Visitors will see inspiring show gardens, exciting floral design and exquisite flower exhibits.  A new feature for this year is the Edible Gardening Festival, which aims to inspire us all to grow our own fruit and vegetables.  The show features one of the largest amateur growing competitions and floral art competitions open to everyone.


A host of famous faces will be at the show including Professor David Bellamy, Simon Rimmer, Alys Fowler, Sir Roddy Llewellyn, and Christine Walkden.  There is live music and entertainment throughout the week including The Knights of the Damned jousting display and Ben Potter’s Hawk experience.  The Floral Arts Marquee will be running demonstrations throughout the week.


For the first time the show will also include The Northwest Food festival and the Northwest Book Festival.  Simon Rimmer is the Food Festival’s patron and will be showing visitors how to make some of his favourite recipes in the cookery theatre on Saturday. There will be gourmet treats to sample and lots of food and drink to buy.  The book festival will feature authors from all genres, who will be reading their work, meeting fans and signing books.

If you’ve not got your ticket yet, you can still buy them on the door for £21, £18 for concessions.  Children under 16 can enter free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

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I featured The Mornflake Garden on my blog on Tuesday, it won the award for best Show Garden.  I’ve included a two of my favourite Show Gardens in today’s blog. The full list of medals is available at the bottom of the page.

The garden above is Remount sponsored by Brett Landscaping and Gaze Burvill.  It was designed by Stephen Dennis and Platinum Gardens.  The garden was awarded a silver-gilt medal. The design features an old barn, which has been turned into a modern space.  The beautiful planting in pinks and blues complements and softens the paving.


This garden is aptly named Nature Squared.  I love the gabion wall filled with textured materials to create lots of nooks and crannies for crawly creatures. The garden was designed and made by students at Reaseheath College in Nantwich and sponsered by Trentham Gardens.  It has clipped vertical structures and geometric shapes, which have created multiple habitat niches to encourage native wildlife.  The the vibrant herbaceous planting helps attract pollinating insects.  The garden shows how it is possible to have contemporary design whilst encouraging biodiversity.


List of Medals for Show Gardens

Best Show Garden:
The Mornflake Garden – designed by Janine Crimmins
Built by Andrew Loudon

The Mornflake Garden – designed by Janine Crimmins
Built by Andrew Loudon

World without Torture – by Howard & Dori Miller
Built by Landstruction

Silver-Gilt Flora:
A Taste of Ness – designed by Phillippa Probert
Built by Outer Spaces

Nature Squared – designed by Reaseheath College
Built by Reaseheath College

Remount – designed by Stephen Dennis & Platinum Gardens
Built by Platinum Gardens

Interplantatary Travel – A Flight of Fancy – designed by Tatton Park Gardens
Built by Tatton Park Gardens

Silver Flora:
Time & Tide: Cauldwell’s & Canute – designed by Jacquetta Menzies & Christine Wilcox-Baker
Built by WAP Lawton & Son Ltd with Cheshire Gardens Trust Volunteers

Reflections – designed by Harry Levy
Built by The Pond Building Company

Metamorphosis – designed by prison staff and prisoners on Release on Temporary Licence

Making a Splash – designed by Jackie Knight
Built by Jackie Knight Landscapes

Enchantment – designed by Clare Edwards and Claire Skidmore
Built by Muddy Boots, The Garden Builders

A Year in the life of DreamScheme – designed by Young people from New Charter DreamScheme
Built by New Charter Building Company

Bronze Flora:
Ring the Changes – designed by Will & Amber Lyon
Built by Together trust & The Manchester College

The Modern Romantics – designed by Carolyn Hardern
Built by Carolyn R Hardern Garden Design, S3i Stainless Steel Solutions, K&S Nursery, Andrew Collin, Mottershead Paving, Redwood Stone, Greenwood Oak Ltd

A Perfect Match – designed by Harry’s Gold Stars
Built by Harry’s Gold Stars

The Diamond Garden – designed by Russell Watkinson
Built by Russell Watkinson

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Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will flock to Tatton Park next week. The RHS flower show is mecca for flower enthusiasts and garden lovers in the North West.  The show is packed with gorgeous plants, garden inspiration and lots of goodies to buy.  It starts Wednesday 18th and runs for five days until Sunday 22nd.  If you plan to visit on Sunday, stay until the end of the day for the plant sale, when you might get a few bargains as exhibits are sold off.

The RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year competition takes place at Tatton Flower Show.  The competition is open to garden designers aged 28 or under.  Entries were submitted in January and the three finalists were short listed to compete at Tatton.  Andrew Percival, 26 from Northwich is creating a public garden designed to be used 24 hours a day in an urban setting.  Katharine Wills, 25 from London, has named her garden A Prison Garden for rehabilitation through Well-Being, using colours and design to encourage social interaction and stimulate peaceful and uplifting sensations.  Tristen Knight, 28 from Hertfordshire has designed a garden to show how forgotten industrial buildings on brown field sites can be resurrected and transformed into places of beauty.

An exciting new category this year is Orchestra gardens.  Four show gardens have been designed to reflect a different part of an orchestra.  The gardens represent string, brass, woodwind and percussion.  The category will inspire visitors to think differently about gardens and show how you can combine gardening with other passions. The Visionary Garden section is designed to challenge traditional perceptions of gardens.  By combining art and sculpture with horticulture, the aim is to break the boundaries of conventional garden design.


School children from around the North West are also getting involved in gardening at Tatton.  21 primary schools are taking part in the Jubilant Diamond Jubilee container competition, which celebrates the Queens’s 60 year reign. Visitors can vote for their favourite entry and the winning schools will be awarded garden centre vouchers.  Schools have been growing their own plants for the small, Front-to-Front Gardens as well.  These small gardens are 3m x 3m and are inspired by children’s television programmes.  Characters from The Magic roundabout, Postman Pat and Doctor Who will feature in the designs.

This years National Flowerbed Competition is themed around sports, to celebrate this years Olympics.  Lancaster City Council is creating a bed themed on cycling.  It will highlight the coast-to-coast cycle route, the Way of Roses that links Morecambe and Bridlington.  Other sports represented include archery, swimming, canoeing, long jump and running.

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