Days out for gardeners

by James Alexander-Sinclair

[...] playing around the flouncing skirts of the big RHS Shows are lots of smaller events for garden lovers, and there will absolutely, definitely be something local to you.

A group of a visitors at a horticultural showMy, we gardeners have been busy over the past few weeks. First the delightful Malvern Spring Show, then the pomp and circumstance that is the Chelsea Flower Show. Last week was the bustle of Gardeners World Live and before we know it we will be tumbling off into Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and then off up north to Tatton Park.

It must, however, not be forgotten that playing around the flouncing skirts of the big RHS Shows are lots of smaller events for garden lovers, and there will absolutely, definitely be something local to you.

For example, if you are in Dorset this coming weekend the Dorset Gardens Trust is taking over Chideock Manor for the day. There will be specialist plant stalls, flower arranging, cakes and a very distinguished team of lecturers (Anna Pavord, Tim Richardson, Kim Wilkie and Penelope Hobhouse). This event happens only every two years - coinciding neatly with both the World Cup and the Olympic Games if you need a rest from sport - so well worth a trip.

A similar event is going on in my neck of the woods, Northamptonshire, from Friday 25th-Sunday 27th June 2010. The Cottesbrooke Plantfinders Fair is in its third year and takes place in the grounds of one of the county's best gardens, Cottesbrooke Hall. There will be a fabulous array of nurseries selling interesting plants, more cake (where would the British summer be without cake?) and some great sundries (pots, seats, tools etc). The gardens are well worth a look - but I would say that seeing as I replanted the double borders there a couple of years ago. There are also lecturers: Alys Fowler on Sunday, Dan Pearson on Saturday and me on Friday.

Obviously the magnificent National Gardens Scheme will have gardens all over the country open this weekend, but there are also various smaller charities that also organise garden openings. One of those is Ian Rennie Hospice At Home who arrange for local gardens through the Chilterns to open in aid of this very good cause throughout June and July.

Also, remember that Scottish gardens have their own Yellow Book, so if you are north of the border (either permanently or on temporary secondment) then there are some fantastic places to visit.

I heard that the Scots do even better cake than the English but that might be too contentious an issue to investigate!

Wherever you are, there is always plenty to divert the gardener and it is always good to see what other people are up to: especially if there are plants to buy.

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Gardeners' World Web User 22/06/2010 at 08:41

Also there's the The Garden & Home Lovers Weekend at Shugborough early July

Gardeners' World Web User 24/06/2010 at 14:56

There is an excellent flower show in Harrogate, twice a year in April and September, held at the Great Yorkshire Showground. A must for we gardeners in the North.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/07/2010 at 20:39

I recently joined a local gardening club and now find myself seriously considering entering one or two classes of their Summer Show. Whilst I have details of pot size etc I am not sure of the finer details ie pot plant in flower - should the pot be clay or plastic (or does this not matter) - perhaps a plastic pot inserted in a clay one? If there is any compost visible should this be top dressed? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/07/2010 at 13:28

Ilove garderning but i don,t really know much any tips can be appreciated

Gardeners' World Web User 06/07/2010 at 10:25

Hazel: a good plant in a clay (or ornamental) pot will always look better than one in a plastic pot.

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