Becky has kindly shared her review of BBC Gardeners' World Live:
My day out at BBC Gardener’s World Live Special Edition 2021
There were so many highlights of such an incredible show that I almost don’t know where to begin, do I start by describing the beautifully immaculate show gardens and floral exhibits? Or do I begin by summarising some of the unique and exciting talks that happened on the Gardener’s World stage? One thing I know for certain is that I must start by establishing a clear picture in your minds, one of a chilly late summer day (everyone, including me, still in summer dresses regardless!) filled with colour and excitement. Everywhere you look there are people with their flower show baskets on wheels, filling them to the brim with late summer perennials and spring bulbs from specialist nurseries. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Monty Don or Adam Frost, filming segments of the program in show gardens (each of which is inspiringly different from the next.) Or perhaps you would choose to head straight to the Plant Village to immerse yourself in the atmosphere – and try to grab a few bargains while you’re at it! So I hope that I have made it clear that this was a show that was filled with inspiration – for gardeners and non-gardeners alike – and a show that has made it clear to all who visit that Summer is not quite over yet!
I thought it would only be appropriate to continue now by going into more detail about the show gardens at Gardener’s World Live, since show gardens are perhaps the focal point of any flower show. Extremely sought after by top garden designers, medals are awarded to the best of these gardens, prompting all to be of the highest quality. As well as traditional show gardens, at the show they also had a category designated to ‘Beautiful Borders.’ These were fundamentally miniature show gardens, and were inspiring to all passers by due to the evidence that so many adept planting techniques can be packed in the smallest of spaces. I personally particularly was drawn to those borders which had a focus on wildlife, and also those which mixed both edible and ornamental plants to make the space productive and still beautiful.
As for the show gardens themselves, there were just so many to see! Each was so different from the next, and all had a thoughtful meaning and message. I was walking around, phone in hand, taking pictures of almost every show garden I saw. It is so true that a flower show is one of the best places you can go as a gardener to gain inspiration! Perhaps my favourite show garden, and the one that unsurprisingly and deservedly won ‘Best in Show’ was “Woodland Fall” by Antony Nutley and Tom Wooldridge of Anthony Lionel Landscapes. This garden was centred around the same shade of purple, which was picked up in the outdoor furniture, cushions, candles and planting. The repetition of such a vivid colour paired with lush green foliage made the garden have a classy and sophisticated feel – my kind of garden! While passing by, I was lucky enough to get very close to Monty Don and Lucy Hall (editor of the magazine) complete with film crew, being filmed while conversing in the garden. I could hear fragments of what they were saying, and they were both drawn to the use of ferns and multiple silver birch trees in the garden, which made it feel large, tranquil and secluded.
I must mention some of the other gardens, and my favourites included ‘On Your Bike’ (a garden where all structures were made out of old bike parts) and the ‘Allotment’ (a feature garden filled with some of the most perfect veggies I have ever seen!) So I think it’s fair to say that the show gardens this year at BBC Gardener’s World live did not disappoint. Despite the show being in August, when typically being held in June, all gardens were packed with late summer colour and inspiration that will make your garden look good all Summer long!
Now imagine you have stepped inside the floral marquee, the air is warmer here and you are overwhelmed by the buzz of activity going on inside. Maybe you will choose to first walk around the specialist nurseries and exhibits (buying a few plants on the way of course!) or perhaps a cup of tea awaits you in the Subscriber Lounge, where you may be surprised by a famous guest doing a Q+A session on the small stage. While at the show you would have to set aside some time to admire the floral displays, all kinds of plants are represented: from sunflowers and sweet peas to bonsai trees and herbs – there was truly something for every plant fanatic inside the floral marquee! As a houseplant lover I particularly appreciated the ‘House of Plants’ feature, and also enjoyed queueing up for my free rowan tree from the Woodland Trust. (We named the tree Adam, why wouldn’t we!?) But I have been stalling too long and am now itching to describe perhaps the highlight of my day – hearing Monty Don speak on the Gardener’s World Stage. Despite arriving for the talk 30 mins early, every seat was taken and I was lucky to find a standing spot very near the front, as the area filled up it soon became clear he was going to become one of the show’s main attractions! When he came on and began to speak, the crowd was all in awe of his “down to earth” attitude and way with words, he described the creation of his garden at Longmeadow poetically yet frankly, and gave useful tips and admitted mistakes while providing advice and even answering a few questions from the crowd. The talk was a success (anyone would have said that due to the sheer length of applause that followed) and the atmosphere in the marquee stayed on a continued high. I know I will make a lot of people jealous by telling you this, but I was lucky enough to get my book of his, “The Complete Gardener,” (which I had brought all the way to Birmingham) signed by Monty himself! To this day I am still buzzing and will tell anyone who will listen!
But the show did not just stop at that, and there was so much to see, do and buy outside of the marquee. I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the rows of trade stands, everything and anything gardening related you could possibly want was being sold somewhere at the show! There was loads, from garden tools and ladders to plants and seeds - that’s where you come in Lizzie! I was so happy to finally be able to meet Lizzie from The Rose Press Garden in real life at the show. Her stand was just stunning, I personally think the prettiest one there, and she was selling her iconic Flower Seed Advent Calendars while providing tips and advice and promoting her brand. I always love to meet people I know from the Instagram gardening community, and take pictures for our grids of course. (I would also just like to add that my Rose Press Garden tote bag is now my go-to bag!)
As a fairly young person and gardener, shows like Gardener’s World Live just blow my mind! I still remember every detail and I am already planning to look back on my glorious pictures on a cold winter’s day. I imagine it’s the same for every gardener really, rarely is there the opportunity for so many like minded people to come together (and buy plants of course!) The show was even inspiring to those who aren’t particularly interested in gardening too. My Dad (who drove us there and carried my plants) suddenly exclaimed when we left the show “I suddenly get what you do now!”
Thank you Becky for sharing your kind words and review of BBC Gardener's World Live- it was a brilliant weekend to be a part of and I loved meeting Becky and lots more people who wanted to learn more about The Rose Press Garden too!