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Inspirational Show Gardens from RHS Tatton Park – 2012

All of The Royal Horticultural Society garden and flower shows prove to be extremely popular and are the go to events for amateur and professional gardeners alike. This year the Tatton Park Flower Show included some great ideas allowing the average gardener to take home and recreate many aspects of them; albeit on a smaller scale.

Vegetable Exhibitor - Olympics 2012
Vegetable Exhibitor - Olympics 2012

The RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

The show itself is one of the most recent on the RHS roster and is held at Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire. Originally the show was first planned for 1998 but ended up making its first appearance one year later in 1999. This debut was headed by Max de Soissons the organiser of the show with previous experience as RHS manager for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show in Birmingham.

Fast forward to 18th – 22nd July 2012 and the show still contains many of the original flower and garden show competitions and awards that continue to inspire all gardeners.

Barrie Thompson Garden Designer
Barrie Thompson Garden Designer

Awards and Competitions include the Young Designer of the Year Award and the RHS National Flower Bed Competition. There are a number of other high profile awards for show gardens, visionary gardens and traditional ‘back to back’ gardens. Highlights also include the floral design studio, plant plaza, floral marquee and the arts and heritage pavilion.

Highlights of the Show Gardens 2012

The gardens are perhaps the highlight of the show simply because of their scale, beauty and diversity. The plants and flowers are undoubtedly the stars but the garden designs are always inspiring and thought provoking.

The RHS show had five categories with specific briefs that the designers and producers needed to present and adhere to in their planning and final design. The prize categories for Best in Show awards included Best Show Garden, Best Visionary Garden, Best Orchestra Garden, RHS National Young Designer of the Year and Best Back to Back Garden. There was also an award The RHS People’s Choice smaller garden winner.

Best Show Garden – The Mornflake Garden (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed and Built by Janine Crimmins – Sponsored by Mornflake Cereals

Mornflake Garden - Gold Medal Winner
Mornflake Garden - Gold Medal Winner

The design was inspired by the traditional oat milling in Cheshire. The idea was to reflect the history and future of milling so the garden itself has traditional and modern aspects to it.

The garden promotes British craftsmanship and material that is traditional but used in a modern way. The garden contains magnificent dry stone walls done by local craftsman containing York stone.  The water feature is an integral part of this garden and it is originally inspired by a mill pond.

Mornflake Garden - Day 1
Mornflake Garden - Day 1

The feature conveys the power of water cascading down a weir that was essential to milling in days gone by. The surrounding walls convey the effect of ripples that expand out from the centre of the pond.

The plants were chosen to represent an oat field but in a modern setting with grasses and perennials. This natural feel was obtained by selecting free flowing plants and grasses. To create elements of surprise there is colour and texture planting interspersed throughout the garden.

Mornflake Garden - Day 6
Mornflake Garden - Day 6

This garden manages to combine great elements of British craftsmanship and the traditional milling industry to produce a super garden with a Gold Medal Award.

Best Visionary Garden – Untie the Wind (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed by Sheena Seeks and Built by Seeks Gardens

Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind
Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind

Sheena Seeks is a bespoke garden designer and is based in Edinburgh. Having previously won several RHS medals she has again delivered a really interesting garden with a very strong theme using unique design elements.

The garden is clearly inspired by wind instruments. The title of the garden is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth where the witches are said to have the power to ‘untie the winds’.

This garden really does manage to evoke the scale and magic of music with its large shapes and forms. There are bold elements with the huge black pipe that takes centre stage magnifying sound within it. Silver pipe ‘sound waves’ add real contrast with silver colour against a backdrop of sand and green foliage.

Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind
Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind

This garden manages to be unique while creating some great ideas for the smaller garden with its waves of grasses and pockets of colour.

Best Orchestra Garden – To the Beat (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed by Owen Morgan and Built by Mosaic Garden Design & Landscaping

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat
Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

As with all show gardens the planning and implementation is a pretty monumental task. This is Owen’s third RHS show and has previously won a silver medal and exhibited last year as a finalist in the RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year Competition.

Owen spent a long 7 months with his team to create the quite magnificent ‘To the Beat’ gold medal winning garden.

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat
Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

The design represents aspects of a drum as the title of the garden suggests. The centrepiece is a rippling pool that represents the drum head with the circled planting ‘vibrating’ out as waves.

The power of the drum can generate a mighty sound and an intense feel.  The garden represents this within the dramatic colourful waves of late flowering red and yellow Summer plants.

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat
Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

The result of To the Beat is a colourful and engaging garden with dramatic elements. It clearly represents a musical theme and contains aspects that the casual gardener can use to great effect.

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty (Silver Guilt Medal Winner)

Designed by Tristen Knight and Built by TKE Landscapes

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty
RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty

Tristen Knight is the proud winner of this year’s prestigious title and is the senior garden designer at Aralia Garden Design.

The Brownfield Beauty Garden was inspired by his love of 18th and 19th century architecture. The mechanical theme is reflected in the use of many industrial elements. RSJ steel joists are used to contain the water flow within the garden that has some strong visual elements.

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty
Concept - Brownfield Beauty

There are large metal Venetian like screens that divide the garden and can be open and shut in keeping with the modular theme. This modularity creates real flexibility within the garden and this was just one of the inspiring elements of this garden.

Brownfield Beauty - Day  1
Brownfield Beauty - Day 1

It’s not all harsh and industrial though as a softer look and feel is created through the use of tasteful planting. The traditional red and yellow hues of Summer plants are all well represented and go some way to combat the brownfield transformation.

Brownfield Beauty - Day  11
Brownfield Beauty - Day 11

The original redeveloped industrial site has truly risen from the dead in the form of this Brownfield Beauty.

Best Back to Back Garden – Peak Reflections (Silver Guilt Medal Winner)

Designed by Charlie Williams of Nook Design GK Wilson Garden Services Ltd

Best Back to Back Garden - Peak Reflections
Best Back to Back Garden - Peak Reflections

The Back to Back garden shows are unique to the Tatton Park Show. These small gardens, measuring just 6M x 4M, are based on the Victorian housing schemes that sprung up all over the North and Central areas of the country.

The smaller scale of these Back to back Show Gardens are still full great ideas for planting and small-scale hard landscaping. The amateur gardener has the opportunity to implement many of the ideas that the Peak Reflections Garden has to offer in particular.

The Peak District in Derbyshire is one of my favourite areas of the country because of its accessibility and the many changing landscapes. The White and Dark Peaks in particular provide a real contrast in their differing landscapes with changing light and feel. As such, I have a slight bias towards this garden and what it represents.

The Peak Reflections Garden brings in clever features using water to provide a reminder of former railway lines, dry stone walling representing local crafts and history, along with great ideas for planting.

Despite all the different colours of planting and textures in the garden there is still a sense of harmony.

The long thin water channel, between the grass and plant bedding, provides darker contrast and reflects the sky above. This also gives the visitor another view of the nearby planting to give extra interest to the garden.

The beautiful dry stone walling is common place in the Peaks and acts as an enclosure for the garden. The wall looks amazing – simply inviting you to hop over it to explore the wonderful fields beyond.

This is a beautiful small garden that’s functional but contains clever planting along with simple design.

Sources:

http://www.rhs.org.uk – Royal Horticultural Society

http://www.mornflake.com – Garden Design Sponsor

http://www.sheena-seeks.co.uk – Garden Designer

http://www.barriethompson.com – Garden Designer

http://www.mosaicgardens.co.uk – Garden Designers

http://www.owenjmorgan.co.uk – Garden Designer

http://www.facebook.com/AraliaGardenDesignUK – Garden Designer

http://www.gardensandlandscapes.co.uk – Garden Designers

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