Met up with our friends from the north - John and Barbara, Bernard and Jennifer and Bill and Brenda - at the RHS Tatton Flower Show. Plants, flowers, gardens and exhibits aside, this is a splendid excuse to get together and enjoy a glass of chilled champagne while swapping news and gossip. We all seemed bronzed, relaxed, fit and well. Only Bill felt inclined to tune in to the world of work. Bill, put that phone away! Now. Lovely to see them all again and thanks, John, for your invitation.
I think the weather was as hot as it gets - apparently the hottest since 1911. (Back here our thermometer under the cat-slide recorded a high of 35 degrees - I imagine on the show ground it exceeded that.) Being members' day it was not too crowded and one could actually get a look at the show gardens without being elbowed, pushed and shoved.
And what were the gardens like? I felt I'd seen it all before - some nice ideas and pretty planting. But the WOW! factor wasn't there. Once again the 'back-to-back garden category came up trumps. My personal favourite was BBC Northwest Tonight's 'Classroom Jungle' designed by Janine Crimmins, described thus:
'This garden is intended specifically for children aged between seven and 11. A jungle theme has been chosen to appeal to a child'’s sense of adventure.The design allows children to feel lost among the plants, and to enjoy exploring their way through the garden. To reach the central seating area, the children must push their way through the plants overhanging a hardwood pathway and step through an opening in the wall. Moving through the seating area, they step out over a pebble mosaic of a lizard, and between two more walls, one low enough to perch on and one with a small window to peek through. The walls are painted in deep red and orange to add vibrant colour to the garden.'
I don't think either the drawing or the photograph do justice to the garden - it was an intensely vibrant space, beautifully planted. Next week it will be rebuilt in the grounds of the primary school in Liverpool who were lucky enough to win it.
Interestingly the Reaseheath Garden which I had admired at the NEC a month ago, and which earned a 'Gold' and "Best in Show', here received only a 'Silver'. I wonder if this was because it lacked freshness and its construction looked a little tired - all the other elements were the same.
We left as the showground closed for the day - there were few cars left in the car park so ours was easy to spot, thank goodness! (All silver cars look the same to me...) Back home to the end of Long Mountain where all was still and quiet. We sat in the garden with a glass of wine and watched clouds roll in from the south. As the light fell a few bats fluttered amongst the trees in the dingle and a solitary owl hooted from Badnage Wood. And so to bed.