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Days out for gardeners
My, 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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