RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2011
The Tatton Park Flower Show is one of the big three annual RHS flower shows and is set in the beautiful historic estate of Tatton Park, Cheshire.
For the past few years I have regularly attended the two big annual RHS flower shows, namely the Chelsea Flower Show and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. This is the first year however that I have visited their younger sibling, the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in Cheshire. At a mere 12 years old it is a relatively new show, although still managing to attract an estimated 100,000 visitors this year.
Like its elder counterparts, Tatton Park includes all of the features that you would expect of a major RHS flower show, namely the large floral marquee (where you can also purchase plants from many of the 82 exhibitors), 15 show gardens, flower arrangements and a host of trade stands to tempt you to part with your hard earned cash. Being situated in Cheshire it also attracts many exhibitors from the north that you don't find exhibiting at the more southerly shows. This helps to give the Tatton Park show a distinct, regional feel.
Tatton Park also has a few unique features of its own that you won't find at any of the other shows. These include:
- RHS National Flower Bed Competition with 14 entries
- 14 Back-to-Back Gardens
- 6 Visionary Gardens
- 26 School "Countries of the World" Front-to-Front Gardens
- 4 Football Gardens
- RHS Young Designer of the Year (3 gardens)
The main show gardens are not in the same league as Chelsea, or to a lesser extent Hampton Court, but nonetheless can still be quite inspiring. Some common plants seen among many of the gardens include Achillea, Eryngium, Verbena bonariensis and Silver Birch.
I always tend to prefer the smaller show gardens at the RHS shows as they are far more achievable for the average gardener and in this respect Tatton Park offers 14 "Back-to-Back" small gardens to whet your appetite.
The six visionary gardens are very similar to the Concept Gardens at Hampton Court; a bit avant garde.
The show also featured 4 themed "football" gardens and 26 themed "Countries of the World" Front-to-Front gardens designed and built by local school children.
Flower Bed Displays
The flower bed displays are a distinctly unique feature to the Tatton Park flower show, attracting 14 entries this year from places as far afield as Dumfries in Scotland to Jersey in the Channel Isles. Each flower bed has its own theme, which is planted out in bedding plants similar to many local council flower beds seen across the country. Themes at this year's show range from the humble potato to the World War II dam-busting Lancaster bomber.
Edible Plants and Gardens
Like the Hampton Court flower show, Tatton Park features fruit and vegetable growing prominently across the show from some of the show gardens through to a marquee displaying amazing examples of home grown produce. Once you have seen the prize specimens on display your own efforts at growing fruit and veg are likely to seem somewhat disappointing in comparison, although it should all be in the taste.
This show reminds me of a combination between the Hampton Court Palace flower show and the BBC Gardeners' World Live show. It has more trade stands akin to the Gardeners' World show, but more show gardens like the Hampton Court show; all in all a good rounded show with a little something for everyone, no matter what your tastes.