RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2012
While Tatton Park is the youngest of the three big RHS flower shows it has developed its own unique character over the years, combining the essence of the other RHS shows with a real local flavour.
At 28 acres in size, the Tatton Park Flower Show is similar in size to that of the Hampton Court Flower Show, yet it has its own unique local feel. The show has grown rapidly from its inception where it had 28 show gardens and 340 exhibitors, to this year's show that played host to 36 show gardens and 505 exhibitors.
The Tatton Park show features all of the major attractions that you would expect to see at a major RHS flower show from the wildly impressive large show gardens to the floral marquee and everything in between, plus a few unique features of its own.
The Tatton Park show has carved out its own niche separating it from the other shows with its distinctly local flavour. This is echoed in the show gardens, where out of the 36 gardens exhibited, over two thirds of them were produced by local designers.
The Tatton Park show is not only notable for the number of show gardens that it plays host to, but also for the variety of its different show garden categories:
- Show Gardens
- Visionary Gardens
- Orchestra Gardens
- School Gardens
- Back to Back Gardens
- RHS Young Designer of the Year Gardens
The attention to detail that the designers of the show gardens go to is sometimes awe inspiring. As you wander around the show gardens of a Summer flower show in the middle of July, the last thing that you expect to see is a bed full of flowering Tulips! The impact is particularly noticeable when you see them flowering next to a common summer garden flower, the Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia); not a combination you are ever likely to see flowering together at the same time in your own garden.
Unique to the Tatton Park Flower Show is the RHS National Flower Bed Competition, featuring displays reminiscent of the many council planted flower beds found up and down the country. The flower beds at the Tatton Park show are usually individually themed, however this year as the country hosts the Games of the 30th Olympiad, the flower beds all followed "A Celebration of Sport" theme with different displays featuring sporting disciplines such as Cycling, Sailing, Surfing, Canoeing, Archery and the Long Jump (pictured above).
Tatton Park show features the ubiquitous RHS Floral Marquee found at all of the RHS shows where you can find local and national nurseries displaying the very finest examples of plants from a truly bewildering array of species and cultivars, guaranteeing something to please everyone. What's more, you also have the opportunity of buying the same plants (with many new introductions) from the exhibitors and the chance to pick their expert brains on how to grow and care for them.
Amongst the other numerous marquees dotted around the showground you can find the Fabulous Floristry marquee, which certainly lives up to its name, and the RHS Summer Fruit & Vegetable Competition Pavilion; unique to this show displaying breathtaking examples of edible garden produce.
If you live in the Midlands or the North of the country and have never visited an RHS show before, perhaps because of the distance to travel to the more southerly shows, then the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show is highly recommended. It's well worth adding to your summer calendar for a great day out in the beautiful surroundings of Tatton Park in the Cheshire countryside.