2011 RHS Tatton Flower Show - Photo Special
PUBLISHED: 10:28 08 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:12 14 April 2020
Cheshire designers, amateurs and those who just love gazing at gardens flocked to this year's spectacular RHS Show at Tatton WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Dori Miller finally knows what she wants to be when she grows up. It may have taken her almost all of her working life to figure it out but she now has her heart set on becoming a garden designer.
She has a sparkling future ahead of her too. The amateur gardener’s first attempt last year, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Handbag of Harmonies choir, earned her a silver award. Only in her second year, and taking on the long-standing experts in the Show Gardens category, Dori won a Gold award for the When the Waters Rise garden she created for Oxfam and Cheshire Life.
The garden, which was created to highlight the charity’s Grow campaign, showcased the various methods that are being used around the world to adapt to climate change including how people deal with flooding. The garden drew in the lion’s share of the crowds. Not just because of the stunning design but also because Dori was joined by fellow members of A Handbag of Harmonies who performed a musical anthem they wrote to complement the design.
Dori, who designed the garden with son and architect Howard, said: ‘I can’t quite believe it. All of the choir and I are absolutely ecstatic with the result. I was so inspired by some of the project that Oxfam told me about but the issue of flooding really stood out.
‘I feel like the garden is the second greatest creation of my life, after having my children. But this has been a massive team effort. So many people helped to make this garden and reality and every one of these people should celebrate getting the gold.’
There were celebrations in the Chester Zoo camp too as their Dinosaurs at Large design caught the eye of the judges. As well as being awarded a gold medal, it was also named Best Back to Back Garden. It was put together by Mark Hargreaves and Mark Sparrow from the zoo’s grounds team.
Marking a momentous year was Tatton’s head gardener, Sam Youd. It was the last time he will represent the historic estate at the flower show as he will retire next spring following more than 30 years service. And he went out on a high note. His garden, inspired by the estate’s Japanese Gardens, was awarded gold.
It is not the last we will see of the green fingered expert though and he hopes to return to next year’s show with a design of his own.
He said: ‘I’d love to do one for the Visionary Gardens and come back with something a bit different and wacky. It doesn’t feel weird thinking it was my last RHS because it won’t be. You won’t be able to keep me away.’
Sue Beesley from Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery took home gold in the Show Gardens category, Reaseheath College’s The Secret Garden Design earned them silver and The Shine Garden, created for Cancer Research UK by Stockport designer Mary Hoult, also got silver.
Ambitious young designers also stole the show. Alexandra Froggatt from Brereton was awarded second place in the coveted RHS Young Designer of the Year competition. The 25-year-old, who has her own landscape design company, was one of three finalists to take part in the competition, now in its second year.
Other up and coming designers were Visionary Gardens category entrants Sarah Rule and Craig Bailey from Glyndwr University in Wrexham. The pair, 22 and 21, came up with their plans for a university assignment where pupils on the garden design course battled for the opportunity to show at the RHS show along with lecturer Peter Styles. It is the first time they have been to the event. Sarah’s The Relief Garden and Craig’s Points of Ayr design were both awarded a bronze medal along with their lecturer’s Metamorphosis 2 garden.
In fact, designers from around our county dominated this year’s event. Talented gardeners as well as amateurs and organisations from across Cheshire shone at the prestigious event. In the Back to Back Garden category, silver gilts were awarded to Greenvision Garden Design in Sale for their Minimal Impact garden along with the team at Grosvenor Estate for their Painting with Plants garden.
A garden, put together by Building Design Partnership, which celebrated Chester Cathedral, its choir and the music produced there won silver as did Sharon Hockenhull whose Embrace garden marked the 40th anniversary of St Ann’s Hospice in Manchester and The Cottage Door, a garden for The Christie that was inspired by the hospital’s gardens.
Bronze medals were also presented to Arley Hall and Gardens for their Lady Zoe’s Arbour Walk design and to Mouldsworth designer Sally Parkinson who received a bronze award for the A Breath of Fresh Air garden she created for Respiratory Education UK.
Cheshire put on a good show in the National Flowerbed competition too. A particularly special garden, dedicated to local resident and committed Crown Green bowler Arthur Murray, was created by Partington Parish Council. Arthur, now 83, started bowling as a teenager at the White City Club in Partington. Over the year he has competed and won many tournaments, including The Waterloo Tournament which he was the only person to win three times. He also had more than 100 caps for the Cheshire team, including several as captain. The garden was awarded a gold medal by the judges.
There was also an impressive show of skill in the Floral Display Studio with several Cheshire groups and organisations taking top prizes. Both the Cheshire and North West branches of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies were awarded gold medals, the floristry team from Reeseheath College received a silver gilt as well as a special award for the Most Creative Exhibition in the Flower Design Studio and Verdure Floral Design in Manchester received a silver gilt.
But the biggest cheer came from Styal designer Clive Scott. The 51-year-old has exhibited at the RHS Tatton Flower Show for 13 years and has won several bronzes and silvers from the judges. But finally, this year, he received his first gold with his back to back garden, Black and Blue. It was one of only two golds awarded in this category. Clive’s design was inspired by the many colours a person’s skin changes when it is bruised.
He said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I found out. It has been hard for me over the past few years. My dad Roy died from cancer while I was at the show in 2006 and my brother-in-law had a fatal heart attack just before the show two years after that.
‘It feels like there has always been some kind of adversity. But you have to get on with it. I have been here for 13 years and I’ve finally got my first gold. Everyone has been so happy for me and I’m very very pleased. Some people thought I might give up now but I can’t wait to be back next year.’