5 things to do at 2019 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 July 2019
It's a highlight of the horticultural calendar so make the most of it with our insider's guide to RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.
The primary rules of any flower show: put on your comfiest pair of shoes, slap on your sunscreen and pop a bottle of water in your bag.
Beyond that, a little insider knowledge can go a long way. So we asked Barry Grain, Head Gardener at Cholmondeley Castle, who has spent years both designing and building gardens at RHS Tatton, to share his top tips for this year's event…
1. Dally amongst the dahlias
It's become a theme over recent years for RHS Tatton to welcome its guests with a huge floral display. This year a giant Field of Dahlias will be waiting to greet you. Planted with more than 5000 blooms, featuring five different varieties, this rainbow spectacular will make a great photo opportunity, so take a moment to get a snap.
2. See a standout show garden
In the Show Garden category look no further than Contemplation Corner by Wirral-based garden designer Pip Probert. Her courtyard creation with beautiful planted backdrop and low-maintenance borders aims to create a sense of escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Pip is known for the quality of both her landscaping and her planting schemes - and even the most amateur gardener will be able to pick up doable tips from her relatively simplistic but stunning concept.
3. Find local heroes in the Floral Marquee
The famous Floral Marquee showcases jaw-dropping displays from the county's very best specialist nurseries. You'll find orchids, cactus, climbers, trees, shrubs and a profusion of perennials. Some of my favourite nurseries to look out for are Cheshire-based Bluebell Cottage Gardens who specialise in a huge range of flowering perennials, Holden Clough Nursery whose plants are always vibrant, and Dibleys Nursery for stunning house plants.
4. Be inspired by the Back To Backs
These small show gardens (only 6mx4m) that stand in back-to-back clusters are big on inspiration, jam-packed with ideas. They're actually the most difficult show gardens to create because they require such attention to detail to balance all the interest of a larger space on a much smaller scale. This year I'm excited to see Reaseheath College, who've worked with Cheshire Police to raise awareness of cyber-crime, as well as designer Clive Scott's 'Every cloud has a silver lining' garden created to highlight the work of Manchester-based mental health charity Moodswings. Also check out 'The Perfumer's Garden' by Cheshire-based Charlie Adams which shows how urban spaces can be transformed by fragrant planting.
5. Make time to listen
Every RHS flower show is a hotbed of horticultural expertise so take the time to soak it up. The vast majority of gardeners are more than happy to chat and answer your questions and then there are the more formal talks and demonstrations that go on throughout each day. At the Dig In Live Theatre you'll find award-winning food and garden writer Mark Diacono and guests, discussing delicious edibles and the best ways of bringing them to the table. Meanwhile TV gardener Michael Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, will be presenting in the Bug Hub, a huge dome structure dedicated to highlighting the importance of bugs to plants and, well, all of us!
Shop til you drop
From plants to crafts to an array of artisanal, local produce, there's enough to keep the most committed of shopping addicts happy
The Floral Marquee
Alongside their wonderful displays many of the nurseries sell their top-quality stock
The Country Living Pavilion
Original art, home accessories, bespoke jewellery and one-of-a-kind gifts from artisans and crafts people from around the UK
Great Taste Market
Organised by the Guild of Fine Foods you'll find all sorts of local produce from chutneys and cheeses, to wines and spirits, to cakes and baked treats.
Packed with vibrant plants at the peak of their perfection you'll be inspired to take home as many as you can.
A gardening gift-shop bazaar - you're guaranteed to find something gorgeous for the gardener in your life (which may well be yourself).