The good thing about visiting this show compared to Chelsea is space - there is far more of it making walking around the exhibits and gardens a more pleasurable experience.
On entering the show one garden that really caught my eye was the summer garden ‘Butterfly Jungles Transitions’, which was filled with plants that attract butterflies and beneficial insects including verbena, buddleia, phlox, and nasturtiums. Height was added with a few banana plants and the greenhouse had tropical butterfly-loving plants and some tropical butterflies.
Bournemouth Borough council set up a very colourful display initialled ‘A Very Victorian Fantasy’. This could easily be copied in any sunny border at home, filled with deep red ricinus, and amaranthus, vibrant celosia and rudbeckia, dark leaf dahlias and a few banana plants.
Something a little more classic was ‘The Italian Job' with its blue tiled pool, covered seating area and some exquisite perennial plantings and beautiful trained trees.
As you make your way through the show you turn a corner and are confronted with some marvellous animal plant sculptures. Pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and horses all decorated in sempervivum and other carpet bedding, attracting plenty of interest from adult and child visitors.
Moving into the marquees, these are full of nurseries offering a wide range of plants for all interests and, unlike Chelsea, they each have plants available to buy. ‘Fernatix’ with their lovely display of tree and ornamental ferns really caught visitors’ imaginations.
The ‘Chrysanthemums Direct’ spectacular display of cut blooms caught my eye, reminding me of the days when I used to grow over 200 early and late flowering chrysanthemums.
‘Style Roses’ had a wonderful display of container and basket roses, bringing colour to the patio. ‘The Garlic Farm’ from the Isle of Wight had a display that greeted you with its fragrance before you got close enough to see the decorative display including a garlic bulb roof to the outdoor kitchen.
One of the best things about visiting shows like this always springs up a few plant surprises. This year I spotted an unusual variegated acanthus called ‘Whitewater’ and a gorgeous salmon delphinium called ‘Coral Sunset’. Who knows, both may be making their way into my garden soon.
'The Italian Job'
The Garlic Farm
Delphinium 'Coral Sunset'