Tuesday, 12 July 2011

BBC Gardeners' World Live: Highlights

Back in June, Pete, mum and I spent two days exploring the BBC Good Food Show and the BBC Gardeners' World Live Show at the NEC. Buying a ticket for one automatically gives you entry into the other, which makes it a great value day out as there is plenty to cover in both shows.

I found the food show a little disappointing this year. It seemed smaller than when I visited in June last year, and there were fewer interesting artisanal producers than I remembered.

The gardening show was much more interesting, though it was the outdoor attractions that we enjoyed. Indoors were rows upon rows of stalls, a surprisingly large number of which had nothing to do with gardening (such as ironing boards, fashion clothing, health products, toiletries, paintings and greeting cards).

Outdoors we found many stalls selling garden implements, outdoor furniture, gardening wear, plants, those fantastic shade sails that I dreamed of for our back garden before we scrapped the trendy outdoor room make-over and converted it into a kitchen garden instead. And of course, a selection of show gardens too.

We could also have attended the many talks given by TV gardening personalities and experts, though we didn't do so well on getting to those.

The best bit for all of us was the RHS Floral Marquee – a cavernous tent with stand after stand after stand of stunning plants. Just as you'd find at the big RHS shows, the stall holders not only displayed their wares but competed on creating the most beautiful displays, competing for the coveted RHS awards.

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Of these, my absolute favourite was the nostalgic wooden greenhouse and shed by Pennard Plants. My photos don't do it justice, especially the greenhouse, with great planting inside and in borders all around the outside too. The smiling faces of Pennard Plants staff were a welcome sight too!

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Kavey Eats, A London Gardener and Mamta's Kitchen attended as guests of BBC Haymarket Exhibitions.

4 comments:

Fiona said...

I won some tickets on your blog to go and took my Sister in Law (a very keen gardener) we made a weekend of it and had a fantastic time. We didn't get round all of it because it was so huge. Excellent day though, we did attend a talk (although planned more we only got to the one) and got some fantastic help from the RHS experts too.
We went on the Sunday so we could see if there was anything worth it in the plant sell off - there was and how we got it all back on the train, safely in one piece I'll never know.
Fantastic day out would definitely need two days to get round it all though, then you have to decide which talks and demonstrations to go to. Argghhh it is all to much !! but what away to be overwhelmed. Love the pics way better than any of mine but I must admit I didn't really take any for artistic value more for helping me identify plants for future purchases.

Thank you

Kavey said...

Fiona, so glad you enjoyed it and had a great day with your sister-in-law! I heard from one of the other winners too, who also had a lovely day. Am very happy to hear it!

Louise said...

We went to the NEC for the food show and was disappointed in the number and quality of stands. A few favourites as always but not the same as last year. It did give us time to explore the Garden show and what fab displays.

Here's hoping the November show is not as disappointing.

Kavey said...

Louise, glad it wasn't just me imagining it... I was there in June last year and there were definitely more of the more interesting food exhibitors than this year...