RHS Tatton has developed and evolved over the years. At His & Hers, we love this show and it is an exciting and totally enjoyable ritual. My spirits rose as I approached the entrance at 7am in the morning. The show did not officially open until later in the day, and so I could enjoy this sneak preview chatting with designers, gardeners, garden nursery staff and retailers.
Feature by Jean Hill
There are differences this year. The lush green ‘lawns’ that cover the site look a little like scorched earth. The show gardens, miraculously, look as lush as ever. Designers spoke of travelling in vans and land-rovers (from Exeter, Norfolk and other far flung places) in blistering heat, watching the planting wilt. Suspect they would have been wilting too.
The Young Designer Show Gardens ‘pirouette’ around a group of mature trees. They curve and stretch. All are beautiful, but, for me, Tom Clarke’s garden design ‘Paradise Found’ is outstanding. At 22, his is a truly impressive achievement.
Tom Clarke was a finalist in the RHS Young Designer of the Year award. His Show Garden is a powerful and beautifully realised vision. And in the scheme of all things horticultural, Paradise Found conjures up something magical and profound.
This garden creates a tranquil, shimmering space. There are aspects of a Moroccan courtyard and a philosophy that a garden can be an earthly version of Paradise. The layout is designed around a blue walled backdrop, with a water feature at its centre. The extravagance of plants provide scent and form that soothes and engages the senses. In hectic, oft-time stressful episodes in life, this garden is a sanctuary and a peaceful space where a person can rejuvenate.
Will Scholey is winner of the Young Designer 2022 RHS Tatton. His beautifully conceived space is titled: ‘The Working from Home Garden’. It is a tranquil, a carbon negative commute, with natural benefits. Not just a shed at the bottom of the garden.
The 2022’s school gardens’ theme is ‘Garden of Resilience’. Schools interpret this whilst considering the Show’s main themes of ‘food’ and ‘trees’. The possibilities are endless!
Creating an allotment offers school pupils the chance to design, grow, build and showcase a garden at RHS Tatton. Children can grab invaluable hands on experience with plants and horticulture. This is an opportunity to learn about environmentally-friendly gardening.
All the children’s gardens are wonderful. It would be impossible to judge a winner, though someone does just that.
Plantlife work in an international landscape, but do not believe that they have a high profile with the general public. Hence their stall at Tatton. Their mission is for gardeners everywhere to plant more wild plants, rather than concreting over the front garden.
The focus for Plantlife is for lasting positive protection for wild flowers, plants and fungi. They are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes.
From the open spaces of our nature reserves to the corridors of government, Plantlife work nationally and internationally to celebrate the beauty of wild flowers, plants and fungi and to protect their future.
I loved the Sutton Vintage stall. There are wonderful sculptures of dancing hares that are made from oil drums sourced from South Africa. I discovered a vintage necklace with matching earrings, made up of depictions of ‘sculptured’ flowers and leaves enhanced with pearls and other jewels.
Really appreciated Holden Clough Nursery, that provides ‘how to’ postcards of varying sizes and content. ‘How to succeed’ works for me. ‘Where to start’ which is an excellent guide, needs an accompanying: ‘how to stop’ help sheet, as darkness falls and 150 jobs indoors have still been left undone. Gorgeous plants to buy here too.
Overall impression of the show: I came upon a beautifully crafted, rectangular wooden water butt: a thing of beauty. The wealth of flowers, bulbs, herbs and shrubs on display defies my ability to describe them all. Old fashioned ‘clotted’ cream roses and succulents were particularly lovely. Stunning animal sculptures, some life-sized, and superior garden furniture would enhance any space. If you have a problem plant there are experts on hand to help. There are talks: there is the RHS shop. The Front Garden Show Gardens might encourage some not to turn the front garden into a concrete slab, but rather get creative with planting. The challenge is to take it all in, in one day. There are plenty of vendors and places to eat and drink. Yours to enjoy. I totally did.
Image by Neil Hepworth for RHS.