Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

The Garden Show at Stansted Park.

The Garden Show at Stansted Park celebrated it's 20th birthday this year and again was lovely. I went, worked and had a great time. Apart from a brief, monsoon-like shower Saturday morning, the weather was lovely, sunny and warm, perfect for a day out.

Entrance sign

I still get excited to arrive at the Garden Show, the setting is so lovely and although I never have enough time to see all the exhibitors, each year I try to see everything! This is the view as you arrive in the Exhibitor's Car Park and approach the house from the rear. For more information about visiting Stansted Park click here

Stansted House

For those of you who do not know of Derry Watkins, she owns a nursery near Bath called Special Plants, from where she sells all manner of plants and seeds. She also runs courses and on Tuesdays she opens her garden. Look out for her column in Gardens Illustrated on plants as well. Phew. A weekend spent with Derry means my brain comes home full of information and my car is full of plants that I need to find room for in my garden.

Derry Watkins

For the full lowdown on Derry and the opening times of both her garden and nursery, click here 

For three days of glorious sunshine in one of the most beautiful settings in Sussex, Derry talked about plants, sold plants, seeds, gloves and gave free advice to people. She brought several van loads of lovely things like this from the nursery:

Geranium ardens

It is Geranium ardens, or pelargonium ardens, a tender, evergreen perennial with the most gorgeous scarlet delicate flowers and bright green leaves. I came home with just one for the pot on the terrace (terrace? what terrace) table.

Derry also sells seeds, lots of seeds, of other very-important-to-have-in-the-garden plants like this, Orlaya grandiflora, the white lace flower. For those of you who say you cannot sow seeds, you are missing out on this glorious annual. I urge you to try this at home! Plus the seeds are like tiny little hedgehogs with furry backs and easy to collect for next year.

Orlaya grandiflora

Also selling fast was the seeds of the ladybird poppy, papaver commutatum. Glorious scarlet with black spots, this annual is easy to grow, but really, resist just sprinkling around the garden in the hope that you might get a few germinating. Put them in a pot, take care of them for the short time they need to germinate and then plant out when they are big enough to handle. That way you can control the situation. But worth it!!!

Papver commutatum

Derry brought perennials as well as her glorious seeds: glorious plants such as this Verbascum

Verbascum Helen JOhnson

And this amazing Iris, which I think is called 'Nearly Black' but if you look carefully, you will see it is deepest darkest lushest velvet-like purple with black undertones...


Special Plants stand

Above is Derry with Rosemary who was also helping, LOTS of plants and beautiful Stansted Park in the background. Derry also sells these dancing ladies who will rust down and look amazing above grasses and taller perennials such as anemone japonica and verbena bonariensis...

Dancing Ladies

Derry will have a stand at Grow London which is being held the weekend of 20-22 June. Do come say hello if you are in the area, I will be working at the stand on Friday.

There was a lot to see at the show but time being what it is and the sunshine brought out so many people that it was hard to get away to have a look at the other stands.

The few I managed to see and which I really liked include these gorgeous garden umbrella by Kasakosa, based in Horndean, Hampshire. Look out for their website which is apparantly going tobe up and running soon... I may need to get a few of these for our garden!

GArden umbrella by Kasakosa

Red umbrella

I did speak to the owner of the stall about perhaps being able to get chair seat cushions to match the umbrellas, I think a few of my clients would love this look and it would be great by a pool in Portugal or France!

Also at the show were the Plant Experts, Steve and Val Bradley. Steve, long ago, was one of my lecturers when I did my RHS Level 2 Horticulture so it was great to have our nearly annual catch up and check in. Val is the gardening correspondant for the Sun newspaper and a great ambassador for horticulture and gardening. They are on hand to answer any perplexing questions about anything garden related! Here they are, hard at work answering questions for those who had them:

Steve and Val Bradley in the Plant Doctors stand

And there is a lot of shopping which can be done...


brocanteplant stand

 If you missed the Garden Show at Stansted Park this year, you can still get to the Garden Show at Losely House near Guildford in July, information here


Otherwise, we will see you next year!!!


Comments (1)

  1. Reggie morris:
    Mar 25, 2015 at 05:02 PM

    Been every year since 2010 loved it every year something different

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