Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2011; Show Gardens

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This was my first visit to Tatton Park RHS flower show and I was greatly impressed. A very friendly, fun and professional show, billed as the North`s greatest garden party.

I had access to the site from 5am for 3 days. Having not been to Tatton before the very first 5am start was a very quick orientation. The light was flat and grey for most mornings, which does work for show gardens, though at dawn I do prefer the warm soft light. This happened some evenings around 8pm.

Awarded Best in Show and Gold was the garden entitled; “Save a Life, Drop the Knife”;  garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe. The message was clear and the garden moved from gnarly, sharp, angry urbanism through to gentle contemporary softness and peace.

"Save a Life, Drop the Knife"; garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe

 “Grasses with Grace” by Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery was my personal favourite that I kept coming back to at different times as it changed constantly. The planting was just superb, especially for a photographer, as there were so many vistas that were eye catching. I have to admit that the Echinacea “Green Envy” was also my favourite flower in the show as it was so well offset with the Sanguisorba obtusa and the  Grasses: Stipa capillata (front); & Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (back).

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens

 Early evening back lighting on the Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and Agastache ‘Black Adder’ also showed off the grasses  Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back)

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’, Grasses: Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back),

Sue`s expert planting is shown here. One of the reasons this garden was my favourite as it really won its well deserved Gold through its planting. As a garden photographer often at shows the structure seems to be thought of first then planted around it. This garden shows that brilliant planting can win Gold.

"Grasses with Grace", Achillea ‘Red Velvet", Anthemis ‘E.C. Buxton’, Agastache ‘Black Adder", Sanguisorba obtusa, Grass: Stipa calamagrostis

 “The Schedule”, awarded Gold Medal was also one of my favourites. The styling was immaculately executed and it transported me back to the 1970`s visiting my Uncle Harry`s garden in Ipswich. A time when life was alot simpler and people took pride in growing things. This was another garden I kept popping back to and once again was rewarded one evening with the backlit brassicas.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

 The garden looked like it had always been there, I really liked the lean-too greenhouse.

I even had a bike just the same as this one! The canvas saddle bag too was classic. Hot Pot for tea! 
“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” awarded Gold Medal, designed by Daniela Coray, winner of the 2011 RHS National Young Designer of the Year Competition. This meadow garden swayed beautifully in the breeze underneath the crab apple trees, Daniela has a bright future ahead of her.
OXFAM`s “When the Waters Rise”  was part of their “Grow” Campaign” for better ways to grow, share and live together. The garden was full of meaning and the message very clear. It showed the ways people across the world are adapting to climate change, particularly flooding. Here veg is grown in containers that are portable. The sculpture of woman with child on her back looking after the garden highlights womens role in subsistence farming.
“When the Waters Rise”

 Great details like the carrots growing in the wellies!

“Inside Out”,Designed by John Everiss was a great feat of engineering and design. When I was photographing late one evening a couple of the onsite construction crew were having a real good look at the structure. This for me really worked on a few levels. The roof was amazing with the outdoor living area below,

"Inside Out", Awarded Gold Medal, Designer John Everiss

 The “Outside” nestling up pefectly to the “Inside”, the Hornbeam hedging also dividing areas off.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On designed by Sam Youd was a very calm reflective garden also awarded a Gold. Sam is Head Gardener at Tatton and was asked to design a Japanese Garden commemorarting 100 years of a Japanese Garden at the park. Sam has been Head gardener for over 30years and was instrumental in bringing the show to tatton park. He will also be retiring next year and I personally wish him a happy and content retirement.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On”, designed by Sam Youd
“Painting with Plants“, awarded Silver Gilt Medal, designed by Jan Lomas, Nicola Sweeting, Eaton Garden Team, sponsored by Grosvenor Estate had another of my favourite plants the  Eryngium ‘ Cobalt  Star`

Eryngium ' Cobalt Star`

I also liked this water feature that was blended in nicely to the planting.

Water feature amongst Agastache ‘ Blue fortune”, Eragrostis curvula ( African Love Grass ), Helenium ‘Waldtraut’,

Finally I wandered through the Floral Design Studio and came across this flower display, “Hidden & Revealed” that won Gold & Best Exhibit, by NAFAS. It mesmerised me and really stopped me in my tracks. I found it very peaceful, Zen and calming. I decided to photograph it with a slow enough shutter speed to catch the copper and willow circle spinning enough to still make out the shape amongst the stillness.

NAFAS were awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio


I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the show and look forward to returning for next years show in 2012.


Author: Stephen Studd Photography

Stephen graduated from LCP in London in 1987 with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in photography. Since then he has travelled the world as a professional freelance travel & garden photographer. His photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from front cover of National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. His work has also been used in many advertising campaigns, with clients such as Fiat, Citigroup, Caribou Coffee, Expedia, BBC and countless others and his photography has picked up numerous international awards.. Stephen leads travel photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam & the USA. He also leads Bluebell photography workshops in Gloucestershire and landscape photography workshops in the Gower, Wales. Stephen can be contacted for commissions via his photography website.

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