I arrived at Tatton Park for a three day photo shoot, on the Monday, which is the last day of build up, to take a look at the gardens before my 5.30am access over the next 3 days. The weather forecast was for lots of sun, leaving a narrow window for pro garden photographers to shoot, as between about 8am and 6pm the bright sunlight is far too harsh.
There were a few gardens that caught my eye on my first walk around the showground, particularly the ‘See the Wind’ garden designed by Joan Mulvenna and Andrew Lee with it’s purple pink hues of the Hordeum Jubatum (ornamental barley) against the Salvia Nemorosa ‘Amethyst’.
The garden sculpture fluttering and twinkling in the breeze, with the movement of the barley, salvia, bamboo and alliums had me captivated for some time, there was a very Zen like feel to the garden, with its simplistic and also complex kinetic design.
The garden deservedly won a Gold and Best in Show in the Elements garden category.
Bathed in late evening golden light was the Gold medal winning Reaseheath College ‘A Taste of Wythenshaw’ garden with the towers of beans growing on steel reinforcing rods, which reminded me of the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
The garden made maximum use of space with beds growing fruit, veg and herbs and a living food wall and columns.
Another garden that utilised the space for fruit and veg growing with north to south running raised beds was Silver medal winning ‘The Forgotten Corner’ designed by Carl Gerrard in the Summer gardens category.
It seemed touch and go whether the ‘Elemental’ garden designed by Ian Price would be finished in time for judging and it was a garden that the photographers were eager to photograph. The garden was well placed for very late evening sunset light which showed off the charred wood cladding wall perfectly.
The garden had a contemporary feel whilst also making use of reused and modern materials. It was Ian’s first show garden gaining him a Gold medal.
A favourite designer of mine is Pip Probert and her Gold medal garden ‘The Narrows’ displayed a typical long narrow suburban garden packed full of design ideas with different zones.
I particularly liked the bullrushes reflected in the still water of the pond.
There were red hot plants scattered amongst the vibrant planting in the garden, leading the eye to the red chairs in the outdoor living space at the end of the garden.
In the Show Gardens category, Best in Show and Gold medal went to ‘Maggie’s Forest Garden’ designed by Amanda Waring and Laura Arison first time show garden designers . The swings by Sitting Spiritually had carved on them ‘A Haven of Peace’ and ‘Warm and Inviting’ which summed up the forest garden inspired design as a space to connect with nature whilst creating a sense of wellbeing.
The garden certainly had a calming effect when looking at it, with the gentle flow of water through the rill falling gently in to the pond below.
In the Summer Garden category Best in Show went to another first time show garden designer Caroline Lord with her ‘Industrial Transitions’ garden, which used mainly reclaimed materials and was inspired by Manchester’s industrial heritage.
The reused diesel tank made into a water feature with Rudbeckia hirta set against it.
The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) garden ‘Vogue’ designed by Belinda Belt won a Silver Gilt medal. The design was sleek and contemporary with a huge 100mm thick laser cut stone wall feature which weighed over a ton.
I did feel for the Dutch team Clusius College who had a disaster with a water tank breakage on the day of judging in their ‘Digital Green’ garden which only made bronze medal.
They had a very innovative use for reused old computer keyboard parts in their garden.
I had a déjà vu feeling when I saw The Water Garden designed by Harry Levy which won a Silver medal, because of the yellow summerhouse that featured in last years design.
This years Tatton Park show can be described as extremely hot.
At this years Tatton Park flower show it was good to see so many new show garden designers getting their first Gold medals and Best in Show awards. Tatton Park is now the showcase for the Young Designer of the Year award, which I have covered in a separate blog entry.
Thanks to everyone who makes Tatton Park show the jewel in the North West’s horticultural calendar, I look forward to returning next year.
For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com
I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com
I am represented by GAP Photos for my garden photography: http://www.gapphotos.com/imageresults.asp?photogref=139