Stephen Studd Photography

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The Stones at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

The month of May sees both Malvern Spring Festival and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, two great gatherings for horticulturists. Fortunately this year I had access to the show ground at Chelsea on the Sunday, a blessing as the weather for the press day on Monday looked like it was going to be wet and windy. On the Sunday the gardens are receiving their finishing touches and it is usually quite a frantic time. Not so this year as most of the gardens seemed very complete when I arrived in the morning.

This was the start of my 4 day photo shoot at Chelsea with 5.30am early access for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when the light is usually much kinder for photographers.

Walking round finding where each garden designer had their garden this year I came across the one designed by James Basson for L’Occitaine. Perhaps it was the Monet’esque bright red poppies that stopped me in my tracks and the feeling of being transported to the south of France.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 L'Occitaine: A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson - Sponsor – L'Occitaine UK Ltd - awarded

A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson – Sponsor – L’Occitaine UK Ltd – awarded Gold Medal

Tufa stone was used to great effect  in the garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 L'Occitaine: A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson - Sponsor – L'Occitaine UK Ltd - awarded Gold

Tufa stone in the James Basson designed garden

I was next transported to the Middle East and it’s wonderful architecture and gardens. In this garden designed by Kamelia Bin Zaal white marble was used for the hard landscaping.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Beauty of Islam - Designer – Kamelia Bin Zaal - Sponsor - Al Barari Firm Managemnet LLC awarded Silver Gilt

The Beauty of Islam – Designer – Kamelia Bin Zaal – Sponsor – Al Barari Firm Managemnet LLC awarded Silver Gilt

Both these gardens seemed to be at their best in the bright sunlight, a time I don’t usually photograph gardens.

The Artisans gardens are usually a better bet to go to when the light is too bright as they are usually more shaded with dappled sunlight..

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss - Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver Gilt (stained glass by Irene Mackay).

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss – Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver Gilt (stained glass by Irene Mackay).

In the front of the garden who spotted the evader in front of the bombed stone church? Such a clever piece made by John Everiss himself.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss - Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver gilt

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss – Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver gilt

There was the beautiful, if a bit samey Japanese garden ‘Edo no Niwa’ designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara wh0 uses stone to great calming effect.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 – Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara - Sponsor – Cat's Co Ltd – awarded Gold

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara – Sponsor – Cat’s Co Ltd – awarded Gold

The designer himself.

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara - Sponsor – Cat's Co Ltd – awarded gold

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara – Sponsor – Cat’s Co Ltd – awarded gold

A garden I was drawn back to again and again was the one designed by Darren Hawkes.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

Perhaps this was due to the use of stone from Bodmin for the granite boulder seating. If you ever get chance visit the Cheesewring on Bodmin moor and find one of the naturally weathered granite stone boulder seats there and shut your eyes for a while, but be prepared for lift off.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

I wondered whether this piece in the garden was inspired by the Men-an-Tol stone circle in Cornwall.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

Bodmin is home to the Hurlers stone circle and the Cheesewring a place I have been drawn back to over the years. The Cheesewring with it’s balanced granite boulders is a favourite place to photograph. On reflection power places built with stone seem to have a big magnetic attraction for me!

Balanced weathered stones Bodmin moor

Balanced weathered stones Bodmin moor

Dan Pearson’s Chatsworth garden was another garden with giant stones as a feature, this time gritstone.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Designer – Dan Pearson - Sponsor - Champagne Laurent - Perrier awarded gold and best in show

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden – Designer – Dan Pearson – Sponsor – Champagne Laurent – Perrier awarded gold and best in show

The oak boardwalk started between two gritstone boulders.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Designer – Dan Pearson - Sponsor - Champagne Laurent - Perrier awarded gold and best in show

The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden – Designer – Dan Pearson – Sponsor – Champagne Laurent – Perrier awarded gold and best in show

Charlie Albone’s garden had some beautiful stonework in it, the sandstone path and columns had lovely patterns in it.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded

The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone – Sponsor – Husqvarna – Gardena – awarded Silver Gilt

At the end of the garden was a well crafted dry stone fire pit and wall.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded Silver Gilt

The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone – Sponsor – Husqvarna – Gardena – awarded Silver gilt

Charlie’s garden had to have the most talked about plant of all the show gardens, this beautiful Protea illuminated in early morning sunlight.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded Silver Gilt

Protea in The Time in Between Garden, Designed by Charlie Albone

Matthew Keightleys’s garden had conical stone pillars sourced from Cumbria supporting the porch of the house and a stone waterfall to the side.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability - Designer Matt Keightley - Sponsor - David Brownlow Charitable Foundation – Sentebale – Princes Foundation for Building Community - awarded Silver Gilt Medal

Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability – Designer Matt Keightley – Sponsor – David Brownlow Charitable Foundation – Sentebale – Princes Foundation for Building Community – awarded Silver Gilt Medal and People’s Choice award.

Finally it was good to see Harry and David Rich’s garden receive a gold medal, they both know how to design gardens with natural stone. Here they are sat on their dry stone bench.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 Cloudy Bay Garden in association with Vital Earth – Designers Harry and David Rich - Sponsor - Cloudy Bay – Bord na Mona - awarded Gold medal

Designers Harry and David Rich – Sponsor – Cloudy Bay – Bord na Mona – awarded Gold medal

 


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RHS National Young Designer of the Year 2013 – show gardens at Tatton Park

I decided to devote a seperate photo blog to the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award for 2013 as they were so inspirational and extreemly photogenic.

There were three young garden designers aged 28 and under with gardens in this category supporting young talent embarking on horticultural careers. The theme for 2013 was Eco Innovations and each of the designers had ecologically sustainable and biologically diverse gardens.

The winning designer was Tony Woods with his contemporary garden Escape to the City. He is the founder of the Landscape company Garden Club London. The garden had different areas within it that created small micro-climates that had different habitats and feeding points to encourage wildlife into the city garden. His take on the Eco Innovations theme is that you don`t have to compromise on design to have an ecological garden.

Winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City designed by  Tony Woods built by Garden Club London

Winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal “Escape to the City” designed by Tony Woods built by Garden Club London

The dry stone wall was built to create further habitats for wildlife

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Escape to the City Designed by Tony Woods winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and awarded Gold Medal

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

A kitchen garden area had space for growing fruit, veg and herbs in reused materials.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Reflective rusted pool containers.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Sustainably grown cedar fence batons, decking made from locally sourced old scaffolding boards and living green wall.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Clever use of scaffold planks and planting

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Digitalia `Alba`, Betula trees

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 winner of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013 and Gold Medal Escape to the City Designed by  Tony WoodsBuilt by Garden Club London

Tony`s garden was one that you could get lost in as a photographer as there were so many great angles, ideas and elements to it and it was teeming with insects.

GreEnCO Sense designed by Christopher James was another eye catching and insect friendly garden. The green bottle wall was very striking and well built.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 GreEnCO Sense Designed by  Christopher James Built by Graduate Landscapes Ltd Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

GreEnCO Sense designed by Christopher James built by Graduate Landscapes Ltd Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

There was also alot of interest in this garden with the media and it was a strong contender for the title. The bold use of pink steps somehow blended in beautifully with the natural planting of the garden.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 GreEnCO Sense Designed by  Christopher James Built by Graduate Landscapes Ltd Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

I have seen lots of logs used in gardens for wildlife but this was a new one for me which I really liked.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 GreEnCO Sense Designed by  Christopher James Built by Graduate Landscapes Ltd Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

This really was a garden to attract insects.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 GreEnCO Sense Designed by  Christopher James Built by Graduate Landscapes Ltd Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

A garden to attract bees was The Bees Garden designed by Florian Degroise.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Bees Garden Designed by  Florian Degroise Sponsored by RHS Built by Paul Butler Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

The Bees Garden designed by Florian Degroise
built by Paul Butler Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

It had a large area for entertaining with a square firepit and seating made from reused timber.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Bees Garden Designed by  Florian Degroise Sponsored by RHS Built by Paul Butler Silver medal in the RHS National Young Designer of the Year award 2013

For me the other two gardens seemed to have more bee friendly planting in them and Eco Innovations

Congratulations to Tony Woods the overall winner and to Christopher James and Florian Degroise. I look forward to seeing next years finalists.


For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com please use the contact form.

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

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Office V Horticulture

The Bombe designed by Heather & Gareth Battisson-Howard awarded Silver Gilt Tatton Park RHS flower show 2012

The Bombe designed by Heather & Gareth Battisson-Howard awarded Silver Gilt Tatton Park RHS flower show 2012

A recent survey showed that gardeners and florists topped the list of happiest workers.

Having travelled the world as a travel and landscape photographer, a few years back I was commissioned to illustrate the medicinal plants that featured in the Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby.

The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby

The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby

I already had a keen interest in horticulture as I have an organic allotment and love tending to my garden whilst also letting swathes of it run free. This particular book commission changed my direction, I fell in love with photographing plants and gardens.

Travel and landscape photography can be quite a solitary profession, this all changed when I was asked to photograph at the RHS Malvern Show. I met the most amazing friendly passionate people involved in so many different areas of horticulture. I was hooked and from that point I now divide time between garden and travel photography.

My personal reasons why I love garden and plant photography is because the photos can be taken in all seasons, whatever the weather, and I get to meet amazing people who are involved in all aspects of horticulture.

Enough said cut to the photos:

Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, view across pond to Exedra and Red House both reflected in pond

Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, view across pond to Exedra and Red House both reflected in pond

Palm trees reflected in pool, Marjorelle garden, Morocco, sunrise

Palm trees reflected in pool, Marjorelle garden, Morocco, sunrise

Interior of Hartley Botanic greenhouse Chelsea flower show 2012

Interior of Hartley Botanic greenhouse Chelsea flower show 2012

Echinacea "Green Envy" dusk

“Grasses with Grace”, Awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) Awarded Silver Gilt Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) designed by Alchemy Gardens & Villagio Verde, Awarded Silver Gilt, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

The M & G Garden,  Designer Andy Sturgeon;    Sponsor; M& G Investments   Awarded Gold

The M & G Garden, Designer Andy Sturgeon; Sponsor; M& G Investments Awarded Gold

     Show Gardens; The Brewin Dolphin Garden   Designer Cleve West;    Sponsor; Brewin Dolphin   Awarded Gold & Best in Show RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The Brewin Dolphin Garden Designer Cleve West; Sponsor; Brewin Dolphin Awarded Gold & Best in Show RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Photography     Show Gardens; The World Vision Garden Designer Flemons Warland Design ;    Sponsor; World vision Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The World Vision Garden Designer Flemons Warland Design ; Sponsor; World vision Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Stephen Studd Photography     Fresh Gardens; Rainbows Childrens Hospital Garden;   Designers Chris Gutteridge,  Ant Cox & Jon Owens (Second Nature Gardens);        Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Fresh Gardens; Rainbows Childrens Hospital Garden; Designers Chris Gutteridge, Ant Cox & Jon Owens (Second Nature Gardens); Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

For the florists;

Awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio: NAFAS, Tatton Park RHS Flower show 2011 Cheshire

Awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio: NAFAS, Tatton Park RHS Flower show 2011 Cheshire

Monday blues:

Grow your own

Allium Purple Sensation against the sun

Allium Purple Sensation against the sun

Borage Officinalis from The Cottage Herbery garden, Malvern 2012

Borage Officinalis from The Cottage Herbery garden, Malvern 2012

Gardens can regenerate abandoned spaces

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

“Urban Oasis” by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Recycle and reuse materials

Garden made with recycled and reused materials "Regeneration" Designed by Jane Grenan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Garden made with recycled and reused materials “Regeneration” Designed by Jane Grenan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Gardening involves community;

allotments overlooking Crown & Sceptre Stroud

Allotments overlooking Crown & Sceptre Stroud which runs Britain’s only pub-run Country Fair

Crown and Sceptre stroud country fair marquee with exhibits

Crown and Sceptre Stroud country fair marquee with exhibits, evening a good old knees up takes place.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

woman holding organic garlic bulbs Thermidrome ready for planting late autumn Allium sativum

woman holding organic garlic bulbs Thermidrome ready for planting late autumn Allium sativum

Garlic Article PM69 Spreads-1

Longor shallots ready for planting late winter, hazel dibber and bag full of shallots

Longor shallots ready for planting late winter, hazel dibber and bag full of shallots

Begonia Rex L`Escargot IGPOTY Macro Art Begonia Fractal by Stephen Studd

Begonia Fractal, commended Macro Art category IGPOTY competition 2012

Awarded Silver Flora "The Rain Garden"; Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2011 garden designed by Rhea Lyn Parkes

Iris

Homage to Edward Weston

3rd place IGPOTY; Homage to Edward Weston

Garlic chive seedhead in snow, winter

DIONAEA MUSCIPULA, Venus fly trap

Punk; IGPOTY commended monochrome

Sarracenia flava (heavy veined), pitcher plant

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May planted in greenhouse

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May

Dahlia

A big thanks to all those who have welcomed me into the wonderful world of plants and to those who I am yet to meet and to all those that have become friends along this path. Wishing everyone an amazing 2013 and years ahead of happiness in the horticultural field.

Special thanks to Rachel Corby for The Medicine Garden book commission.

More pretty pictures at http://www.stephenstuddphotography.com

For the tweeters https://www.twitter.com/StephenPhotos

I can be contacted for photography commissions on  00447706119609

I am a member of the Garden Media Guild and secretary of the Professional Garden Photographers Association

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Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

This years Malvern Spring Gardening Show started off very wet and muddy. The show garden designers had it tough on the lead up to the show with record amounts of rain. Thankfully the show went on and after a wet start to Thursday the subsequent days were dry and sunny.

Graduate Gardeners Ltd garden “A Place to Reflect” designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison gained them their 5th gold and fourth in a row Best Show Garden.  The vertical fern wall and stainless steel water chute  was a much talked about feature.

Vertical gardening featuring fern wall and water feature "A Place to Reflect", designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison, Graduate Gardeners Ltd, Awarded Gold, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Vertical living fern wall and stainless steel water chute; Graduate Gardeners Ltd “A Place to Reflect” designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison, Gold and Best in Show Garden

The seating area backed by a highly skilled laid Cotswold dry stone wall and a circular butterfly garden wall feature.

A Place to Reflect, designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison, Graduate Gardeners Ltd, Awarded Gold, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Seating area and Cotswold dry stone wall

Stepping stones over a black pebble pool lead you to the rear of the garden.

A Place to Reflect, designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison, Graduate Gardeners Ltd, Awarded Gold, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

A Place to Reflect, designed by Ann Steed & Ian Morrison, Graduate Gardeners Ltd, Awarded Gold & Best in Show, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Un Poco de Hogar (A Little Bit of Home) designed by Alchemy Gardens, the alchemists of stone, with Villagio Verde`s ancient olive trees amongst the cascades of water and the Mediterranean herbs on the slope at 5.30am sunrise transported me to the Alpujarras in Spain, especially with the deep cyan sky and warm light.

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) Awarded Silver Gilt Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) designed by Alchemy Gardens & Villagio Verde, Awarded Silver Gilt, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Mediterranean herbs such as lavender, thyme and rosemary drift around the garden.

Lavender, thyme and rosemary

Lavender, thyme and rosemary

The refreshing water cascade running down two sides of the garden over reclaimed stone run into a deep cavern.

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) Awarded Silver Gilt Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

The cascade running down both sides of the garden disappear in to a cavern.

 

“Hasten Slowly” designed by Imogen Cox Associates was a large show garden with an amazing green oak pergola reminiscent of a barn frame, paved underneath, with a rill running through the garden into the wildlife pond.

"Hasten Slowly" designed by Imogen Cox Associaites, awarded Silver Flora, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Green Oak pergola; “Hasten Slowly” designed by Imogen Cox Associaites, awarded Silver Flora, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

The rill runs straight through the garden over the path under the pergola with a gentle flow to the wildlife pond which is edged with Primulas and Geums.

"Hasten Slowly" designed by Imogen Cox Associaites, awarded Silver Flora, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Rill flowing through the garden into the wildlife pond

Hanging over a formal pool is a seat attached to a grand green oak frame.

"Hasten Slowly" designed by Imogen Cox Associaites, awarded Silver Flora, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

 

The theme for the School Gardens was Sustainability for All. Our future young designers gave us lots of very useful and practical ideas for reducing waste and reusing materials for living in a more sustainable way.

The Good Life, designed by Tudor Grange Academy, Worcester

The Good Life, designed by Tudor Grange Academy, Worcester

Winners Best School Garden; George`s Marvellous Medicine, Designed by Burlish Park Primary School, Theme; Sustainability for All.

Winners Best School Garden; George`s Marvellous Medicine, Designed by Burlish Park Primary School, Theme; Sustainability for All.

recycled reused materials being used as growing containers

recycled reused materials being used as growing containers

With the very difficult conditions we have experienced in Spring the floral Marquee still managed to put on a great display, though many of the nurseries had needed better conditions for full bloom.

My favourite flower at the show was Meconopsis Sheldonii- Himalayan Blue Poppy, photographed from underneath looking up in to the flower.

Meconopsis Sheldonii  - Himalayan Blue Poppy

Meconopsis Sheldonii – Himalayan Blue Poppy

Next stop Chelsea.


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RHS Show Cardiff 2012

This was my first visit to Cardiff RHS show and won`t be the last. The date of the show coincided with National Gardening Week.

Having previously lived in the Mumbles for seven years I am familiar with this part of the world and its weather. Moving away from Wales was tough as there is such spectacular landscape and people. Arriving on the Thursday, build up day, I had a little look around the show gardens then headed straight up the A470 towards Brecon for an afternoon in nature around the foothills of Pen Y Fan. What a beautiful afternoon it was, sun, showers, hail, rainbows and really clear fresh air, blowing away any cobwebs and making the soul feel whole and alive also remembering why I had loved living in Wales.

My walk up in the Brecon Beacons made me think of all the elements that make up garden photography, which to me are landscape, portrait and travel photography. I really enjoy photographing show gardens as I like their transient nature and admire all the hard work and thought that has gone in to making them for that short period of time that they are there.

As a professional garden photographer I am asked what do you do when there is no sunshine. The answer being it really doesn`t matter as there are photo opportunities in all weather, much the same as in landscape photography, though dull battleship grey blanket cloud with fine mizzle is the least favourite!

Having seen the weather forecast on the Thursday I knew I was to be blessed with some changeable weather which would keep me on my toes. Also as an outdoor photographer for over 20 years you get a good feeling about how your next dawn will be and I was looking forward to my 5.30am start.

What a beauty it was, the air still and at sunrise that beautiful orange glow with some dark clouds hovering around, a good start.

Show Gardens

“Naturalistic” a garden designed by Harry Rich of Rich Landscapes reminded me of my afternoon walk up at Pen Y Fan as it had beautifully built curved Brecon dry stone walls and little undulating mounds. The garden also had wave shaped hand crafted hazel hurdles on some of the boundaries reminiscent of the shape of Pen Y Fan.

"Naturalistic" Designed by Harry Rich awarded Best in Show and Silver Gilt RHS Show Cardiff 2012

"Naturalistic" Designed by Harry Rich awarded Best in Show and Silver Gilt RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Harry`s garden was awarded Best in Show. It was a garden that could be viewed from all four sides. To the back of the garden the Box balls, Dicentra and Hosta had great shape and colour when photographed backlit in early morning light.

"Naturalistic" Designed by Harry Rich awarded Best in Show and Silver Gilt RHS Show Cardiff 2012

"Naturalistic" Designed by Harry Rich, Box balls, Hosta and Dicentra behind Brecon dry stone wall

There was an intimate wooden seating and fire area on top of reclaimed oak timber boards towards the back of the garden.

"Naturalistic" Designed by Harry Rich awarded Best in Show and Silver Gilt RHS Show Cardiff 2012

"Naturalistic" seating area

“Off the Shelf” designed by Gaynor Witchard whose concept was to design a low maintenance contemporary garden with materials that could literally be brought “off the shelf” from garden centres or builders merchants did so with style.

"Off the Shelf" Designed by Gaynor Witchard Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

"Off the Shelf" Designed by Gaynor Witchard Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

The polished sandstone really lifted the light levels.

"Off the Shelf" Designed by Gaynor Witchard Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Cordyline australis in containers

"Off the Shelf" Designed by Gaynor Witchard Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Quiet corner seating

"Off the Shelf" Designed by Gaynor Witchard Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Water feature with bamboos against contemporary wall

“Regeneration” designed by Dewin Designs, Jane Grehan & David Lewis embodied the saying reduce, reuse, recycle as it was a garden made from reused materials and was awarded Silver gilt. On my own organic allotment I use reused materials so I really related to this garden.

"Regeneration" Designed by Dewin Designs, Jane Grehan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

"Regeneration" Designed by Dewin Designs, Jane Grehan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

The boundary was made from sanded and painted pallets, planted to soften its look and drilled wooden logs added for solitary bee homes. The shape of the garden was based around the unfurling fern in spring.

The water feature was on two levels made from off cuts from Welsh roofing slate and had a great old spade water outlet with curved seats made from old scaffold planks sat on top of old grates.

"Regeneration" Designed by Jane Grehan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Water feature and seating area made from reused materials.

"Regeneration" Designed by Jane Grehan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Great use for reusing old broken spades

“A Growing Community”by LLandaff North Residents Associaition with Cardiff Council designed by Stephanie Wilkins was a garden about community. It was designed to bring community together by using unused space and after consulting the community an informal planting scheme was decided upon. The garden was awarded Bronze.

"A Growing Community" Llandaff North Residents Association designed by Stephanie Wilkins

"A Growing Community" Llandaff North Residents Association designed by Stephanie Wilkins

“A Dream Journey”  Arriva Trains designed by Bridgend College highlighted the environmental and personal benefits of travelling by train.

"A Dream Journey" Designed by Bridgend College

"A Dream Journey" Designed by Bridgend College

Show Features

“Urban Oasis” Groundwork UK & the RHS designed by Chris Beardshaw showed how derelict places can be transformed with clever design turning them into `green` spaces that can be used for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Awarded Best in Show Feature.

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012. Awarded Best in Show feature. Derelict side

The planting on the designed space;

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Planting on the designed space

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Seating area and water feature

Testament that it could be used by people and wildlife, these ducks were waking up at dawn on top of one of the walls of the garden.

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Ducks in the Urban Oasis at dawn

“A Spring Allotment” Designed by Chris Smith of Pennard Plants replicated what is growing on an allotment at this time of year.

A Spring Allotment designed by Chris Smith of Pennard Plants

A Spring Allotment designed by Chris Smith of Pennard Plants with terracotta rhubarb forcer

Finally walking around the floral pavillion I am always on the look out for eye catching plants. On my last evening at the show I got to photograph this Protea hybrid from the Trewidden Nursery stand. This was taken with a 180mm Canon macro lens with a 4 second exposure. When using such slow exposures its vital that the plant is totally still as it was this evening as the show was closed and most people had left the pavillion.

Protea hybrid from Trewidden Nursery

Protea hybrid from Trewidden Nursery

Now its time to get up my allotment and harvest some of my own rhubarb after seeing the Pennard Plants display.


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Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2011; Show Gardens

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.


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Malvern Spring Gardening Show May 2011

Well the show is over and the processing in Lightroom 3 has begun. This years show was blessed with good weather and some fantastic show gardens. A 4.45am start to the day paid dividends with the most beautiful sunrises at 5.45am. Sun rising perfectly casting low warm light onto some of the gardens. Perfect conditions only thing to contend with was the wind. But this actually worked on a couple of the gardens, especially the Chris Beardshaw/Bradstone scholarship gardens, where the theme was “Atom”, marking the UN`s International Year of Chemistry.

Graduate Gardeners took Gold and Best in the Show Gardens, for their garden entitled “A Garden for Life”. The garden was centred around an A frame house with wildflowers at the front and a very practical grow your own veg patch to the side. On a photography technical side Lee Filters .6ND soft grad was used to balance the sky and foreground. White marquees were taken out of the windows by Jaincotech, thanks.

Gold & Best in Show, "A Garden for Life" designed by Stuart Gibbs (Graduate Gardeners Ltd)

It really looked like it had always been there!

The details were also amazing

The veg garden

The other Gold Winner was  “My Very Local Veg Garden” designed by Hannah Genders (Hannah Genders Ltd). This was a garden that touched me as Hannah set herself the challenge of sourcing all materials for the garden within cycling distance of her home in Worcestershire. On my own organic allotment all the raised beds are made from slab, wood that isn`t used in the timber industry. For a book commission “The Medicine Garden” by Rachel Corby I too set myself a mission of photographing as many of the Medicinal Plants from a 5 mile radius of my house. The only ones not possible to do were by the coast.

I love the ethos of making an amazingly productive garden from recycled, reused materials!

Awarded Gold "My Very Local Veg Garden"; garden designed by Hannah Genders (Hannah Genders Ltd)

Super styling; and who wouldn`t want to sit around the centrepiece table and tuck into a  meal made from the produce at picking distance from your chair.

Fantastic veg garden!

The Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship gardens sponsored by Bradstone threw up some delights and some maverick designs!

My personal favourite was “In the Balance” designed by Caroline E Butler. I remember being immersed in the photography when Caroline came up for a chat, I was in the zone. Caroline asked what I was doing and I explained I was a garden photographer and that i was spending alot of time on the garden to get it right and I remember saying “which is a good sign”.

The next day Caroline at the awards ceremony was handed the Chris Beardshaw scholarship!

This first image was where I thought the windy conditions aided me. I liked the concept of the mathematical equations and what they meant to me. On going back the next morning at 5.30 it was windy but with good light. I had thought overnight what the equations were representing and to me fluidity and movement.

Chris Beardshaw scholarship winner; "In the Balance"; garden designed by Caroline E Butler

The Fibonacci numbers integer sequence is a mathematical equation that Carolines planting of Sempervivum in the nucleus displays well.

Great use of Bradstone materials

Another scholarship winner was Paul Cantello`s garden “Breathe” designed around the oxygen atom.  The raised platforms I liked with their thought out metal rod bordering.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Chris Beardshaw Scholarship "Breathe" ; Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2011 garden designed by Paul Cantello (Batello Garden Design)

It also displayed lovely tight planting, no room for weeds.

Another scholarship winner was Rachel Phillips “Budding Scientists”. I loved the structure with the turf roof.

"Budding Scientists" Awarded Silver Gilt Flora & Chris Beardshaw scolarship, garden designed by Rachel Phillips & Designs With Nature

Awarded Gold best Trade stand and best in show was  the garden from Garden Interest designed by Roger Higgins. I had seen this garden earlier in the week and wanted to get there before any light hit it. There at 5.45am with the Malvern winds blowing I needed a 4 second exposure to get the waterfall cascade right and patience needed for a lull in the wind to keep the planting still.

Patience paid off and I must say the sound of the waterfall made me really want this in my own garden.

Trade Stand Gold and Best in Show awarded to Garden Interest Landscape Design and Construction designed by Robin Higgins

Fantastic attention to detail;

I did want to sit in the deckchair sipping a warm cup of tea from a flask listening to the seagulls and waves lapping the breaks and shore below at the “Westhaven School by the Sea” garden designed by  Mark Walker of Walkers Garden Retreats.

The Gold Schools garden went to a garden designed by Pershore college students with Jake Peloni`s design. What a central feature the pebble globe. Plus it lent itself well to being photographed at midday, always a bonus.

Awarded Gold "The Astrology Garden"; garden designed by Jake Poloni and Pershore College

I also really liked the pathways which one of the students told me were made from old school locker doors a wonderful use of recycling. Plus they rusted really well fitting in perfectly.

As this is a garden photography blog then I must show a few of the gardens that leant themselves well to photograph, which is something garden designers at shows miss sometimes. To gain publicity it must be easy to photograph.

I really liked Keni Lee`s “From Laozi to Heisenberg”. After a recent month long photography trip to Shanghai I really got his garden. I thought it was very Zen and Tao. I thought the low lying planting with tall rocks reminded the viewer of the mountains and from the top of them looking onto the landscape below. The pathways zig zag to keep the evil spirits out. There are ying and yang elements in the garden.

"From Laozi to Heisenberg" garden designed by Keni Lee

Circles worked well;

Rhea Lyn Parkes “The Rain Garden” was one of my favourite shots of the show purely for the simplicity of the grasses against the ochre wall at dawn. Something to look at and contemplate.

Another slow exposure shot that worked well was Lindsay Warwicks bubbley “Chemistry… all that matters” garden with the effervescing test tubes.

Finally “Collision” by Christopher Tessier. His simplicity and the spiral rill I really enjoyed and nowadays thanks to Photoshop the distracting cordon around the garden could be removed thanks to my friends at Jaincotech! (This shot would not be here with it in!)

Like to drive away in this car? “The Morgan Garden” designed by Craig Hamilton Smith in association with Morgan Motor Company.

A really big thankyou to all the designers, gardeners, landscapers mavericks for a truly great show. Wishing you all the best. A really big thankyou to Sharon Gilbert from the Three Counties Showground Press Office for running things so magnificently. Finally to the plants the sun and all people passionate about gardens!

Next blog coming soon will be magnificent plants from the Floral pavillion, here`s a taster!

Mecenopsis Sheldonii Lingholm grown by Kayes Garden Nursery