Trip To BBC Gardener’s World Live

Eight thirty in the morning. Saturday. Three dozen people. A clean white PKS coach and a clear M6 to the N.E.C.
Five thirty in the afternoon. Thirty six people. The return journey.
In between: a satisfying day, dodging showers and walking around two halls of the N.E.C. with a dead-battery camera, open wallet, ticket for the plant crèche and a sense of delight.
Local news stories had given out that the Gardener’s World Live Show Saturday tickets were sold out. We joined the throngs of slow moving, patient gawkers and those clearly overprescribed on retail therapy.
There was a lot to see. The show has rarely been about gardening techniques: more a way of bringing the curious, the celebrity seekers and impulse buyers together, perhaps trading a little too heavily on the success of the popular BBC TV series.
When you added “free” entrance to the BBC Good Food show reason may, for some of the above listed, gone out of the potting shed window.
gardeners world

I enjoyed the Gardening for Wildlife sections, got some new-ish ideas for “upcycling” materials and took some interesting identification sheets for butterflies and insects. We walked past a crowd obviously trying to listen to Monty Don, the mass of “believers” well outside the limits of the seated “theatre” so truly impossible to hear: but for some ladies of a certain age it may just be that to see the man urbanely, smoothly taking his time, with long we’re-all-friends-here, aren’t-we? Pauses between snippets of wisdom is more than enough. Later, when we were all “shopped out” and had fifteen minutes to lose, we were able to stand and watch (and hear) the diminutive Carol Klein, burbling on about raised beds, how people from Bolton are incapable of growing mint (at least I think that was what she was saying). But at three something in the afternoon, she was not her usual TV jack-in-the-enthusiasm box self.
Seed companies were there, promoting (and reminding) what seeds can still be planted: useful. A few more stands featuring poultry in gardens. Got a packet of aquilegia seeds for our eldest daughter who has been told they grow anywhere and have anti-slug properties.
The Floral Marquee was a worthwhile shelter, there to duck into out of the sharp storms of rain and wind (that seem to be making this a genuinely low-temperature June). The clues are in the name. This is a vast circus-come-market area filled with plants. All very well presented. I particularly noticed how many exhibits this year have at least a small water feature (in some cases a simple “puddle”) – which can only be a good thing in my wildlife-friendly mind. I was particularly taken by the Birmingham Library exhibit – taking snaps of this my camera finally expired.
DSC01323

We bought some plants and seeds, but, eating a tasty ham and cheese sandwich I was given to muse, somewhat smugly perhaps, that a lot of the people dragging ankle-biting (usually pink) wheeled carts around the show had little or no idea how to care for the plants they were buying and would need to come back next year to buy replacements. (Hope that won’t be us!) … oh and we just managed to resist signing up for a Scandinavian wood-cabin … I think.

Special thanks to les and Den, who did most of the organising, shepherding and worrying.

Photosource: stock shed in meadow: http://www.gardenersworld.com/galleries

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