Eeeek I have been a bit lax, some might say busy, I would say a bit caught up in the moment with exhausted patches in between. Ok Doing too much again!
A really rather exciting few weeks to be fair and some new experiences and faces too boot. Almost all good too with only one or two awkward stumbles which is a bonus in my books.
So Cottesbrooke Plant Fair… well it must be said it has been a favourite day out since I returned to the area some 4 years ago, need less to say I assumed it had been going for yonks and I’d only just come across it, late as usual. WRONG apparently this was it’s 4th year out. Ha Ha. I am thrilled to discover I have been every year then.
Cottesbrooke Hall has some fabulous gardens some designed by James Alexander Sinclair and some by Arne Maynard and Mr AS appears to be a driving force behind the plant fair, which it seems is growing year on year . This year a number of extra marquees offered talks from any number of celebs, including Marc Diacono of Otter Farm re-known and Cleve West of Chelsea Best in Show 2 years running fame, not to mention, Helen Yemm of the Telegraph and JAS too boot.
This year though I was working. Yes I know do not pass out in a faint, ’twas work of a kind. The lovely JAS has a rather great design assistant who happens to be a buddy of mine from Garden Design college days…. all will become clear shortly. She, the assistant, asked if I would like to do some days in the Inspire tent, inspiring people to think about the design of their outside space, their gardens and the planting there in, in new and thought provoking ways and to do this in 20 minute slots, for free. How could I say no?
So for 2 days I saw a wide variety of people discussing garden problems from watery plantings and doggy demolition to positioning seating and creating vistas. My final slot was kind of the best and worst as Mr AS came to sit with the rather lovely clients and me and talk planting. I fluffed the ‘name a suitable plant for this area’ test with flying colours, sorry James, I do really know my shrubs from my herbaceous perennials, I was just a bit awestruck (I am officially pathetic, I know!)
On the up side, meeting enthusiastic planty clients is always a pleasure and the place was stuffed with them along with the plant enthusiast nurserymen and women, heaven really.
I managed a run or 2 around the numerous plant stalls too and succeeded in coming away with only 6 new, must have plants, 2 of which do not count as they were swaps in the Gardens Illustrated Plant Swap stall ( more rare irises distributed into the unsuspecting world!) A great benefit to all concerned is the proximity of GREAT nurseries from all over the country in one place. I secured a Sichuan pepper from East Devon (Otter farm) along with an Astrantia from Kent and a Pennisetum from Sussex. Happy days.
My pink wellies even got an outing, the ground was a quagmire, the gardens looked lush and full of noteworthy plant combination and I got to hear JAS talking about plants he’d like to ‘SNOG, MARRY And AVOID’. Note: in they very unlikely event you’re reading this James I was NOT txting anyone I WAS writing notes on my iPhone of the plant names you were racing through..really, I can prove it!
Next year I hope to be asked back.
One can always hope.
This weekend it is off to Cheines Manor in Oxfordshire for their annual Plant and Garden Fair…more plants