A post about GROW London, the capital’s newest, freshest garden show, is one of the many that never found its way out of my drafts folder last summer. This is very remiss of me as GROW London really is worth shouting about. Coming a month after Chelsea, the show bookends the June Gap, providing Londoners with a timely opportunity to add blooms to their balconies, tart up their terraces or augment their allotments with the choicest gardening gear.
I snapped up tickets for the Charity Gala evening, which benefits the National Gardens Scheme. The weather tonight was perfect: warm and sunny with a refreshing breeze. The very essence of summer. The show ground, on the edge of Hampstead Heath, is perfect for attracting affluent north Londoners who arrived in their droves, decked in crisply pressed linen and floral shirts – oversized sunglasses compulsory.
The show runs from Friday 19th June until Sunday 21st June and is just the right size for a half day out including a spot of lunch. Drinks this evening were laid on by Nyetimber, the finest of English sparkling wines and a favourite of The Queen. I had to have a few glasses to be sure it was good enough for Her Majesty. This year sees the return of many exhibitors, suggesting last year was a commercial success. Top of my list to see were Crûg Farm Plants from North Wales, Evolution Plants from Somerset and Niwaki, the Japanese tool company. None disappointed.
This year London garden centres, of which there are pitifully few, are better represented. W6 and N1 Garden centres created a lush display of creatively potted plants balanced on ladders and shelves. A visit is seriously overdue, something I must remedy. If their stand is anything to go by, I am in for a treat.
Petersham Nurseries, always in a league of its own, created a romantic bower, surrounded by frothy plants and heavily scented roses.
Website Gardenista hosted a mini market packed with artisan producers including 31 Chapel Lane, offering beautiful Irish linen gardening smocks and tea towels. I was encouraged to enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards, which is a competition you might like to consider entering yourself. You’ll need to be quick as the closing date is Monday June 22nd.
If you are in London this weekend you should make a bee-line for GROW London. Just have the good sense to take a cab home with your purchases – 4ft scenicos are easily caught in train doors ;-).
- Begonia luxurians x 2 – dazzling Brazilian begonia with long, finger-like leaves.
- Senecio christobalensis – an extraordinary, furry-leaved giant
- Tweedia caerulea – divine tender climber with turquoise flowers
- Saxifraga stolonifera – beautiful spreading saxifrage with dark leaves and pink flowers like tiny butterflies
- Ludisia discolor – jewel orchid. An indoor orchid with maroon, veined leaves and white flowers
A special shout out for Glendon Nursery, growers of the above, who’s stand was as exciting as finding a rich aunt’s jewellery box in the attic. Plants to die for.