The Ascot Spring Garden Show is a new show planned and designed by Stephen Bennett, former Shows Director at the Royal Horticultural Society where he was responsible for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the launch of many other major RHS shows. My Mum mentioned to me that she was going with a press pass and I immediately asked whether I could tag along. To my surprise, she almost dissuaded me from going, insisting that there wouldn't be much to photograph. I insisted anyway, and starting googling the show in advance. To my surprise, there was very little information about the upcoming show on the Ascot website or the RHS website, or even on Twitter! I'd also seen the show listed under several different titles, making it incredibly difficult to understand what event you were attending before arrival.
Once the day came and we did actually arrive at the show, it was clear that the only significant advertising for the show was confined to the Ascot Racecourse itself, which seems a shame considering you could have been driving through Ascot and have no idea that the event was happening. The posters made promises such as 'pink blooms', 'blue emerges' and 'purple unfurls'. Unfortunately, the combination of the time of year and the never-ending Winter that we're having in the UK made these statements rather hard to live up to. Although so much of the show was full of beautiful flower arrangements, show gardens and stands, I spent most of my time having to crouch on the ground or zooming between plants in order to capture the odd bit of colour.
The show did however feature six show gardens from award-winning and up-coming professional designers, the most exquisite being 'Yardley's Flower Garden', designed by Pip Probert (Outer Spaces). The space was a culmination of traditional and contemporary design, the intention being to create a garden with multiple uses. The contrasting textures and materials united by the central water feature created a garden in which entertainment, socialising and secluded contemplation all seemed possible. The other show gardens were also creatively formed, but seemed to have a large focus on accessorising and laying tables, which sometimes tended to steal the focus from the planting.
Another large feature of the show was the Young Gardener's of the Year Competition, which featured 5m x 4.5m plots designed by six different colleges to represent city-dwelling gardens that make the most of their limited space and urban surroundings, many of which gave the impression of creating enclosed, tranquil escapes from city life. Unfortunately, the Young Gardener's show gardens were on the top of the main building where the light coming through the open balcony made it very difficult to take in the gardens, let alone photograph them (hence my lack of pictures!)
The biggest highlight of the whole show was definitely the nurseries and trade stands. These feature an impressive array of vibrant colours and a large variety of spring perennials. A beautiful selection of daffodils and tulips was to be expected, but was charming nonetheless. The show was definitely geared more towards amateur gardeners looking for tips and hints on how to improve their growing skills and develop their ability to creatively design a space, and the trade stands and nurseries seemed to be the best port of call for this.
Overall, the show was impressive considering the time of year and the lack of advertising it had been given prior to opening. Although a small show, it had the advantage that you could walk around the entire show and see everything it had to offer without it taking hours and hours. Although slightly underwhelming at times, I feel that the Ascot Spring Garden Show might be one to watch in the future...
So it's been quite a while since my last post - but it's all for the right reasons. I don't need to explain to any other bloggers out there how it can be hard to balance a steady flow of content with the rest of your life. Those who haven't maintained a blog before probably underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes into editing images, arranging content and coming up with semi-interesting topics to talk about in the first place! The last few months has definitely been a period in which keeping track of my blog has been almost impossible. However, it's been good to a have a break from the self-inflicted pressures of consistent blogging and social media presence, and actually focus on my own wellbeing.
In January this year I started a new job, moved to a new place and have been generally adjusting to 2018. Although it has flown by, the last five years of my life have been spent as a student - and - although being a student is definitely no walk in the park, it's been a physically and mentally demanding change to suddenly be in full time work. Although I'm tired a lot of the time and never seem to stop moving, I'm happier now than I've been in a long time. A lot of this, I think, is down to exercise and healthy eating. It's important for me to stress that in no way do I consider myself some kind of guru of healthy living but - by putting thought into what and when I eat, as well as making sure that I regularly exercise - seems to have made life so much easier.
Throughout my teenage years and in my early twenties at University, I struggled to sleep and constantly felt run down and tired. I would seem to catch every cold, flu and stomach bug going, and it was never down to the fact that I was drinking ridiculous amounts or partying into the early hours of the morning, as I've never been the type to do that regularly. I was however eating at irregular intervals, and filling myself full with fast, convenient food to try and make my body feel better, rather than thinking about what I actually needed in my diet. Like so many students, I put on a lot of weight at University, and became incredibly self-conscious and uncomfortable about how I looked and what I could wear. I would never go out without makeup on, and I would always feel the need to suck my stomach in. Ironically, I used to mock the girls who had gym memberships and had modest appetites. In actual fact, I've learnt that there is no shame in caring about how you look because... we all do in some way or another.
I used to think that the best way to lose weight and feel better about the way I looked was to say no to 'bad' foods like cakes, carbs etc. I've since learned that this is a ridiculous way to live. I don't diet, and I never say no to food because I'm 'watching my weight' and I am always going to have a large appetite! In fact, the sooner I stopped thinking about how much I weighed or what I looked like in the mirror and focused on knowing what my body needed throughout the day, I started looking in the mirror less and less, and cared very little about how much I weighed because I simply felt better.
I'm conscious about getting lots of fruit and vegetables in my diet, and I'm conscious of having three proper, balanced meals at the same time every day. I eat more now at 23 than I ever have, but simply by eating better and at regular intervals, it's made a big difference to my health and wellbeing. 'Cheat days' that we're encouraged to buy into through fad diets and social media are such a stupid idea to me. I don't ever feel the need to binge or allow myself to have 'treats' because I just let myself have what I want. The better you eat, the more you can afford to just relax about your diet. I love drinking wine, beer and cider, and I eat all kinds of cakes and donuts made for staff at my work. Like so many brits, I used to have the kind of diet where I ate these things excessively. Instead of baking a batch of blondies and eating them all myself, I now know to share them with my greedy Tibetan terrier, Rufus...
The second most important element in my lifestyle has to be exercise. I started running about two years ago, and - having spent most of my life not being able to walk for more than ten minutes without getting breathless or tired - am now at the point where I actually enjoy exercising. At first, I thought it was essential that I ran as far as I could, as fast as I could ever single day. Now, I go when I want, as fast or slow as I want for as long as I want - it just so happens that the more I do it, the more I want to improve and keep going. I never exercise when I'm overtired from work or feeling ill at all, and never push myself to the point of pain or discomfort. I do however sleep better at night, and find myself able to do simple things that used to tire me out very quickly like walking up steep hills or running for the bus.
I'm not tired now because I'm run down, but because I work hard and try to keep active. The only thing I'm waiting for now is for spring to kick in... there's only so many times you can put a good spin on running in the rain by describing it as 'refreshing'.
Hi there, my name is Nevada and I'm a twenty-five year old music teacher. The Little Green blog centres around wildlife, gardening and lifestyle photography. All photos are my own and represent the portfolio of an amateur photographer!