The Little Green Blog was launched exactly one month ago today, and what better way to celebrate the one month anniversary of the blog than with my first ever flower show! I mentioned to my Mum that I'd seen adverts for Tatton Flower Show, but had never heard of it myself. She told me that it would be the perfect way to get into flower shows as it is known for being one of the smaller but more vibrant events. In particular, the show highlights its young and upcoming garden designers, creating an incredibly youthful and festival-like aesthetic which provides ample opportunity for budding young photographers...
The highlight of the tent was master grower, W. S. Warmenhoven's alliums, which were definitely one of the most popular species at the whole event. These variations on the classic allium were a beautifully arranged evolution of the plant, and showed perfectly the dedication of the growers.
I am so grateful to those who explained their designs and thought-processes to me; it is vital that the designers, growers and business owners that contribute to these kind of events are recognised for their hard work. Their dedication to art and construction should be acknowledged in the same way we would recognise artists in a gallery or designers on a catwalk and celebrated equally.
I've come away from Tatton having learnt a few more plant names, facts about species and the insects and animals that benefit from them, but I've also come away in awe of the people that not only create beautiful outdoor spaces, but promote important and evocative messages. Flower shows are not just for plant lovers, but for photography enthusiasts, philosophers, architectures, volunteers, children and more.
People often ask me how I find country life in the Cotswolds after growing up in London. I, like many people, assumed that moving to the country meant being cooped up in a cottage all day. In fact, there are so many wonderful attractions in the Cotswolds that are even better than many attractions found in London. An excellent example of this is the Cotswold Wildlife Park. You might assume from its name that it is a quaint little park in the Cotswolds equipped with a butterfly house and petting zoo. Although it does have both of these, you would be wrong to assume that it was anything but spectacular. I first went to the park two years ago, and was overwhelmed by its sheer size and scale. I visited again early this year, but hadn't yet launched a blog on which to talk about it. So, ever since launching The Little Green Blog, I have been eagerly waiting to post about - what I think is - one of the best wildlife attractions in the UK.
Although I'm no expert, the Cotswold Wildlife park is one of the few places where the animals appear to be incredibly content in their environment. The expert keepers not only work to maintain the beauty of the gardens, but the wellbeing of the various species that the park cares for. Whether you live in London, the North or South; a visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is essential for any animal, garden or nature lover - especially at this time of year!
Manchester has been my home during my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music for the last two years. Although I often go back and forth to Gloucestershire and London to see friends and family, I spend most of my time here in the city. It is sometimes hard therefore to find the same amount of greenery and wildlife in Manchester compared to the natural surroundings of my family home in the Cotswolds. I mentioned this before in my post about Media City, in which I discussed the lack of green space in the city centre. Despite this, Manchester is undeniably vibrant in its arts and culture. So, this weekend, I went on an urban wildlife hunt in the city.
So far, my urban wildlife collection consists mostly of street art and independent flower shops, but a city as industrial as Manchester provides a different kind of pleasure when it comes to discovering plants and animals because you really have to look for it. Walking back from the city to Salford Quays took me along the Manchester canal. Normally, I'm found running along the canal every other morning, so it was nice to use it for a leisurely walk for a change. The canal is home to lots of typical waterway plants such as the bright purple butterfly bushes that line the paths.
Apart from the ever-changing appearance of the garden itself, the open garden day is very much the same every year. My Mum is usually running around fretting about how much she has to do (the baking tends to start at about midnight the evening before everyone is due to visit). My job is always to lovingly decorate the cakes, help out around the garden in any way I can - and apart from that - stay out of the way and provide hourly cups of tea for my Mum to keep her going.
What astounds me is that my Mother's garden has been a five year project. In that small space of time she has managed to turn a completely bare canvas into a three tiered exotic country garden which features its own pond and waterfall, fire-pit and bee hives (with a few extra shady areas to rest your legs in between). I've always encouraged my Mum to be more bold with colour in her landscape design, so I was delighted to see the newest addition to her flower beds: the most vibrantly coloured snapdragons you've ever laid eyes on.
The open garden is very much a family-run affair; with my Mum working as tour guide for the afternoon, I'm in charge of cakes and teas (not a hard job) and my Grandmother and Aunt sat on the door this year welcoming guests and dogs of all kinds. My Aunt even brought with her, her magnificent Bernese mountain dog called Tigga who, along with our dog Rufus, was able to pay her entrance fee, sample some cake and explore the garden.
Although it has become tradition that my Mum and I start baking late the night before into the wee hours of the morning, the selection of goodies seems to get better every year. The two clear winners for the guests were my Mother's Raspberry and Rosewater Sponge, and her famous Bakewell Tart. With nearly £600 raised for charity, the day was a huge success and we'll be spending the next week trying to finish up any leftover cakes and tray bakes ourselves (which is a hard task but someone's got to do it right?)
On behalf of my Mum and the National Garden Scheme, I'd like to thank every single person who came to visit the garden yesterday to admire both the cakes and the flowers. It means so much to be able to take something that we enjoy and use it as an excuse to raise money for worthy causes all over the country.
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!