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...
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!