Before all the hippies descend for the Secret Garden Festival, Abbots Ripton Hall throws open its gates to gardeners everywhere. So along we went to check out the plant stalls and have a good nosy at the gardens.
We had a quick look at the trade stalls, not intending to buy anything. My eldest couldn’t resist having a go at building the giant T Rex skeleton at the Animals Go Large stand. I tried to buy a smaller kit for her and her sister but she was being disagreeable (late night last night) and was more interested in ice cream. Those giant butterfly sculptures sure would look good with some morning glories climbing up them….
We didn’t have loads of time (or patience in the girls’ cases) so we had a quick squizz at the show gardens. There were only a few and they weren’t massive, but I’ve got loads of ideas from the ones we saw. The first one was the entry from Marram Gardens, and I just love stuff like this. It’s all Lord of the Rings-y and relaxed. This is the exact kind of vibe I’m going for in the shady bit near my pond, only it’ll be much smaller and a bit rubbish. My astilbes are about to flower so maybe that’ll make it look better. I’ll be nicking some of the planting ideas from this garden. How fab is that table? Love it.
Next up was the entry from Manea School of Gardening. Another fantastic, relaxed garden. It seems more like a real garden to me than some show gardens you see with massive, weird sculptures in or bizarre themes. I think the arbor is amazing and I want to grow some Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ so I can make my own. The beds are beautiful, full of salix, millet (must get some of this for the birds), echinacea and roses. There was also a small pond and bog garden. It’s not a garden without a pond!
There was another show garden but it wasn’t my sort of thing so I didn’t take a photo. Life’s short and my memory stick isn’t infinite.
Anyway, the last garden was by Abbots Ripton Garden Club. I can totes see myself relaxing here. It was packed with butterflies even with the black clouds overhead.
Sadly we were almost out of time to see the main gardens, so we had to quickly whizz round. I didn’t get many photos because I was too busy looking. But check this out:
On our way out, we passed the show gardens again which were being dismantled (‘Heartbreaking’, as one of the designers put it. Too right). I managed to bag some of these beautiful echinaceas from the Manea garden for only a quid each. Score!
The echinaceas are now settling in surrounded by organic slug pellets, beer traps, moats lined with sharpened sticks, and land mines. Your move, slugs.
Abbots Ripton Garden Show runs every two years so now I have to wait until 2016 to see the rest of the garden. I won’t climb over the wall and look, they might shoot at me.