British Summertime begins at the Gardens Illustrated Festival 2017 March 27, 2017 20:51
This weekend, we headed west to Gloucestershire to take part in the Gardens Illustrated Festival. Held in and around the beautiful house and gardens of Westonbirt School, visitors enjoyed two days of inspiring talks from a hugely knowledgeable & entertaining line up of speakers; gorgeous plants and gardenalia from independent growers, makers and proprietors (ahem, including yours truly with our new fabric design for 2017 - click here to shop 'Patsy' - our new fabric now available across our range of deck chairs, beach chairs and stools) and wall to wall sunshine for TWO WHOLE DAYS - hooray!
If you didn't make it, or want to reminisce about the fab atmosphere of the last few days, here is a quick run down of our favourite parts of the Show:
The Location: Westonbirt School, originally Westonbirt House, was rebuilt in the 1860's by Robert Stainer Halford who inherited the family estate. He was a keen gardening and landscaping enthusiast and his son followed his footsteps, with a passion for gardens, the arboretum at Westonbirt and orchids. The legacy of these two men is evident across every inch of the school grounds - with beautiful views here, perfectly arranged vistas there. The Holfords of Westonbirt Trust manages the historical buildings and grounds of the Estate, and regularly hold open days during the summer months (from April until October). It is well worth a visit to take in this breathtaking place.
The Buzz: The mix of some well needed sunshine, a beautiful location, and a free, easy style of delivery made for a heady cocktail. Saturday afternoon in particular was buzzing. Crowds lapped up the sunshine on the terrace and lawns. Top notch speakers and garden experts wandered effortlessly around the stalls and grounds after their sessions, enjoying a chat with exhibitors and visitors. Nurserymen and women scurried around, drafting in tray after tray of unusual or interesting plants for everyone to enjoy. Brilliant.
The Exhibitors: A while ago, we had a question pop up on our Facebook page, asking for advice about cool, trendy wall planters. Well, Amy of St Albans, look no further. You need to head to de la Torre. Mark de la Torre makes the most beautiful, ceramic planters, perfect for stylish succulents or small rockery types to pour out of. Yes, I did stand next to Mark for two whole days. But I am not biased or easily swayed. Those planters are gorgeous. And don't get me started on the bird boxes.
If your plants grow a little too large for Mark's planters, repot them into these gorgeous copper planters from Ember Gate. They have a fab selection of vintage gardenalia, including planters with the best lion heads and furry paws we've seen in a long while.
However, if you don't have anything beautiful enough to plant in either of these gorgeous planters, head to Avon Bulbs. I couldn't resist their Tropaeolum tricolorum (don't ask me to pronounce that one!! Picture below). I have since discovered that it is known as a chilean nasturtium. Ha! I knew there was a reason I was drawn to it. I absolutely love nasturtiums. Plus it is a word that I can actually spell and pronounce. Move over, Monty.
If all this still feels like far too much green fingered effort, Rich Pickings were there with a beautiful selection of cut flowers to enjoy for Mothering Sunday. With an emphasis on bringing nature inside by the imaginative use of locally grown flowers, plants and hedgerow greenery, their informal hand tied flowers have a sense of fun, style and seasonality.
And there you have it. A top weekend in a beautiful place shared with some really lovely people. I'm going to make that a pre requisite for every weekend in future. Roll on Friday...