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Taunton Flower Show award winning garden 'Time to Reflect'

I am starting to draft my article for this month’s magazine column early as it is a week until we start to build our show garden for Taunton Flower Show and things are going to get a bit busy with a deadline to meet!

Most of my plans are now in place, but as with all plans they are apt to change! At the end of last week, I spoke to the nursery that are growing the plants for the garden to check all was on track. The recent extremely hot weather caused some of the plants to go over, so they will now need to be substituted.

Exhibiting a show garden is a huge team effort by people who buy into your idea and kindly offer to support you with sponsorship or with their time and generosity.

This year we were fortunate to secure sponsorship from the horticultural charity Perennial for the plants for the garden. You may recall they sponsored the Chelsea Flower Show Garden ‘With Love’ at this year’s show, so no pressure!

As always, the lovely folk at Allgreen in Yeovil were incredibly generous in supplying the hard landscaping materials and the fantastic oak setts I used to surround the water bowl in my garden design.

Everedge kindly provided the metal edging to enable us to create the different areas of the garden, and the super talented Kevin Andrews of The Metal Workshop in Yeovil made the circular arch and metal sign in mirror image that sat above the water bowl, that when transposed in the water, read Reflect.

Monday 1st August at 10.00 am we started the garden build on site and was the time when we first meet our fellow competitors, and what a great bunch they were this year. GSL Southwest aided by Richard Pitman and my husband Andrew put together the structure of the garden creating the boundary walls, path, and planting areas, and of course erecting the fabulous metal circular arch.

On Tuesday all the gorgeous plants arrived from Peter and his team at Dayspring Plants. This year I decided to use soft pastel shades of pink and purple to create the relaxing and reflective mood of the garden. Each year there is always one plant in the show garden that you are repeatedly asked for the name of, and this year it was the Monarda ‘Beauty of Cobland.’

The weather for the build phase and both days of the show, was extremely hot! Our plot faced South, and although under a tree, by early afternoon it felt like the Caribbean, but without the rum punch! Andrew and I finished planting the garden on Thursday evening and were pleased with our efforts.

Friday morning at 8am marked the start of judging of the gardens and other competitions around the showground. Whilst this was happening, I did a live radio interview for 10 Radio CIC with the lovely Pauline Homeshaw talking about the inspiration for my garden and how good it was to be back at Vivary Park.

This year the garden judges were Lady Rosemary FitzGerald, the writer and nurserywoman Sally Gregson, and invited celebrity guest judge Jim Buttress who I am sure some of you will know from the TV programme ‘The Big Allotment Challenge’ and the books he has written. For many years Jim was the Superintendent for the Royal Parks and the head judge for ‘Britain in Bloom’.

The time arrived when the judges announced the result, and I am delighted to say that Sandhurst Garden Design won the Best Show Garden and the Western Daily Press Cup. Ben McGrail of ITV West Country News, asked us both to do an interview with him about the garden, maybe you saw us on the telly?

We were both delighted with the result. We had dedicated the garden to the memory of both our mum’s who we sadly lost in the last 2 years and our dear friend Stewart Anning. We had so many lovely comments about the garden and the plants, people said, ‘they would like to pick the garden up and take it home with them,’ which I must confess I would have liked to have done too.

Finally, Andrew wrote a lovely poem to accompany our design garden called ‘The Garden,’ you can find it in this edition of the magazine in Poem Corner.

Until next time

Julie

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