|Peony 'Vision of Sugar Plums' on Evolution Plants stand|
Yesterday's weather was gorgeous - clear blue skies with just enough breeze to keep things from getting overheated - and what better way to end such a day than with a glass of chilled sparkling wine courtesy of a visit to London's own garden show, GROW London. The show officially opens today, Friday, but kicked off on Thursday night with a garden party charity evening in aid of NGS (National Gardens Scheme).
It was lovely to bump into old friends - and be introduced to new ones - but I didn't spend the entire evening schmoozing. I was there in my blogger/press guise so as I wandered the vast showroom, I took note of the exquisite products displayed and stopped to chat to a few of the exhibitors. As usual, I was too busy asking questions and not taking enough photos (something that I'll remedy later today) but here's a sample of what crossed my path …
|Top: Corten steel fire pit from The Pot Co; NordEco chairs.|
Middle: Julia Clarke willow nest in Hardy Plant garden; pots and cubes from The Pot Co.
Bottom: Niwaki pruners and garden scissors; Barbed hosereel
Niwaki Japanese garden and kitchen tools. Jake Hobson, master of the art of cloud pruning, kindly chatted to me for several minutes about living in Japan and learning his craft.
The Green Wood Guild. Demonstrations and workshops in carving spoons and plant markers. I might even have a go myself.
Hardy Cottage Garden Plants. Setting the standard for herbaceous perennials - they won a Gold at Chelsea for their display; their space for GROW is another stunner. Plants and seeds available at the show. I swore I wouldn't buy more plants but a plant I have long lusted after (Eryngium 'Neptune's Gold') came home with me. :o)
The Posh Shed company - Bespoke sheds and a very enticing child's gypsy caravan to be won!
Gardenista were there with their pop up shop offering a tempting array of beautiful objects for home and garden. (And lovely to chat to Christine Chang Hanway again after her talk last year.)
Julia Clarke willow sculptures - not exhibiting but on display at the Hardy Plant garden space. I think/hope that I may have persuaded Julia to offer willow weaving workshops at her Crouch End studio next spring.
The Pot Company - pits, pots and shelving. Stunning - and useful - corten steel fire pits.
Architectural Heritage - Cast iron gates don't do it for me but their zinc (?) planters stole my heart. Especially when planted up with Sanguisorba, so so beautiful.
NordEco. Beautifully crafted wooden chairs. I was tempted to sit but wasn't sure I'd want to stand up again.
Barbed. Contemporary and fun outdoor furniture including these bling bling hosepipes in shades of gold, silver and Barbie pink and a rather fetching red metal bench with matching pooch. I could definitely visualise that bench in a modern urban garden. *makes mental note*
|Top: The Green Wood Guild's carvings; Child's gypsy caravan from The Posh Shed Co.|
Middle: Barbed red bench and friend; Barbed barbie pink hosereel.
Bottom: Eryngium from Hardy Plants; Architectural Heritage planters.
For household artefacts, Maud and Mabel's exhibits were breathtakingly beautiful. Exquisite artisan ceramics from their Hampstead craft space but, sadly, beyond my budget. Doesn't stop me wanting them though. Instead I'll treasure the tiny ceramic star included on the raffia wrapped around their press handouts.
|All Maud and Mabel's objects of desire.|
But there was so much more than this little taster. I'm going back today (on another complimentary pass as I'm on the GROW mailing list, sign up and be prepared for next year) specifically to look at the nursery exhibitors Crugfarmplants, Boma (my local garden centre), Evolution plants, Hortus Loci, Hardy Plants, to get plant advice from the Society of Garden Designers and Mark Gardner (the fair founder's own gardener!) and to take in a couple of the talks - notably Thomas Broome on creating an edible bouquet.
I had a definite impression of the show building on last year's success. This is only its second year but the exhibitors and speakers are top notch. Talks go on over the three days of the show with speakers including Cleve West (The Healing Garden), Fergus Garrett (Designing with plants), Sarah Raven, Mark Diacono, Laetitia Maklouf, Helen Yemm and Mark Risdill-Smith who used to live round the corner from me. Nice chap and nice to see him doing well.
This is definitely a show not to be missed and I predict will go on getting better.
GROW London is on this weekend, Friday 19th to Sunday 21st. Open from 11 am - 6pm.