Thursday, 6 April 2017

Garden Festival at Westonbirt School

Two years ago, Gardens Illustrated magazine held a fabulous Garden Festival at Malmesbury where I heard the magically wonderful Fergus Garrett Head Gardener at Great Dixter and the wonderful Noel Kingsbury who co wrote the inspirational book Hummelo with Piet Oudolf which I loved reading.
When Gardens Illustrated announced they were holding another event, this time at Westonbirt School, I couldn't resist, I had to go. Not only because of the success of the first event, but because I last visited there in 1972 on teaching practice!
The day was perfect, with bright skies and strong sunshine, setting off Westonbirt House and the trees in the grounds perfectly:

 Above a majestic cedar, and below a first view of the house
 I love this view of the 2 cedars
 Here's the banner at the entrance
 There were carpets of anenomes
 around wonderful trees
 We had a good look round the Italianate gardens while looking for the toilets signposted all around the garden
 A bit of detail:
 A seat with a stone structure behind, it would ahve been ideal for taking photos with a perfect frame
 another anenome photo
 In addition to a large selection of speakers, there was also a superb opportunity to buy plants from a huge selection of stalls, plus all sorts of plant accessories.
 Lunch was served in the dining room, and having learned lessons of the last garden festival, my friend and I went to lunch at 12 noon, there wasn't much queueing and the food was excellent
 Above part of the formal hedges. So who did I go and listen to? Firstly Tom Stuart -Smith who talked about gardens he had designed on a rectangular, enclosed space in different parts of the world, and then at 4.15pm we went to listen to Roy Lancaster. I've very much enjoyed his articles in The Garden, the RHS magazine, and hoped he'd talk mostly about plants which he did.
 Here he is above with some slides, only just visible beside the bright light of the projected image. I loved the way Roy talked about his experiences of developing his own garden, and his obvious love of plant collecting and nurturing. I also loved the way he asked his wife how long he'd got left to atlk when he heard clapping in another room, and referred to her as 'darling'.
The last part of his talk involved looking in a plant collector's box and bringing out a deep pink magnolia, very like one I'd coveted on one of the plant stalls.
It was a brilliant day out. I'm hoping it'll be repeated in 2018.

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