Home Horticultural shows Gardeners’ World Live and The BBC Good Food Show Summer highlights

Gardeners’ World Live and The BBC Good Food Show Summer highlights

Nikki Hollier with Adam Frost at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018. Picture GWL
Nikki Hollier with Adam Frost at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018. Picture GWL

Two star-studded shows for the price of one, June 13-16!

If you like value for money, head to Birmingham’s NEC for Gardeners’ World Live (GWL) and The BBC Good Food Show from June 13-16.

I’ll be concentrating on GWL here and it’s packed with your favourite gardening stars – Monty Don, Alan Titchmarsh, Carol Klein and Adam Frost to name a few.

Blue Peter gardener, Lee Connolly, will be leading the show’s first Children’s Activity Trail and getting youngsters involved in practical sessions. Tickets for under-fives are free.

Adam Frost said: “Gardeners’ World Live is a great place for the gardening community to come together and celebrate what we love.”

Gardeners' World Live
Enjoying Gardeners’ World Live. Picture; GWL

The BBC Good Food Show

Some of the world’s top chefs will be appearing at the NEC, including on the Big Kitchen Stage, Ainsley Harriott, Tom Kerridge, Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux Jr, Mary Berry, Nadiya Hussain and Prue Leith.

Browse, shop and taste your way around an amazing selection of hand-picked artisan producers and well-known brands.

From the latest kitchen gadgets to seasonal produce, dive into a food lover’s paradise.

BBC Gardeners’ World Live Young Landscapers Award – update

Both teams battling it out for the Young Landscapers Award achieved Gold Awards, with talented Warwickshire duo Matthew Wood and Sam Gordon narrowly winning the title.

The four contestants taking part in the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Young Landscapers Award each created a front garden designed by Professor David Stevens.

Contestants were young landscapers who took the top spots at the WorldSkills UK Finals:

  • Matthew Wood: Champion in landscaping with the Gold award and has since been crowned as The Association of Professional Landscapers’ (APL) Rising Star.
  • Sam Gordon: From The Gardenmakers in Warwickshire, was awarded Silver.
  • Reece McKay: Won Bronze, from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)
  • Brian Hughes: Achieved Highly Commended, also from CAFRE.
Matt Biggs. Picture; GWL
Matt Biggs. Picture; GWL

Plant Pyramid at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

The mysterious world of the plant breeder will be highlighted as the breeders of up to 80 new plant varieties join forces, with writer and broadcaster Peter Seabrook, to create a Plant Pyramid display in the Floral Marquee.

The main pyramid has four satellite pyramids, covered in upwards of 4,000 plants including new varieties of Garvinea (garden Gerbera), apple, sunflower, pelargonium, nemesia, rose, foxglove, catnip, Alstroemeria, Echinacea and many more.

Highlights include:

  • Farplants’ Nemesia Lady Penelope, with a delicious fragrance and seemingly never-ending summer blooms.
    • Sakata’s Petchoa BeautiCal, with prolific, long-lasting flowers.
    Begonia Sweet Spice Bounty, one of the most floriferous scented begonias. Until 2021, Breeders Kerley & Co will donate 50 per cent of royalty income to the David Colegrave Foundation, supporting training in horticulture.

The new Pyramid Stage hosts talks including Ball Colegrave with details of new Impatiens (Busy Lizzie) Beacon® and Petunia Easy Wave® Lavender Sky Blue, floristry demos by the Florist Holland team and talks by Peter Seabrook, Steve Bradley and Matt Biggs.

Crowds enjoy the sights. Picture; GWL
Crowds enjoy the sights. Picture; GWL

Floral Marquee and Plant Village

Highlights include:

  • Monty Don, Adam Frost, Carol Klein and more, in conversation with host Jim Buttress.
  • Shopping from more than 100 stands, with 35 medal-winners at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
    • The launch of Rose Crazy in Love by Style Roses – a shrub rose with repeat-flowering double rosette flowers in cream/white, with a pink blush.
    • The Plant Experts (Lucy Chamberlain, Darren Rudge and Professor David Stevens) will answer queries at The Advice Desk.
    • The Demo Bench with talks including A Beginner’s Guide to Orchids.

Show Gardens and awards – update

Two Show Gardens won platinum awards – Alexandra Froggatt’s The Watchmakers Garden, also named as Best Show Garden and Lucy Bravington’s High Line Show Garden in APL Avenue, which also won Best Construction.

Other Gold winners included the Gadd Brothers in APL Avenue and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, the Showcase Garden by Hana Leonard and The Home Solutions by John Lewis Garden, supported by The APL.

Visitors saw feature gardens, APL Avenue, Show Gardens, Showcase Gardens and Beautiful Borders.

Show Gardens:

The Watchmaker’s Garden, by Alexandra Froggatt: Inspired by Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in the late 1800s. Heirloom and heritage vegetables grow alongside cottage garden and self-seeded native flowers, nasturtiums and climbing peas.

Canal and River Trust Garden – Making Life Better by Water, by Chris Myers: This full-sized waterway has a narrowboat, legger’s hut and tranquil canalside garden, featuring a vegetable patch, therapeutic flowers and a woodland of native trees and wildflowers.

Dahlia Garden, by Jon Wheatley: This walk-through garden invites visitors to touch and smell the blooms as they uncover the latest new dahlia launched by Jon at the show.

Macmillan Legacy Garden, by Martyn Wilson: Inspired by gifts left in wills to Macmillan Cancer Support. The garden has coloured planters of differing heights, referencing the ups and downs of cancer.

Onward and Upward by Andy Tudbury, Halcyon Days
Garden Design: The design maximises growing space with a roof garden and raised sun deck. There’s a wildflower area under trees to attract wildlife, a symbolic sculpture represents hope and a jacuzzi demonstrates the first step to recovery.

Marshalls Garden, by Johanna Elvidge – Marshalls CAD Manager: The garden will encourage visitors to ‘fall in love with stone’ and things made in Britain, with students at Solihull Academy. The clever use of space transforms an area to make it beautiful, useful and enjoyable.

Revelation – MS Society Garden, by Mike Baldwin and Derby College, with Derby MS Society, sponsored by Don Ammott Parks, Harrowden Turf CED and Makita: Four horses charge out in front of golden gates through a canal of water, surrounded by Catalpa trees and edged by scalloped laurel hedging. The large walled garden contains a series of ‘rooms’.

The two Showcase Gardens are Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush by Hana Leonard and a garden by Ben Stubbs, for the charity Children with Cancer.

APL Show Gardens

The Association of Professional Landscapers – APL – Avenue Show Gardens feature plots designed for a small front or back garden, on a limited budget.

They are intended to be inspirational, aspirational and achievable.

Landscaping masterclass... Professor David Stevens's Anniversary Garden from the 2017 show
Landscaping masterclass… Professor David Stevens’s Anniversary Garden from the 2017 show. Picture; GWL

Show details

  • Venue: National Exhibition Centre, North Ave, Marston Green, Solihull, Birmingham B40 1NT.
  • Dates and times: June 13-16, 9am-6pm, Floral Marquee 10am-6pm.
  • For tickets and information: www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com.
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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