We Love Cheshire is invited to experience the build up to the 2017 RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

I’ve been to the Royal Horticultural Society Tatton Flower Show on just a handful of occasions, and have often kicked myself for not making more of the experience when it is literally on the ‘Cheshire doorstep’, so I was delighted to receive an Exclusive Access invitation from the RHS press team to visit a week before the official opening, and experience the build up for myself.

I arrived mid-morning and was greeted by Hattie and Aimee (Hattie was decidedly sprightly despite having driven up from London at 4 o clock this morning!). Tatton Park was full of life with the set up of the world famous flower show, as well as the Foodies Festival , which runs this weekend from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July.

First stop was Show Garden 343 – HMPPS Styal Prison working in partnership with Foundations for Change ‘Stop, Think, Change’. Here I met a group of women inmates of Styal Prison who, together with their mentors have part or fully completed horticultural qualifications whist serving their sentences. One lady has even undertaken an additional RHS qualification alongside the prison’s own courses.

‘Stop, Think, Change has been designed by women who have been positively influenced by the Thinking Skills Programme. This cognitive behavioural programme aims to reduce the risk of reoffending by helping offenders develop their thinking skills in order to manage their personal risk factors’.
Source: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park Show 2017 GUIDE

I was incredibly impressed with these ladies and the work that had already gone into their show garden (they started the design and planning process last October, determined to grow all of the 10,000 plants required themselves), and as with all of my highlights included in this blog, I can’t wait to return just before the official opening next Wednesday (19th July) to see the finished product!

Our next stop was The Mid Cheshire Hospital Remember Me Garden, which certainly stopped us in our tracks. The thought and detail going into this garden by designers Jane Bingham and Penny Hearn was stunning, with so many trigger points to evoke memories and spark conversations. This garden tells the story of a dementia patient from diagnosis through to requiring 24 hour care. Make sure you stop off to meet the designers and learn more about this very special and thought provoking space (Show garden 439).

Then it was off to meet some of the children working hard in the School Gardens (18 Cheshire schools have entered). I particularly liked Harry the Poisonous Centipede, although this year’s brief of ‘UK wildlife’ may have been ever-so-slightly missed! No matter, they were all looking great and once again I can’t wait to go back next week and see the finished schools gardens for myself.

2017 also celebrates the introduction of the Butterfly Dome – an extravaganza of thousands of highly patterned tropical butterflies of all sizes from South America, Africa and Asia. Hattie described this brand new addition perfectly, setting the scene of a tropical oasis full of beautiful butterflies who will land on you if you stay still enough – I’m in!

There was so much more to see and our tour continued with a visit to The Bruntwood Experiment (Bruntwood are the headline sponsors of the show), Bus Stop Boulevard, Business & Pleasure (the urban office garden) and the über-impressive Slow The Flow garden (this stylish, contemporary front garden space demonstrates techniques for capturing, retaining the flow of rainfall) designed by RHS veteran John Everiss.

I am also incredibly excited to head back to the Gabriel Ash Greenhouse Garden next week. ‘The Gabriel Ash Portico greenhouse acts as the hub of this Show Garden (number 345) providing a place to plan, propagate and protect. Using a greenhouse as an aid, the garden promotes a playful approach to planting combinations. ’
Source: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park Show 2017 GUIDE

This garden has so much detail, an entire team were agonising over every minute detail and it was already looking fabulous! This is a MUST SEE Cheshire show garden! More to follow…

I could carry on writing well into the night about the build up to RHS Flower Show Tatton Park. The work going in with still a full week to go before opening was mind-blowing. I am so impressed – and very much enlightened about the dedication and commitment of everyone involved.

As I have mentioned many times, I really can’t wait to return on Tuesday when everything will be ready for the grand reveal and opening of the event on Wednesday 19th July.

Watch this space…