Having been to The Chelsea Flower Show, I am every bit as excited to visit Gardening Scotland this weekend at The Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh! This year the Show which celebrates outdoor living, will be enjoying its 20th Birthday and promises to be packed to the rafters with inspiration on plants, flowers, veg growing and garden accessories!
With Show Gardens, expert advice and a plant shoppers’ paradise, what am I most looking forward to seeing? Here are just a few highlights to look out for if you are visiting Gardening Scotland 2019:
THE SHOW GARDENS
From the Show Gardens on display, I will be making a bee-line for Lynn Hill’s Garden ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’.
Garden Designer Lynn Hill will be celebrating 20 years since the first Gardening Scotland Show and will be conjuring up The Garden Party, a feature-packed patio designed for good times and relaxation,
The centrepiece will be an amazing entertaining space with an Italian glass cocktail bar and a fully-functioning outdoor kitchen. Lynn has worked on plans for the garden with CED Stone Group and she says, “Plants are a vital part of the garden but we want to show that gardens are also places to have fun, so we’ve mixed rustic elements such as Caithness stone with Santiago porcelain paving, which is very modern.”
Right next door, the Secret Gin Garden, created by Edinburgh Nursery The Secret Herb Garden, will be serving up freshly-mixed Gardening Scotland cocktails. The Secret Gin Garden will also be serving up a range of amazing, colour-changing Old Curiosity gins, including flavours such as Apothecary Rose and Lavender & Echinacea, made with botanicals grown at it’s nursery just outside of Edinburgh.
Another Show Garden which is of particular interest is ‘The Otherness Garden’ by Tom Angel of Angel Horticulture. This has been designed as a mental illness-themed garden, which combines beautiful plants that are able to withstand harsh winters and changeable conditions with a tranquil indoor space in the shape of a contemporary garden structure from Urbanpods. The garden represents the fact that there are many routes to managing mental illness, and that, just like delicate-looking plants, people who appear fragile can also be hardy and resilient.
THE FLORAL PAVILION
The Floral Pavilion will be packed with specialist nurseries and offers visitors the chance to discover new flowers and rare plants. It’s also a treasure-trove of horticultural know-how and advice, with eye-catching displays that provide ideas about growing conditions and planting combinations.
Amongst the nurseries taking part is Binny Plants who will be bringing a stunning display of cut Peonies, one of my favourite flowers! Billy Carruthers of Binny Plants says, “We’ll be exhibiting a selection of Peonies across the colour spectrum from cream, coral, yellow and pink, right through to crimson.” I have the feeling this will be the most instagrammable spot in the Pavillion.
Other exhibitors will include Elizabeth Macgregor Nursery from Kirkcudbright, who are renowned for their violas; Holmes Farm Plants from Irvine who will be offering a selection of rare and unusual perennials and CC Plants, who grow all their stock in Glenalmond in Perthshire. If you can’t resist a scented flower, then seek out Calamazag Nursery and their perfumed pinks and carnations. Macplants from East Lothian will have tough yet beautiful sanguisorbas and Glendoick from Perthshire will be exhibiting rhododendrons and azaleas.
College Street, is new to Gardening Scotland for 2019. It’s a line-up of inspirational front gardens that will give visitors fresh ideas about making the most of their own front gardens with clever designs and new ways of using plants. Horticulture and design students from SRUC’s campuses in Edinburgh, Oatridge and Elmwood, along with students from Dundee & Angus College, will be creating a range of individual front gardens, all on identical plots.
Amongst the themes will be ‘Hidden Depths’ by SRUC Oatridge that solves the problem of combining off-street parking using a Persian-style layout, sunken growing areas and tapestry-style plants including Tiarella, Latium and Stachys.
GARDEN FOR LIFE
When did you last see a butterfly? Are you worried that bees are becoming scarce? In the Garden For Life you’ll find all kinds of environmental organisations, including Plantlife Scotland, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, who will be ready to answer all your queries about the threat to our wildlife and how gardeners can help. Throughout the weekend, workshops will give advice on everything from gardening for bees and butterflies and making ponds for dragonflies, to how to prune apple trees. And the centrepiece will be the One Planet Picnic Pocket Gardens, designed and made by pupils from Eco-schools across Scotland.
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
A recycled, low-impact garden, with lots of take-away ideas for recycling and growing food on a shoestring and in small spaces will be created by the RHS. Throughout the weekend there will be top tips from gardening expert and broadcaster Martin Fish while daily workshops will include growing vegetables in containers and making edible kokedamas – Japanes hanging moss balls packed with herbs.
A huge feature of Gardening Scotland is the appearance of TV’s top gardeners who are set to come to the rescue of anyone with a gardening dilemma. Jim McColl, George Anderson and Carole Baxter from The Beechgrove Garden, along with fellow broadcaster Martin Fish, will be on stage in the theatre at Gardening Scotland between 11.30am and 12.30pm on both Friday and Saturday, answering visitors’ queries on anything to do with gardening.
Throughout the three days of the show the stage at Gardening Scotland will play host to all kinds of gardening gurus. Just pop along, pull up a seat and be entertained and informed by some of Scotland’s brightest plant experts.
For the first time since the event was launched in 2000, luxury coaches will whisk visitors from 19 different locations direct to the show ground. It’s all part of the plans to make getting to the show as easy and as ‘green’ as possible. Coaches will operate on six routes starting from Aberdeen, Coatbridge, St Andrews, Stirling, Ayr and Greenock, picking up at points including Dundee, Perth, Falkirk, and Glasgow along the way.
The show takes place from Friday, 31 May until Sunday, 2 June at the Royal Highland Centre Edinburgh. For tickets and travel packages, see www.gardeningscotland.com. The Pink Wheelbarrow will be bringing you live updates on Friday from Gardening Scotland so make sure you are following on either our Facebook or Instagram channels.