Plenty of inspiration at BBC Gardeners’ World Live


There is certainly plenty of gardening inspiration at this year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC, Birmingham. Always popular with the gardening public, the show is one of the highlights of the gardening year where visitors can certainly find all their gardening needs under one roof.

One thing that strikes you about BBC Gardeners’ World is the space. Despite the popularity of the show, there is plenty of room to move around and because it is coupled with the Good Food Show Summer, visitors are able to enjoy both a floral and tasty day out.

This year, visitors are able to experience a new Rose Festival with displays from the best UK rose growers with some stunning varieties on display. There is also an advice and rose talks stage featuring Val Bourne and Nick Hamilton.

The show gardens are always among the most popular aspects of Gardeners’ World Live and this year is no exception. A special feature, attracting a lot of attention, is the ‘Canal Boat Garden’ (pictured banner) designed by Paul Stone, with a real narrow boat. Celebrating the 100 miles of canals in Birmingham, the boat bedecked with troughs and pots, is one of the most eye-catching features in the show.

With roses very much to the fore, Wyevale Garden Centres have created a walk-through show garden designed by Alexandra Froggatt Design. ‘Capability Brown’s Enchanted Tea Party’ (Silver) as a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the great designer.

The prestigious title of Best in Show is awarded to the ‘Health for Life’ community garden designed by Owen Morgan of Mosaic Landscape Design (Gold). This is a clever representation of the community growing spaces that have been developed within the Health for Life programme, funded by the Mondelez International Foundation. Plenty of ideas here for growing edible plants and spaces for a wide variety of community use and again clearly attracting a lot of visitor attention.


I particularly enjoyed the gardens on APL avenue, this year and in particular Claudia de Yong’s (pictured above) ‘Urban Nature’ (Silver Merit). Plenty of inspiration here for the visitor to take away and what I liked was the design’s balance.

side-bug-IMG_1723There was a warm, cosy feel to it and you can easily envisage it being the garden of a retired professional couple who have downsized and want to spend as much time in their garden as possible. The bug hotel (pictured left) was just brilliant as was the Posh Shed.

The ‘Eat and Shelter’ garden (Gold) designed by Michael John McGarr, is designed for a young couple living in a modern home. Planting here is chosen as beneficial and enticing to wildlife but at the same time providing an attractive background to dine. This design also won the Best Construction Landscaper award. (pictured bottom of page)

The Beautiful Borders category certainly enables visitors to get ideas for even the smallest space. Winner in this category was ‘Fire & Ice,’ Gold, designed by Martin Lines. Best Interpretation of a Theme went to Julie Haylock for the ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Garden’, which I have to admit was my favourite with lovely planting and a cheeky Pooh up a tree. The other Gold medal winner in this category, ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme blows’, was designed by Jess Usher.

The Floral Marquee is a hub for all kinds of goodies and wonderful plant displays as well as this year hosting the new Rose Festival.

Idahlia-MG_1269Several plants caught my eye but I have to say I totally fell in love with dahlia ‘Christopher Taylor‘ on the Hardy’s stand. (pictured right) Hardy’s were  awarded Best Summer Plant Display and a Platinum award and it was easy to see why.

Green Thumb, one of the show’s sponsors, joined forces with designer Pip Probert to create a fun and stunning turf and floral feature centerpiece, which I feel sure will bring back many happy memories for owners of camper-vans.

This year’s show has seen new floral awards launched with a brand new Platinum Award which has been introduced to give recognition to outstanding exhibits in the Floral Marquee. Also new this year is the VegTrug Stage, sponsored by VegTrug with the Skinny Jean Gardeners alongside BBC experts including Anne Swithinbank and Matt Biggs.

Over the four days of the show, the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Theatre, hosted by James Alexander-Sinclair and sponsored by Wyevale Garden Centres, will be welcoming on stage Monty Don, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Alan Titchmarsh. The Potting Shed also hosts a variety of garden experts and the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine team who are on hand to give advice on Small Garden Solutions.

It would be difficult to go home empty handed from BBC Gardeners’ World Live. The Plant Village and the exhibitors in the Floral Marquee, all sell a range of unusual and interesting plants and you are certainly spoilt for choice.


Gardeners’ World Live 2016 runs from 16th to 19th June at the NEC Birmingham.
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Picture credits: All photographs © Reckless Gardener