Visit to Gardeners World Live 2024

It has been 22 years since I last made a visit to BBC Gardeners’ World Live. Back in 2002, I was helping to install a show garden designed and created by members of our local community. This year, it was delightful to return to NEC in Birmingham to have a look around, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the show gardens and plants.

Garden designer and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter, Adam Frost had designed and installed a show garden called The Chef’s Table and used an outdoor kitchen in the corner of the garden as a focal point for celebrity chefs to create and demonstrate dishes for Adam to taste.

Show Gardens and Beautiful Borders

The Eco Oasis

Designed by Dan Hartley. This garden was awarded a Platinum medal, best in show and best landscaping in show. I particularly liked the use of textures in the hard landscaping and how pavers were spaced to allow rain run off to soak into the ground. Els from Tisserand English Gardens, who did the landscaping was elated when I spoke to him.

Everyone Needs Good Neighbours

This was a pretty and calming border, designed by Lynn James, had a path running through it with pale yellow, cream and white flowers. I particularly liked a creamy yellow lupin, Scabiosa ochroleuca and Trollius x cultroum ‘Alabaster’.

Lunatica Garden

This was my favourite of the larger show gardens. Designed by Josh Fenton of Fenton Gardens, the Lunatica Garden highlights small but interconnected ways to manage rainwater in the garden. The ideas include

Flowers and foliage in a raised bed with outdoor bathroom in the background on Lunatica garden at Gardeners World Live
  • using a green roof,
  • catching water from hard landscaping,
  • appropriate planting for the areas of the garden, i.e. drought tolerant for raised areas and plants that require more water lower down,
  • using overflows from areas to create a plunge pool (which was quite possibly the most interesting and beautiful water feature I’ve ever seen) and
  • using rainwater for toilet flushing.

I liked the use of rusted, or is that just oxidised metal for the raised beds and moon gate as well as in the water feature and the contrasting shiny metal of a piece of artwork depicting an eel or similar creature.

The Bonsall Field Barn

This garden was awarded a Platinum medal and I can see why. The dry stone walling and barn are beautiful and the planting complimentary and entirely appropriate.

A Brace of Embraces – Sunny and Dry

A Brace of Embraces, designed by Cherry Carmen of Cherry Carmen Garden Design was two separate, but linked gardens. The Sunny and Dry garden was awarded a Gold medal.

I bumped into Aimee Copland, who, together with her partner, did the landscaping and for this pair of gardens. Aimee told me that her first love is for plants, she has a level 3 in horticulture and start studying for a diploma a Kew later this year.

Three plants stood out for me as most interesting, Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’, an enormous agave and what was formally known as sedum, Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emperor’.

More gardens from the show

There are more gardens to add to this article when I get time to edit the photos.

New plants for 2025

In the floral tent there was a great display of the new introductions that will be widely available for gardeners next year. Here are just a few that particularly caught my eye.

Dahlia Dalina Maxi Cherry Burst

Bright cherry pink dahlia flower with leaves in the background.

Another colour in the Dahlia Dalina Maxi series. The intensity of the cherry pink caught my eye. Introduced by Ball Horticulture.

Cosmos Cherry Chocolate

Cherry pink cosmos flower with maroon and gold centre on a lime green background

I liked the bold cherry pink of this plant. Knowing how floriferous most cosmos plants are, I’m looking forward to growing this in the garden next year. Introduced by Whetman Plants, it will be available in all the usual plant places.

Delopsperma Desert Dancers Purple

Masses of star shape purple flowers on succulent-like foliage. It requires full sun for it to flower well and although hardy, it will not do well in waterlogged soil. Introduced by Kernock Plants, they will be available through garden centres and online retailers.

Agastache rugosa Beelicious Pink

Introduced by Proctors, this is hardy perennial will form a clump 80cm high and 50cm spread. Like all Agastache, they have fragrant leaves and are highly attractive to pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

Apple Peter’s Gold

Man holding young apple tree in plant pot during a visit to Gardeners World Live

Apple Peter’s Gold won a Platinum award. A seedling was discovered by the late Peter Seabrook on a roadside and he asked FP Matthews to develop it. Now available to buy on their stand at Gardeners’ World Live.

Best New Plant at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Cherry edged petals on hydrangea flower head at Gardeners World Live 2024

Hydrangea macrophylla First Editions Eclipse won the Peter Seabrook Award for Best New Plant at BBC Gardeners’ World Live. Deep cherry colour flowers with a cream and lime green centre and dark, almost black leaves that contrast well with the flower heads.

Growers of this plant are Allensmore Nurseries, based near Hereford and the plants will be available to the public through garden centres and online retailers.

Also seen on my visit to Gardeners World Live

Orange and yellow spires of lupin flowers and some mid green leaves against a dark green background seen at Gardeners World Live

There was a great display of Lupin ‘Gladiator’ on Frank P Matthews’ stand, they really stood out against the dark green background. I regretted not buying one to bring home and luckily, Newlands Nursery have Lupin ‘Gladiator’ for sale online.

I spotted this lovely Geum Pretticoats Peach in the shopping basket of another visitor to the show when I was at the train station on my way home and couldn’t resist taking a photo (with the kind permission of the owner). It looked great next to a dark Astrantia major.

Two women and a man who are garden writers for Amateur Gardening magazine at Gardeners World Live 2024

It was great to meet up with so many gardening friends and to meet new friends. I’ve been friends with Mike Palmer for a number of years, but it was the first time that I’d met Lucy Chamberlain face to face. We now all write for Amateur Gardening magazine, so it seemed appropriate to take this little group photo.

If you have enjoyed my visit to Gardeners World Live and you’d like to see more floral displays, read about my visit to Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea in Bloom 2024.

Liz Zorab

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