Thousands of keen gardeners headed to the brand-new BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair last bank holiday weekend.
The beautiful grounds of Beaulieu in Hampshire were the stunning backdrop to the latest event from Immediate Live, which was officially opened on Friday 28 May by Beaulieu’s Lord Montagu with BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editors Lucy Hall and Kevin Smith. The Fair ran until Sunday 30 May and was a sell-out success.
The Beautiful Borders and Small Spaces brimmed with inspirational planting ideas and were enjoyed by visitors and the Garden Assessors alike. Local Beaulieu garden centre Fairweather’s was awarded the accolade of Best Border for their recreation of ‘Patrick’s Patch’, the plot which supplies their café with fresh homegrown produce. Hampshire-based Longstock Park Landscapes team taking home the Best Small Space award for their design that embodied their ethos of reuse and recycle.
Additional Borders, including a woodland edge Border by Maggie’s of Southampton with Sparsholt College, and a Small Space by Rolawn with The APL, captured the essence of spring and gave plenty of design ideas to recreate at home.
An advice-packed schedule on the What To Do Now Stage saw special guests including Gardeners’ World presenters Adam Frost and Arit Anderson join the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editors. The advice didn’t stop there as a bountiful Allotment feature, created by master growers Jon Wheatley and Terry Porter, was staffed by the Hampshire branch of the National Vegetable Society, with their veteran experts sharing top tips all day long.
The Hillier Experience garden feature was pride of place in the heart of the show and took visitors on a floral journey from dawn to dusk, culminating in the twinkling lights and heady scents of the evening garden and the relaxing ambience of the night garden. Hillier experts were on hand at the garden, answering gardening queries 1-to-1.
To celebrate the brand-new Spring Fair, Hillier introduced two brand new plants – the striking new glossy red plant, Cercis x canandensis ‘Eternal Flame’ and the Deutzia x ‘Cherry Dream’, to much excitement from visitors and the industry. Hillier Chairman Robert Hillier, OBE VMH, attended the Fair on Sunday as part of the celebrations of the new Spring Fair.
Nurseries and gardening exhibitors did a roaring trade, and the food producers in the pop-up BBC Good Food Market also went down a storm. Visitors enjoyed the dulcet tones of the Polka Dots and Adam Christopher-Rhys from the Jersey Guys, on the bandstand sponsored by Vodafone.
Managing Director for BBC Gardeners’ World events, Rachel Poletti-Gadd said: “It was an absolute joy to host our first event in over a year. To see so many smiling faces enjoying the flowers, food and glorious setting, is what it’s all about.
Rachel continued “Our visitors seemed keener than ever to learn more about how to enhance their outdoor space and our Gardeners’ World experts and presenters loved sharing their passion and knowledge with them.”
BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Arit Anderson said of the new Fair: “The atmosphere here has been so lovely and relaxed. It’s a boutique Fair, with everything easily accessible including all the wonderful plant stands to shop from.”
Arit follows, “I’ve been on the What To Do Now Stage and it’s been really fun talking to the audience, giving them top tips and techniques, and nice to get questions and answers going back and forth – everyone’s learning.”
Images © BBC Gardeners’ World Fair