BBC Gardeners' World Live 2015
This year we visited the BBC Gardeners' World Live show at the NEC Birmingham to see what's new in the horticultural and allotment world and pick up great ideas that we could take home.
We weren't disappointed - there are myriad plants in the Floral Marquee and the gardens including the Beautiful Borders offered so many gardening ideas.
Here are some of the highlights of the show that we particularly liked.
Stunning Show Gardens
Greener Pastures Lifestyle Gardens highlights a garden working at its optimum. So much is packed into this garden - and it's something you can achieve at home. Consider putting in lots of perennials like salvias and sisyrinchiums, and add a focal tree or two or plant with strappy leaves like the phormuim to the right of this picture.
The Family Garden is designed to be bright and fun and great for young families. We like the fuchsia-pink bird boxes which not only have a practical purpose, but also add a funky and stylish design-element to the garden.
The Flow Garden, winning Metamorphosis Garden, focuses on emphasised lines running the length of the garden. Here a maple tree has been pruned early in its development to ground level to encourage multi-stems. Many trees can undergo this treatment to create the many-stem effect.
Solihull Neighbourhoods in Bloom have a fantastic feature which is a collection of rooms within a house all made from flowers, herbs and vegetables. There's a bathroom with a bath containing lots of pond plants, a kitchen table with an allotment as a table centrepiece, and a living room with a turf settee and 'living TV'. See it with your own eyes, and you'll be wowwed.
A flurry of flowers
In the Floral Marquee, there's a smorgasbord of blooms and architectural foliage. We surveyed the whole hall, making sure we didn't miss any exhibit. Being mid-June there's so much in flower and so much in the Marquee that's on sale for visitors to purchase. Here are some of the plants we noticed;
Zantedeschia 'Starry Night' - a gorgeous calla lily with black flowers, botanically called spathes. The blooms are offset by lovely strappy dark green leaves variegated with yellow splashes. Zantedeschia is a good plant for pondsides, and adds class to a pondside display.
Bougainvilleas are the epitome of Mediterranean courtyards . Here you can see the range of colours they come in. if you are planning on growing Mediterranean flowers in your garden or conservatory, be sure to position in spots that get ample sun. Bougainvilleas shed their colourful bracts often and produce more, so you'll need to sweep up on a regular basis to keep the area clean.
And in and around the Plant Village....
Gorgeous gazanias, shown here from the Plant Village are great for mid-summer vibrancy in the garden. They're fine contenders for containers, tolerate poor soils and go well with bright red begonias and petunias. Just be sure they get lots of sun.
We loved this inventive take on a hanging basket. From the 'Hanging Baskets of Wonderland' competition, we found this design so clever. The tea itself is morning glory vine and nasturtiums pouring from a teapot generously filled with annual flowers.