07 July 2012

Gardeners' delight

I usually try to avoid crowds: part of my motivation for moving to Canada was to escape the hideous crush of people in rush-hour public transport or the traffic jams which are such a normal part of life in getting from one part of England to another.

So for me to willingly attend an event at which thousands of people are expected is a little out of character. But when it worked out that I would be in England at the time of the Hampton Court Flower Show and that my aunt and her friend were willing to take me along with them, I jumped at the chance. I've never spent a day at one of the big flower shows and I thought it would be an experience not to miss, even if it might be a little stressful to be in a big crowd.

Luckily, the show is spread over a large area in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace and although it was very busy, it never felt overwhelming in terms of people. What's more, the show is full of such interesting plants, gardens and merchandise that it's impossible to feel claustrophobic for very long. And everyone attending is a gardener and is enjoying him or herself, so the crowd are good-tempered and happy to amble rather than rush.

The weather could have been better at the beginning of the day...

It was so wet that even the ducks needed boots:

But it did brighten up as the day went on.

The displays in the marquees were amazing and enough to distract my mind from the vaguely panicky feeling of claustrophobia caused by being in a space with so many other people:

The show gardens were inspiring and eye-catching:

Blue and yellow was a popular colour combination in quite a few of the gardens.

This garden was inspired by last year's UK riots. I liked the 'edible bus stop', with its crop of tomatoes and strawberries.

One thing I did enjoy about moving past other people in such a big crowd was the way I heard little snippets of other people's conversations. They are so intriguing: "...gravitating towards the agapanthus..." "...Tom could get those free at the cattle market..." - it's like tuning a radio from one channel to the next.

It was a wonderful day and I'd love to have the chance to do something similar back home in Ontario. There's a garden show in Toronto in March, but I'm not aware of anything quite like the summer RHS shows in Canada. It's a shame, as the weather there is much more likely to be co-operative! But I suppose the smaller population of gardeners wouldn't make it worthwhile to stage such an event. There it's a problem of not enough crowds.


Diana Studer said...

I've always been daunted by the crowds, in tents, at Chelsea. But we did go to Hampton Court one year. Love that it is outdoors. At least there is no claustrophobia UPwards.

Linda said...

Snippets of conversation are priceless, especially at gardening events. Tho the only ones I've attended have been around highland games, so perhaps not typical!