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Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon Garden Writer/Feature Writer West Country

  • Date Joined: 01 Jul 2008

Recent Comments

  • Weird and Wonderful

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 01:36 PM

     Sometimes new things at flower shows aren't flagged up. There are reasons for this. For example on Elizabeth MacGregor's stand in the Floral Marquee there are several new plants including a fabulous blue Eryngium ' Lapis Blue', but something weird and wonderful lurks in the border.



  • Cheeky Boys

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 12:55 PM

    In the Floral Marquee there's a weed. It's official and it's been seen. What's more the stand it is on has been awarded a gold medal.
    Now we all know that a weed is a plant growing in the wrong place, and this is just about what has happened.


  • Slug Rescue

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 12:12 PM

     After his disappointment earlier in the summer when thieves broke into his Somerset nursery and callously stole 17 show plants, John Trott of Mendip Bonsai has bounced back.  Some might say the experience has left him a bit affected. I found him this morning more interested in an innocent little slug meandering over his display cloth than his gold medal. Considering he got a silver gilt at Hampton Court this was surprising.


  • Sitting Down on the Job

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 11:59 AM

    It's been a funny morning here at Tatton Park Flower Show. After yesterday's disappointment of not meeting Robbie Williams despite the assurances of Online Editor Geoff Hodge that he'd be at the show, I found him (Geoff Hodge not Robbie!) about to do a live broadcast on Radio 87.7 Tatton FM.
    He was obviously feeling guilty because he asked for a special Robbie request to be played on the radio this morning. However I later discovered that it wasn't his idea. His kind assistant Online Editor Michelle Urquhart has suggested it to him and he'd claimed it as his own. And there was me thinking he was trying to make amends.


  • Golden Wonder

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 11:57 AM

    The Welsh Wizard has done it again! Another Gold Medal was awarded to Medwyn Williams and his perfect vegetable display. "I'm on top of the world," said the boy wonder. "The display was considered for Best in Show and the RHS President said it was absolutely stunning. Vegetables are as colourful as flowers. We've never got less than a gold in all our years of competing, so we are very pleased."


  • Puzzled of Hampshire

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 11:35 AM

    Before the awards are announced exhibitors are usually very coy about their prize potential or a bit blasé. Yesterday during set up I found Alistair Pearce of Southwest Carnivorous Plants in a very cool, calm and collected phase. He's built his stand in record time, just four hours compared to the normal sixteen. What's the secret I asked? "Putting plants down in one place and not tweaking them," he said with reference to his absent wife's normal exemplerary attention to detail. (He'll be in trouble for that!)

    This is his last show at Tatton Park, " it's partly due to show fatigue and also I've lost my confidence in the judging. At Hampton Court I got a Silver Gilt Medal and one of the judges came back and said that they hadn't liked the Boston Ferns and that they didn't really go with my carnivorous plants. The fact that I'd been using them for 15 years and that they were exactly the same ferns I used on my stand at Chelsea and got a gold, puzzled me."
    "I haven't gone all out to get a gold here, so I won't be too disappointed if I don't. But I'd really like not to get a Bronze Medal because I've never had one."

    Good news for Alistair is that his display was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal. Just think if he'd spent a little bit longer on it and more attention to detail it would have been a gold! 

  • Tank Girls

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 10:49 AM

    Gardens serve many purposes. At flower shows they usually have a message or a theme for visitors to take away with them. Others are simply a showcase for skills, plants and garden design. Part of Tatton Park Flower Show this year is The RHS/Ball Colegrave National Flower Bed Competition.


  • Fish and chips

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Spreading the word about gardening is just one of the roles of a garden writer. Martin Fish combines his garden writing talents with a bit of broadcasting and has a regular slot on BBC Radio Nottingham. If found him lurking in the vegetables on the BBC North West Vegetable Garden by Reaseheath, where he told me that there's been a sharp increase in vegetable enquiries on his radio show. "I think that more people are having a go at growing. I'm a great one to encourage people to grow vegetables. Growing your own vegetables and harvesting the produce that comes is great. It doesn't matter whether they grow them organically, it's just getting them started that's important."


  • Bribery and corruption

    Jean Vernon on 23 Jul 2008 at 09:54 AM

    Chris Beardshaw, judge and garden designer was promoting Cheshire's Year of Gardens 08 at the show yesterday morning.
    Using bribery and corruption, (OK it was Pimms and Canapés - a rare, rare treat for the members of the gardening press you understand) the Press learned that Cheshire is home to the greatest number of gardens in England. The garden that he has designed includes some fantastic horticultural gems, a deep herbaceous border and some classic views.
    He'd been out judging already and was just the chap to ask about this years' Tatton Park Flower Show.



  • The Devil came down to Tatton

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 05:28 PM

    There's a definite theme of red devils in the Clive Scott Lucifer (Talk of the Devil) garden at this years Tatton Park Flower Show.
    Inspired by the rich red Crocosmia ‘Lucifer' and seasoned with devil touches the design in simple but very striking.


  • Punks, teenagers and a challenge to the judges

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 04:59 PM

     I found Jon Tilley on his hands and knees cleaning up his ‘Punk's not Dead' Garden. The judges have left their mucky footprints on his fantastic punk path, but he wasn't complaining. Instead he was creating them a challenge: "I think that for Children in Need we should get the RHS judges to build a show garden that is either judged by children or by previous RHS show garden designers." He's serious too, so how about it?


  • Mr Potato Head

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 02:58 PM

    'Grow your own'has been the buzz phrase of the season this year, but if it hasn't enticed you into the wonderful world of vegetables then pay a visit to Medwyn Williams stand in the Floral Marquee at the Tatton Park Flower Show. What this man doesn't know about growing vegetables you could write onto a peapod.

    Show vegetables don't do it for everyone, but Medwyn knows not only how to grow vegetables to look good but also raves about them as a source of food. This year there are several new varieties to entice more children to eat vegetables including mini cucumbers for lunch boxes and chocolate coloured tomatoes. It's a great place to see vegetables looking fabulous, the colour range is tremendous


  • Living the dream

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 02:51 PM

     There are dozens of gardens at this years' Tatton Park Flower Show, but one that caught my eye this morning was The Moorcroft ‘Natural Woman' Garden. It's got a nice philosophy and a very green and pleasant feel.
    Designer Louise Harrison-Holland of Blue Tulip Garden Design designed the garden for a busy working wife and mother. It reflects elements of Moorcroft Pottery as well as creating a framework to live a holistic and green lifestyle. "There are plants for cosmetics, herb boxes for culinary use and lots of sustainable elements. The timber in the garden is all created from reclaimed floorboards."


  • Smiley Carol

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 02:41 PM

    How does she do it that Carol Klein? She's in hot hot demand these days from the television presenters and barely has time to come up for breath when working at the shows. I've been trying to catch up with her since Chelsea. Three flower shows later I managed to track her down twice this very morning. Once as I was arriving at the show in the car and then later again in the Floral Marquee.


  • Hen Pecked? You be the judge

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 02:35 PM

    I caught up with Joe Swift this morning outside the NACRO Ladies that Lunch garden, which was complete with some live ex battery hens exploring the concept of real grass. Joe didn't seem too impressed with the chickens. "Tatton Park is a nice day out for a chicken as long as their batteries don't run out," he quipped.


  • Lies, lies, lies

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2008 at 02:13 PM

     When I agreed to come up and help Blog from Tatton Park Flower Show it was on the specific agreement with online Editor Geoff Hodge that he'd book Robbie Williams for the flower show.
    It's a long way for me to drive up from the West Country, but the prospect of seeing my favourite all time pop star at Tatton Park Flower Show was enough to convince me it was worth getting up this morning at 4am!
    But when I got to the press office this morning, I discovered that Geoff had reneged on his promise.
    To be fair he had tried, but obviously his charms didn't appeal to the young Mr Williams. He should have asked the experts. More a ladies man, Mr Hodge instead had apparently secured the presence of Robbie Williams' Mum and sister instead. Fantastic promotion for Stoke On Trent, whose garden "Let us Entertain You," they were launching at the show.