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Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon Garden Writer/Feature Writer West Country

  • Date Joined: 01 Jul 2008

Recent Comments

  • Floral ceramics

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 01:26 PM

     There's more to Tatton Park Flower Show than plants and flowers, but there's usually a link there somewhere. If you love flowers and you are fond of ceramics and china too then you are sure to love the Moorcroft Pottery stand at the show. There's a huge variety of gorgeous designs on sale and you can meet the real artists behind the creations.

     But if you are really keen on your pottery you might like to know that Eric Knowles of BBC's Antiques Roadshow will be giving a talk from 2-2.30pm this week on Wednesday (you better hurry to catch this one), Friday (there's still plenty of time to get to the show), Saturday and Sunday. 


  • Ordered chaos

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 01:16 PM

    One of the gardens that caught my eye at this year's Tatton Park Flower Show was the Revolution show garden designed by Phillippa Probert. It's a fabulous use of colour and plants that creates a inspirational effect. It's actually an office courtyard that has two separate themes. 'Order' at the front of the garden and 'chaos' at the back. "I used to have a very small office in large office block and there was never anywhere to escape for 5 minutes. It seemed like a nice idea, with things like the smoking ban,to create somewhere where people can escape the computer screen and take a break. So the idea is that this is an office courtyard, but the garden represents order versus chaos. The order is your everyday routine, the straight lines of the garden and the grid, the straight lines lead your eye to chaos, lots of different textures, plants everything in a chaotic matter."

    The trouble is it doesn't look that chaotic, I simply love the colours, textures and plants she has used and in the autumn when the tulip trees start to take on their golden autumn hues it will look absolutely fantastic. But Phillippa if you need some help getting the chaos effect perfected, just ask. Apparently I'm an expert.
     I'm not a very chaotic person.


  • Best Show Garden

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 12:21 PM

     For the second year in a row Chris Beardshaw has designed a garden that has been awarded the best garden in its category.

    The Ness Botanische, Cheshire's Gardens of Distinction under the microscope is a bespoke garden designed for Ness Botanic Gardens


  • Shoplifters, hermits and elephants

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 11:50 AM

    One of the great things about flower shows is the learning about the inspiration behind the gardens and seeing the show through the eyes of the visitors. Wednesday at Tatton Park is a day buzzing with enthusiasm, excitement and vibrancy. It's the day when most of the awards are given out and garden designers, sponsors and visitors are abuzz with the news.

    Tatton Park's very own Back to Back Garden, THe Hermit's Grotto-Inspiration for Imagination won a gold medal. I found  designer and head gardener Sam Youd in great spirits and catching up with a long term friend, Gardeners' World Presenter Toby Buckland. "I love the grotto, it's terrific," he said, "and I absolutely love Tatton Park I spent a lot of time here when I used to work in Manchester. Its just the sort of quality you see in the rest of the garden, well worth a look and a well deserved gold medal. Any gardener knows their subject when they start putting leaf mould on the gravel it shows extra attention to detail."


  • Teenage Apprentice Gardeners

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Finally caught up with the entrepid Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins this morning. He's a busy bee and is working at the show all week in the Gardenin in Action Marquee, where visitors can enjoy an exciting programme of talks and demonstrations by RHS gardening advisors and invited guests.Make sure you check it out when you get to the show there are five sessions most days plus a Q&A session in the afternoons, Weds-Saturday.

    He's been all over the show already and a few gardens have taken his eye. "I like the BTCV garden because I think it's been really well done, and that's quite hard to achieve with wildflowers, because you need to get it moved and to keep it all intact."


  • What do hermits eat?

    Jean Vernon on 22 Jul 2009 at 08:18 AM

     Have you ever wondered what hermits eat? No, this isn't another one of my vegetable posts although I would have thought that they foraged for wild food and that could include some vegetables.

    Late last night, just after the garden medals were awarded, the hermit duo, were spotted having a celebration inside the Tatton Park Flower Show Press Office. They must have been paid a princely sum for their services for they had splashed out on sandwiches and soft drinks and were having an ad hoc picnic.  


  • Gardening with hens

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 05:26 PM

     With a huge increase in interest in Grow Your Own Veg and Fruit, the next obvious step for many gardeners is to keep a few hens for fresh homelaid eggs. It's not as difficult as it seems and yes, you can have a nice garden and hens.

    There's a garden at this years' Tatton Park Flower Show that has been designed from scratch (sorry) to show visitors that it is possible to have a beautiful garden and free range hens. It also promotes a charity, The Little Hen Rescue that rescues thousands of battery and barn hens, which all need a good home when they have served their time as prolific layers.

  • Bluebird Lands at Tatton

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 05:06 PM

    Visitors to the Tatton Park Flower Show this year can see the ill-fated Bluebird K7 hydroplane which is currently being restored. It is making a very special appearance on The Lake District Bluebird Garden, which was launched today by Gina Campbell. She brought with her, her fathers' mascot, a teddy which was with him on the fateful day over 40 years ago, when he, Donald Campbell, attempted to break the water speed record on Coniston Water.


  • Absent Friends

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 04:46 PM

     After a very, very, very wet day at Tatton Park Flower Show, I have to admit it's been a bit of a weird one.

    I've been working at RHS Flower Shows for the last 20 years and for much of that time I've been working with or alongside someone who is and has been a great inspiration, friend and colleague to many of us


  • The Wonderful World of Vegetables

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 04:28 PM

     I know, I know, I'm having a veggie fest at this year's show, but that's partly because there is so much here to see and learn about growing, not only your own healthy fresh veg, but fruit too.

    What's great is the variety of ways you can show and display the wonderrful array of produce and yet again the kids have pushed the boundaries more than the adults. 


  • Cucumbers, sprouts and cabbages (and Fish)

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 02:10 PM

    You could be forgiven for thinking that this post is about Grow Your Own, well you'd be wrong. I'm continuing with my vegetable theme today and have decided, based on the success of my Carol Klein 'Interview', to ask a few more people that dreaded question.

    " If you were a vegetable what would you be?"


  • Carol Klein, a 'bright light'

    Jean Vernon on 21 Jul 2009 at 01:26 PM

     This morning at Tatton Park the heavens opened and soaked everyone and everything at the showground. But it hasn't dampened the spirits of exhibitors and the press, all busily working away to bring you the very best Tatton Park Flower Show ever. The Floral Marquee looks spectacular already and it isn't even finished yet.

    I caught up with Carol Klein filming for the Beeb this morning. Looking absolutely stunning in a rain coat several sizes too big for her, she was simply effervescent about the colour and variety of plants within the Floral Marquee and especailly the crocosmias. "On Hardy's stand there are some real beauts," she said, taking me there to show me a particulary stunning example, "just look at this lovely gold one, 'Paul's Best Yellow', this is a chap who has been breeding these on the Isle of Wight and producing some of these just fantastic ones and trying to make them available to the public."


  • Hermits, Hats and Eric Knowles?

    Jean Vernon on 19 Jul 2009 at 09:38 PM

     You never know quite what to expect at an RHS Flower Show, there's always plenty of hype and anticipation from the Press Office before the start of the show to get the press interested and to entice the paparazzi.

    After some disappointments (for me anyway) at this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, I don't like to get my hopes up; I never did get to ask Ricky Gervais "if you were a vegetable, what sort of vegetable would you be?" ( though probably just as well really). Was he even there? Did anyone see him, I didn't.


  • An interest in human skulls required

    Jean Vernon on 16 Jul 2009 at 01:19 PM

    Over the last few weeks Tatton Park in Cheshire has been searching for its very own 'Apprentice'. Unlike the BBC series where cleanliness, appearance and designer labels hold great sway, this vacancy has quite different requirements. For example the candidates must be totally silent, trips to the nail bar and baths are banned (toe nails need to be overgrown) and facial hair is a pre-requisite for the post. The Pent House is a Hermit's cave and an interest in human skulls is preferred.

    Head Gardener of Tatton Park, Sam Youd has been looking for a dishevelled  hermit to take residence in his 'Hermit's Grotto' garden at this year's Tatton Park Flower Show next week


  • Tatton goes soft on fruit

    Jean Vernon on 16 Jul 2009 at 01:09 PM

    The RHS Show Tatton Park is going soft on fruit this year as summer berries take centre stage reflecting the UK's passion for growing sweet sensations such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
    Garden designers at Tatton are reaffirming the move from ‘purchasing punnets' to planting then picking' with Show Gardens such as ‘Be Fruitful' by Sharon
    Hockenhall and ‘Home Grown' by Bridgemere Garden World, both brimming with bountiful berries.

    It's a great reflection of a recent online survey carried out by the RHS that revealed 37% of respondents plan to grow their own fruit for next year.


  • An earthy, eco festival

    Jean Vernon on 16 Jul 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Gardeners with an interest in self-sufficiency, permaculture and sustainable living could spend a few days at the largest and liveliest green festival of the summer. Totally powered by wind, solar and people power, The Big Green Gathering is a collection of everything that is good, green and eco friendly.The five day event runs from Wednesday 29th July to Sunday August 2nd 2009.

    From acoustic musicians, alternative energy, self-build and green crafts, the event is a magnet for earthy souls in tune with nature