By Ann Evans


Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall.



The ever-popular BBC Gardeners’ World Live show coupled with the BBC Good Food Show drew in tens of thousands of visitors again at the Birmingham NEC over the weekend, and Ann Evans went along for some garden inspiration too.





What must have been the largest feature ever to have graced a show garden was found in Paul Stone’s ‘Made in Birmingham Garden’ which featured a working vintage steam locomotive and Pullman Dining Carriage. The train was set on a wildflower embankment with a station cottage garden, a prize allotment and reference to the region’s brewery culture with a hops and barley patch. This unique garden had visitors queuing up to look inside the locomotive. It also impressed the judges who awarded it their highest accolade, a Platinum Award plus Best Show Garden.







“We want to celebrate the vigour and energy of the Birmingham powerhouse from the past to the current day” said designer Paul Stone, adding, “With the calibre of gardens at this year’s show, I think any number of Show Gardens could have won this award. The standard is always high, but to have two platinum awards in the same category is testament to the designers. It’s an honour to have won.”


Bob Sweet, horticulture director at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, said: “Paul’s garden displays incredible imagination and ambition. To put a working steam train in a show garden in the middle of Birmingham is quite outstanding.”







As ever there were magnificent show gardens and show borders to gain inspiration from – 39 to explore this year. The massive floral marquee was buzzing with exceptional flowers, cacti, shrubs and plants displayed on 100 stands.







There were live theatre events with celebrity gardeners captivating the visitors; and a multitude of trade stands packed with everything from garden furniture to summer houses and much, much more.








For those who love fresh cut flowers around the house, there was a magnificent display of Moorcroft to drool over! Moorcroft were proud to be the chosen supplier for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2018 Floral Pavilion 25-year awards.






Also in the Show Garden category, the ‘Wyevale Garden Centres’ Solution Garden’ designed by David Stevens scooped a Platinum award. The spectacular garden which was built to illustrate the best practice, and stylish, solutions to common garden challenges such as planting in dry shade, acid soil or boggy areas.






The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) returned to the show with five Show Gardens on APL Avenue, created by APL accredited landscaping companies. Two of the gardens picked up Gold Awards – Keyscape Design & Construction made a stunningly private space to relax in the aptly titled ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ garden; and Peter Cowell from Living Gardens expertly displayed how a garden for children and for adults can work in harmony, in his ‘Inspiration in the Raw’ garden.






Elsewhere in the show, Jacob Botting and Laurence Senior won the inaugural Young Landscapers Award for their build of a Diarmuid Gavin Show Garden design, and Nikki Hollier’s Platinum-awarded design ‘The Jar of Life’ was crowned as the Best Beautiful Border. Derby College was chosen as the space which best interpreted a theme, for its ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ Beautiful Border, with the Gold award winning ‘Tesco Every Little Helps Garden’, by Owen Morgan, being recognised for Best Construction.



Next week, a look at some of the specialist drinks exhibited at the BBC Good Food Show.