This year Countryside invited BPOA to present the Home Grown produce to visitors to the summer shows at Malvern Spring Festival, Blenheim Palace Flower Show and the Stratford Home and Garden Show, where there was also a presentation of the “Love your plot” garden display.
The fun in visiting garden shows throughout the summer is often to be found with the exchanges you have with like minded people. I was delighted to be able to ask experts why the leaves were failing on our sweet peas (nutritional), how to catch slugs or when would be a good time to plant various species. The audiences for the gardening talks at Blenheim heard about the uses of household chemicals in making simple and cheap garden remedies from David Domoney. Whilst visitors to Malvern Spring festival heard from Raymond Blanc, a man who brings real passion to his gardening and cooking, about the best way to cook a carrot to perfection amongst other things.
Talking to Home Grown supporters-
We were very pleased to be able to meet the many readers and supporters of the NFU Countryside magazine http://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/the-magazine/ and talk to them about the Home Grown project to widen the appeal of garden plants grown in the UK. Many are very knowledgeable and spend a considerable time in their gardens. They are sympathetic to the importance of the countryside both in improving our experience of the world of nature and as a place of work for farmers and growers. The visitors often like to ask about the production of the plants and the flowers which we displayed especially during British Flower Week which coincided with the display at Blenheim Palace Flower Show. They may be surprised to learn that Phalaenopsis orchids sold in British supermarkets are often produced in Hampshire and Sussex or that wonderfully scented Dianthus pinks are produced in Devon and available nationally from the nursery that bred the varieties which distributes throughout the UK by mail order. All the plants displayed were sold at the end of the shows with the proceeds being donated to the charity ‘Farm Africa’ http://www.farmafrica.org
“Love your Plot” (LyP) was also showing their stand at Stratford and Chris Collins http://www.chriscollins.org.uk said that they had great response to the idea of doing it yourself with the garden improvement. Supported by Home Grown and many other groups, LyP has been going round the country showing how our local spaces and plots can be improved and beautified to make the most unpromising back yard a haven of relaxation and a delight to the eye.