How we create a show garden

Today was our first full day setting up our trade stand at The Devon County Show. But months of planning have taken place before now. Gary on the nursery has been gathering and caring for hundreds of plants in the lead up to the show and Rob has been digging up large specimen shrubs and trees from the open ground fields. Some plants like Azaleas have been placed in large fridges to hold back their flowering whilst others have been brought into the greenhouse to bring them into flower. Lists have been made, labels printed and lorry loads filled.

When you first enter the massive flower and garden marquee it is quite daunting. Effectively a field in a tent our stand is quite like a brand new garden, a completely blank canvas! Step one (which we actually did yesterday) is to positin and level our water feature and power it. After that we position and re-position the key focal plants, mark out paths with canes and try not to panic! By now our stand looks something like this

Setting up Devon County Show

With a bit of structure we now try to mix textures, blend and complement colours and hide pots. Some plants are lifted to give a bit more height and some plants are grouped together to give the impression of one larger established specimen. There’s a lot of ‘tweaking’ and plants will be placed, removed and re-placed as we debate their appropriateness for the gap in question with a bit of stand up comedy to entertain anyone passing by.

This is year we have a larger sales area and will be selling more than just plants. So we had a team from our Clyst St Mary garden centre working along side us, creating a stunning garden centre within the marquee.

By the end of the first day, we have most of both displays in position. Time for a quick water and tidy before an early start tomorrow.