Thursday, 2 June 2016

Blooming Great

Following three days of racing and two concerts, attracting in the region of 45,000 people to Cartmel, I know the question that’ll be on your mind: How did the tulips get on? Were they still blooming when the crowds came in?

Well, I’m happy to relate that they’ve done pretty well. The bulbs planted in the shade of the north facing wall adjacent to the paddock pedestrian entrance are still in full flower. Those exposed to the unusually persistent sunshine, in containers surrounding the Grandstand, just about made it through to Wednesday; although the cream and pink variety (named Camargue) fared much better than the blue-purple ones (Violet Beauty) which shed their petals in Wednesday's wind. It’s the sort of tip that you might want to pass on to other gardeners – as opposed to my opinion on the Epsom Derby, which is the sort of tip that you might prefer me to keep to myself.

And if you’re in search of further advice, you could do worse than to head down to Holker Hall this weekend for the Holker Garden Festival – although I don’t think anyone there will be able to tell you much about Wings Of Desire, who sprang a bit of a surprise in the Dante Stakes at York. Frankie Dettori’s Derby mount is my selection for the weekend. 

Will the Alliums make it
to the June Meeting?
Just two miles down the road from the racecourse, Holker Hall is the home of the Cavendish family and the annual Garden Festival takes place within the deer park, adjacent to the magnificent gardens which are open to the public this weekend and every week from Wednesday until Sunday throughout the Summer. In addition to trade-stands packed full of unusual and beautiful flowers, you’ll find displays of rural crafts, fine food from regional producers and a Victorian funfair for the children (and fun-loving adults).

The Holker Garden Festival has recently been named, in a poll by TripAdvisor, as one of the top ten flower shows to rival Chelsea. So it’s fitting that the show will be hosting Charlie Dimmock, a long-time presenter of the Chelsea Flower Show, in the Festival Theatre on Saturday. She’ll be available to answer questions about common garden pests, propagation and garden design. She’s presented many gardening programmes including Ground Force, The Joy Of Gardening and Charlie’s Garden Army, although I’ve yet to see her name linked to next year’s much anticipated ITV coverage of horseracing.  

Instead, Charlie is filming a new series for the BBC, called Garden Rescue, in which she’ll be joining forces with Chelsea gold medal winners David and Harry Rich. They’ll be visiting gardens that are badly in need of a makeover. I wonder if they’ll come and tell me what to put in the beds to replace the tulips?

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