Saturday was a day at the races for Sophie and me… well, sort of. It was the weekend of the inaugural Ascot Spring Garden Show, and as we headed to the historic racetrack, there wasn’t a bookie, horse, or jockey in sight. Instead, we were taking bets on whether this brand new garden show would go the distance, or fall at the first hurdle.
For weeks now, spring has been crying out for its main attraction – sunshine. Whether it was a crisis of confidence, or a diva strop, the sun was shunning us all. But this weekend, all was forgotten. She donned her rays and gave us a show we wouldn’t forget; the weather proved glorious!
We weren’t sure what to expect. Quite often at these big garden events, unless you’re royalty, or you shared a taxi with Monty Don, you can find yourself in horrendous queues. However, with free parking at Ascot, it was straight up to the gate, and straight in.
I had assumed the show would be staged within the racetrack, but it’s actually in the forecourt, so you’re immediately met by garden exhibitors, traders and staff. Although smaller than its RHS counterparts, the show is no less enjoyable. In fact, it gave it a real sense of intimacy, adding to a warm atmosphere. You could enjoy the stalls, flowers and talks without feeling crushed, or overwhelmed by crowds. Whether this was because it’s the show’s first year, or the crowds were split between Ascot, and RHS Cardiff Flower Show (also setting up tent on the same weekend), I couldn’t say. But I appreciated the relaxed atmosphere.
While there, we managed to catch up with our friends at Greenfingers, Dalefoot Composts, National Garden Scheme and we bumped into podcaster, Peter Donegan, who gave us a sneaky reveal of his forthcoming guests on The Sod Show.
The exhibits, talks, plant nurseries and twelve stunning show gardens (including the six gardens for the Young Gardeners of the Year competition), made it a fantastic day out. But don’t take my word for it, why not make yourself a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and watch the video for yourselves.