This year, Agents of Field have packed up the wagon and hit the road to explore some of the nation’s gardening sights and sounds. And this weekend, we found ourselves at the impressive Powderham Castle in Devon for the annual Toby’s Garden Festival.
Now in its fifth year, we wanted to congratulate Toby Buckland and his team for putting this important festival on the gardening map. The passion and pride they all have for celebrating the best of the South West’s gardening and food industry is certainly something to admire. The products on sale are diverse and of the highest quality. The talks on offer in the marquee range from gardening to food, to the region’s plight to save The Willow Man. Guest speakers included Jim Buttress, Anne Swithinbank and Agents of Field’s favourite, Sara Venn.
We managed to sit down with Sara and have a proper catch up. She told us the latest on the Incredible Edible Bristol project and the community garden that flourishes in Bristol city centre’s ‘Bearpit‘, a one-time concrete wasteland which has now become a place of beauty. Sara is not short of passion and drive, and can only be applauded for her amazing hard work.
I have to say, those Devonshire folk didn’t have to try hard to convince me to hand over my pennies. Many beautiful plants were bought, and the finest Devonshire pasties were eaten. (Thanks Laura!) We met so many interesting people from from all walks of life, who all share a common love for gardening and food: our kind of people!
While it’s easy to be swept up in the glamour of the big RHS flower shows such as Chelsea, it’s worth remembering that there are so many smaller, local garden festivals happening right across the UK. Don’t think for one second that if a festival doesn’t have the RHS stamp of approval, it’s not worth a visit. NO! This won’t do! The garden is big enough for everyone to play in, and it’s down to us to get out there and explore it.
With camera in hand, we caught up with the Devonshire dandy himself, Mr Toby Buckland, to talk festivals, forsythia… and our shared penchant for the gentleman’s waistcoat.
Hope you enjoy it!