It is time for the RCHS Great Autumn Show, traditionally this show is the largest and greatest
The vast range of horticulture is amazing, The produce table will be there in abundance, I certainly will be swooping up the bottles of lovely freshly squeezed Apple Juice, Yummy
Please enter using the drop down menu above, or come to enjoy the fantastic Afternoon Teas, raffle and popular produce table
See you there
I have a busy career as a gardening author, lecturer and speaker. For details of my books and articles, please go to Writing. Most recently, I have been a horticultural adviser on the new edition of the RHS A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.
I have taught garden design and RHS certificate at Warwickshire College, and garden history at the English Gardening School.
I can arrange one-off events at Lamport Hall for interested groups – depending on the size of the group, this can be a half-day or summer evening visit to include talk, garden tour, question and answer session with light refreshments. Smaller groups can consider or a bespoke full-day course or workshop with lunch. Possible topics include garden design, garden history and plant propagation.
Day visits to the gardens of Lamport Hall and nearby Kelmarsh Hall – including lunch at Lamport – for groups of 20-30 can be organised by arrangement. Please contact me for more details of these.
“One of the best day visits organised for Clifton Garden Club – all thanks to Andrew” – Daphne Allan, Clifton upon Dunsmore Garden Club
Andrew has contributed to the following books
RHS A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (Dorling Kindersley)
RHS Pruning Plant by Plant (Dorling Kindersley)
RHS Plants for Shade (Dorling Kindersley)
World Encyclopedia of Apples (Anness Publishing)
1001 Garden Questions Answered (Anness Publishing)
Encyclopedia of Garden Pests and Diseases (Anness Publishing)
An Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (Anness Publishing)
Garden Design (Robert Hale)
Container Gardening (Flame Tree)
What to Do When in Your Garden (Flame Tree)
New Plant Library (Anness): Fuchsias, Water Plants, Old Roses, Hostas, Clematis, Climbing Roses, Conifers, Heathers, Modern Roses, Lilies, Camellias, Orchids, Small Trees
Gardening Essentials (Anness): Pruning Success, Perfect Patios and Terraces, Hanging Baskets, Glorious Scent in the Garden, Gardening Tasks through the Year
Busy Gardener’s Problem Solver (Marshall)
In French (all Marabout):
Topiaires et Sculptures végétales
Pois de senteur
Hellébores ou Roses de Noël
Gardens Illustrated, Intelligent Life, Historic Gardens Review, Garden Centre Retail, Slate.com
Patricia Thirion & Janet Honour
Garden designers Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour find inspiration for their gardens in all sorts of places.
Their previous entries for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show have included designs based on the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, the garden of the fashion designer Christian Dior, and the work of the charity WaterAid in Africa and India.
For this year’s show, the Bushey-based gardeners have looked back into history 800 years to the signing of the Magna Carta.
Patricia’s husband had read in the newspaper that it was going to be the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
“I started thinking what a lovely idea that would be for a garden,“ says Patricia, who is originally from France.
She mentioned her idea to her business partner Janet – the pair runs the design company A Touch of France together – and their imaginations immediately took off.
The garden celebrates the signing of the Magna Carta, which was sealed under oath by King John at Runnymede in Surrey in 1215. It was the first legal document imposed upon an English sovereign by a group of his subjects.
Patricia and Janet did lots of research and drew on the knowledge of the history of garden design that they’d acquired on the course at Capel Manor College in Enfield where they met to create a formal layout that is evocative of gardens of the Medieval period.
There is a wattle arch over a turf bench, which provides support for climbing plants such as old roses and honeysuckle. Wattle obelisks, raised beds, and a fountain – other typical Medieval garden features – add to the setting, with heraldic pennants and other artefacts such as a chess set, to symbolise the power of the barons and the king, shields and a parchment chest dotted about.
The garden’s symmetry also symbolises the new law and order of the time.
The flowers and plants have all been very carefully chosen to reflect that period as well, with a yew tree, fruit trees and raised beds with roses, hops, sweet peas, sage and other herbs, all in a tapestry of pinks and blues and lavender with a few dots of marigold.
A slice of a yew tree, which will be inscribed with wording from the Magna Carta, is featured towards the front of the garden in a meadow-planted bed that has been designed to evoke the meadow at Runnymede. This is symbolic of the ancient Ankerwycke yew, said to be about 2,000 years old, which grows close to the site where the Magna Carta is believed to have been sealed.
“The piece of yew is so beautiful,“ says Patricia, “it’s scalloped on the edges, it’s like a piece of art. We wanted to have a piece of yew to be reminiscent of the tree at Runnymede and we talked to the National Trust who told us there was a yew tree on the site which fell in a storm a couple of years ago and that we could have a piece of the trunk.
“They don’t know for sure but they think it might be a descendant of that ancient tree.“
Patricia and Janet visited the meadow at Runnymede early on in the project to gain further inspiration.
“It’s amazing, even though there’s nothing really there,“ says Patricia. “You visualise what happened 800 years ago and it’s incredible, it’s so atmospheric. I think it’s good that they haven’t put anything on the meadow except the monument.“
Fittingly, the garden will be moved to Runnymede after the Chelsea Flower Show, where it will be a permanent feature at the Runnymede-on-Thames spa hotel, which sits on the banks of the River Thames.
“That will be fantastic,“ says Patricia. “Our bed in our garden symbolises the meadow at Runnymede and the National Trust has given us a list of the plants that grow in it so we can recreate it – so there will be things like red clover, buttercups, ox-eye daisies, common sorrel, and goat’s beard.
“It’s going to be very, very pretty,“ says Patricia, “a very romantic-looking garden.“