Thunder, lightning and torrential rain was expected for the 7th June (year) but Rosie and I refused to believe the forecast. We had spent a hectic 10 weeks organising the first ever Plant Party in the Park and could not conceive of cancelling it. Thank goodness we didn’t because apart from a light shower whilst the stallholders set up, the sun shone all afternoon. Crowds of people relaxed in the sunshine and took their time to enjoy the plants, music and food on offer at the Bandstand in Victoria Park Bath.
The original idea behind the Plant Party in the Park was to offer free garden design advice on the day. Of course, keen gardeners were not put off by the prospect of rain, happily queuing for their slot. There followed a steady stream of questions ranging from ideas for a large neglected country garden to plant suggestions for a shady city courtyard. Rosie, Tom, Michelle and I took it in turns to answer questions and offer suggestions. We were so pleased to see kids busily potting up young plants at Atelier’s gardening workshops as it meant we could really listen to the parent’s questions. All the planning had been worth it.
Dusty Ape the coffee maker did well at the start of the day but soon customers were either sampling the refreshing delights of Bath’s own gin or Midford’s tasty cider. As the afternoon progressed, handfuls of cocktail lollies or traditional ice creams were being enjoyed by all ages. By midday, crowds of people were sitting in front of the bandstand munching on a spicy pulled pork burger from Sam’s Kitchen pop up café whilst enjoying live music.
The young and talented Alex Part opened the event followed by the amazing Su Hart. Calamity Poets and Clevedon brass band went down a storm whilst Jamba da Samba could be heard ¼ mile away and brought in the curious and adventurous residents of Bath. This provided the perfect atmosphere for Bath’s plant lovers who were in for a treat as the great and the good of local plant growers were gathered in Bath for one day only.
Award winning Hardy’s Nursery did not even unpack from their stand at Chelsea to be there and the newbie ‘plant hunter’ nursery Evolution Plants brought plants no one had seen before. The Mead, Blooming Hill and Necia West all presented a fantastic selection of interesting and good quality plants. Two lovely professional gardeners, Beth and Cath, manned the special plants stall.
The Botanic Nursery had sold out of foxgloves by the time I got there and I did not have enough time to look at all the plants on Pennard plants stall. Wicked Lavender had the clever idea of putting lavender coloured flowering plants in lavender coloured pots and Teohs of restaurant fame had brought his amazing organic wooden garden furniture and petrified wood.
Rosie and I could not have been more delighted to be told, “This is better than Bath’s old Spring Flowers show; much more relaxed”. I think we can thank the sunshine for that, Cheers and here is to next year!
Photographs by kind permission of Cutch Studio