Monday, 3 August 2015

National Flower Show – Hylands House, Chelmsford - 17th -19th July 2015

The sun was shining; it was the weekend, and what better way to celebrate the great weather than with a visit to Hylands Park. A favourite place to relax all summer long, but the gardens had some competition in the blooms department this month, thanks to the National Flower Show which ran from 17th-19th July.

 Over the weekend, Aztec Events (hosts of the Blenheim Palace Flower Show) offered visitors stalls selling flowers and shrubs of all shapes and sizes, along with gardening tools and accessories, leisure wear, and a wide range of gift and craft items ranging from locally produced fudge and sausages (including one very hot version offered as a sample) to jewellery. Essex Lowdown was there on the Saturday to see what this event, a first for the venue, was all about.

On arrival at the venue many visitors were stopped short by a very realistic looking bronze statue sitting on a bench, and after listening to a few ‘is it real’ cries, made it inside, only to find more innovative garden statues and water features. For a first event, there was a good variety of plant retailers, including bonsai and topiary stalls, who sat alongside other outdoor retailers, their stands displaying everything from tempting hot tubs and cute garden sheds, to vintage style plant pots and miniature accessories to make fairy gardens.

The pavilion marquee housed local craft, food, and home ware retailers, cake stalls, and some cookware demos; while next door the ground floor of Hylands House was open to ticket holders. The opportunity for first timers (like me) to get a look at the restoration of the rooms, and to view the plant displays and arrangements some of which won merit awards for their work.

The craft marquee is often a place to find interesting people and their passions, and this event didn’t buck the trend. In amongst the hand crafted jewels, cosmetics and other craft was Drew Burnett of Wild Eye Photo’s. This guy turned pro after an accident prevented him continuing a traditional job, and his passion is now his job. The result was a great collection of wildlife photos from the UK and abroad, and if you’d stopped to chat, you may have got some of the stories to go with them too!

You never know who you might meet at a garden show, what you might be tempted to buy, or whether the food offering might be more than the usual burger van. On this count event organisers delivered, with hog roast, Dutch pancakes, licensed bar, and delicious berry strudel among the offerings (yes I did try some!)

Although there was little advertising/timings given for the talks (which I mostly missed) and the entertainment (which there could have been more of), there was plenty to look at just by doing circuits of the event site. The lovely weather definitely helped as well, although I think there is potential for this event to continue and develop regardless. I just might need to start a flower fund now, ready for next time!


To find out more about the garden, craft, and other events Aztec organise, including the ‘All About Dogs which arrives at Hylands Park on 26th – 27th September, visit the website.

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