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BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018 - Review

Home > Birmingham > Exhibitions | Gardening | Gardens | Outdoor | Shows
by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Designers scoop the prizes at leading show
You will be on the right track if you're heading to BBC Gardeners' World Live at Birmingham NEC – because the Best Show Garden features a steam train and Pullman carriage!

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Made in Birmingham, Paul Stone


The Made in Birmingham exhibit, designed by Paul Stone, celebrates the industry of the Second City, with the garden incorporating a typical railway embankment allotment and a cut flower plot alongside the station platform. The stunning blooms were grown from seed by members of mental health charity Solihull MIND, supported by Flowers From The Farm, while the tasty produce was cultivated by expert grower Terry Porter.

In a nod to the region's small breweries and brew-pubs, barley and hops surround the carriage installation.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Made in Birmingham, Paul Stone


Paul said: "I really wanted to pay respect to the amazing history of the host city. The Pullman carriage is a throwback to how Birmingham brought the country together through the Grand Junction Railways, and how the nation needed this city to trade and commute. It's also been amazingly rewarding working with Solihull MIND, and I hope this project can show the benefits gardening can have on mental health."

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Made in Birmingham, Paul Stone
Award winner: Garden designer Paul Stone


Bob Sweet, horticultural director of BBC Gardeners' World Live, said: "This is the first time a fully operational steam carriage has been used in a show garden, and what an incredible idea it is. Paul's design is very imaginative, growing a lot of plants which aren't in season, but the designs are flawless and they really capture the spirit of Birmingham from years gone by."

Made in Birmingham gained a platinum award and narrowly beat another platinum recipient, Wyevale Garden Centres' Solutions Garden, to be named Best in Show.

The Wyevale exhibit, designed by David Stevens, comprises a number of different areas, each showing a solution to a different garden problem. These include planting in a dry shady area and controlling weeds. During the show, which runs at Birmingham NEC from June 14 till June 17, Wyevale staff will advise visitors on their own garden conundrums.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Wyevale Garden Centres' Solutions Garden
Platinum: Wyevale Garden Centres' Solutions Garden


The Best Constructed Garden award went to the Tesco Every Little Helps garden. The gold-winning exhibit, designed by Owen Morgan, is also divided into various areas, creating spaces for different family members. There is an informal lounge area, a raised pond, a Mediterranean-inspired border, an artificial lawn play area, a dining space and a secret garden within a wildlife area.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Tesco Every Little Helps Garden
Gold: Tesco Every Little Helps garden


Announcing the winners, chairman of the judges, Mark Gregory, whose Yorkshire Garden was a huge hit at this year's Chelsea show said: ''There is refreshing honesty about the gardens at Gardeners' World Live.''

Designers have been queueing to contribute to the Beautiful Borders category of this year's show. Launched three years ago, with just eight entrants, designers are challenged to pack as much as they can in a space of 10 square metres. And they rose to the challenge, with 23 entering the 2018 contest.

The Best Beautiful Border honour was awarded to Nikki Hollier's The Jar of Life, an exhibit filled with sensory plants which all contribute to our wellbeing. And the platinum-winning border even has a water feature to provide a soothing sound.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Beautiful Borders, Nikki Hollier, The Jar of Life
Beautiful Border: The Jar of Life


Another platinum award winner was The Chronicles of Narnia by Derby College and the MS Society. It also picked up the Best Interpretation of a Theme award. Inspired by CS Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the border features a mirrored wardrobe, 3-D lion and a fern-pebbled ravine.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Beautiful Borders, The Chronicles of Narnia
Inspired: The Chronicles of Narnia


Katherine Hathaway's Fascinating Haunts was the third border to receive a platinum award. Designed in collaboration with the Sensory Trust, the garden, full of nostalgic plants, aims to provide older people living with dementia the opportunity to start a conversation around memories of the scents of the likes of sweet peas, lavender and lemon balm.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Beautiful Borders, Katherine Hathaway, Fascinating Haunts
Nostalgic: Katherine Hathaway and her Fascinating Haunts border


Ben Stubbs' Nursery won a gold award and the Gardeners' World Magazine Subscriber Award. It demonstrates a dual purpose space where plants flourish and children can have fun. There is prairie-style planting and lots of vibrant colours.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018, NEC Birmingham, Show Gardens, Beautiful Borders, Ben Stubbs, Nursery
Flourishing: Ben Stubbs' Nursery
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Why? Stunning show gardens - and lots more!
When: June 14 - 17, 2018
Phone: 0844 581 1340
Where: NEC, Birmingham
Cost: From £24
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