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3 Garden Festivals To See in Summer

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Eyes Set on Iris
woburn abbey, garden show

Did we even have a spring this year? It seemed more like a second autumn if you ask me. The British spring of 2013 has been one of the coldest and wettest in history since records began. Now June is here, let's hope we can enjoy a pleasant summer. Things look promising at the moment - the first two day have been warm and sunny - so now might be just the time to get out of the house and go to a flower show.

It is Iris Week at Doddington Hall, and the Lincolnshire countryside is beaconing. Irises have been luring visitors to the for twenty-five years, and in 2007, Claire Birch officially opened Iris Week. Entry to the garden is 5 for adults, and 2.75 for children, and while you are there, you will be able to see the irises growing into carefully woven tapestries in the parterres, admire a stunning handkerchief tree, and see other flowers such as Telekia Speciosa, peonies, alliums, phlox, and white wisteria in a Romantic walled garden.

Coinciding with the last day of Iris Week is the Flower Power Plant Fair on the 9th June. There will be a 1 discount on adult admission to the garden, plus the opportunity to buy quality plants. Exhibitors such as Ashdale Nursery, Swines Meadow Farm, The Fern Nursery, Garden Blooms, Rose Peck Pots, and many more, willprovide a wide selection for a variety of garden styles. For example, you'll be able to find shrubs, potted flowers, cottage garden plants, ferns, fruit trees, and herbaceous perennials.

Not up for a trip to Lincolnshire? Woburn Abbey is only an hour's drive from London, Oxford and Cambridge. The Bedfordshire park is holding its annual Garden Show on the 22nd & 23rd June. The show will feature gardening experts Diarmuid Gavin and Pippa Greenwood, who will be giving demonstrations and Q&A sessions.

Included in your ticket (10.99 adults, 9.99 seniors, 6 children) will be entry to all the gardens, free tours, a go in the maze, and access to the plant creche.

At the official opening, the Duchess of Bedford will open two new areas: Children's Garden and the new Cone House, which is based on original design plans from 1805-1810.

There will be lots of unusual plants to purchase from the nurseries, including RHS Medal Winners. You can also buy other gardening summer 'essentials', such as barbecues, furniture, decorations, and hardware tools.
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Why? Admire the gardens
When: 2nd-9th June at Doddington, 22nd & 23rd June at Woburn
Where: Doddington Hall and Woburn Abbey
Cost: 5-10.99 adult, 2.75-6 child
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