Blooming Strong Women
In 2018, we channelled our competitive energies into a new challenge – that of creating a 3-metre square ‘Blooming Border’ at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (July 18-22). We are delighted to announce that it won a Gold Medal scoring 14 out of 16 possible marks!!
Our new committee member Jayne McKenna has horticultural qualifications so we tasked her with creating a concept. She took inspiration from the fact that we are a predominantly female group facing huge challenges, and decided to pay homage to some other strong women. The Suffragette Movement happens to be celebrating its Centenary year so we chose their adopted colour scheme of Green (Give), White (Women) and Violet (Votes). Jayne then started working with a garden designer friend of hers, Alison Jamie. Together they designed and illustrated the border for the RHS application. When the application was finally accepted we had to firstly address funding before we could begin sourcing the plants.
Our Chair, Sarah, works part-time at Wyevale Garden Centre in Altrincham and was successful in gaining sponsorship from her employer. Some plants were bought using donations already collected by committee members. Others were grown by Jayne at home or donated by Nicky, a friend of hers who runs a nursery. The rest came from Wyevale Garden Centre and we are very grateful to James and Ryan for their ongoing advice and support. We are also grateful to Binzilla who very kindly transported our plants to Tatton Park and have been helping us keep our projects watered and alive this year. In fact, this project has been team effort – most of our volunteers have been involved in one stage of the project or another – whether fundraising, watering, potting, packaging, transporting, planting or hosting at Tatton.
We called the border ‘Blooming Strong Women’ and used a wicker obelisk in the centre of the border, providing height focus and the suggestion of a female figure standing proud. The obelisk is adorned with a purple satin ‘Deeds Not Words’ sash and pretty Passiflora ‘Amethyst’ winding up and around it. We toyed with the idea of a floral ‘hat’ but nothing looked right so we abandoned that idea. The remainder of the plants are very feminine in nature and resemble cottage-style planting.
We used two types of Verbena Bonariensis – the regular tall variety and also the stockier ‘Lollipop’. A circle of deep green-leaved and purple-flowered Salvia ‘Amistad’ surrounds the central ‘figure’ accompanied by light and fluffy contrasting white flowers – Lychnis ‘Petit Henri’, Ammi Visnaga and Gypsophila ‘White Festival’. Then there are layers of Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, Briza Maxima, Veronica and Antirrhinum Majus ‘Sonnet White’ with little pops of deep burgundy Centaurea Cyanus ‘Blue Boy/Black Ball’ interspersed. The lower level is made up using the variegated foliage of Euonymus Fortunei ‘Harlequin’, the bright purple flowers of Campanula ‘Ambella Intense Purple’ and the bright white and delightfully delicate flowers of Euphorbia ‘Silver Fog’.