197 days to go….

OK, I know it seems ages to go but when you haven’t done it before the phrase ‘you don’t know what you don’t know ‘ is pretty accurate. There will just be some things I don’t know I need to plan or even think about.

So where am I? Well the acceptance went it – so I’m kind of assuming I have secured my little area in the Floral Marquee. Then we managed to rectify the link that let me provide my BACS details. I’ve made my introduction to the team who build the staging – as I know I have so so many questions as to what they do and what I’m expected to do.

Other things I’ve been cracking on with is ordering things that I know I will need as some things have quite long lead times. I want to exhibit using Yorkshire pots – they are based around an hour away and their pots really are built to last. In terms of trying to be more sustainable I have always thought the move away from a throw away society is one of the biggest things we can do. So yes, while I know terracotta has a bigger impact in terms of CO2 when you think of its production, I think the fact that the product I will use will be around for years and years to come and not be thrown away is the right choice for me. More on the cost and what they look like closer to the time.

Then I’ve been considering what I want to sell along with my exhibit. I am minded to not sell plants, as I think it may just be a step too far for a first time exhibitor, but we will see. I do want to sell some seeds from the national collection, so know I need to get the text on the seed envelope approved by the RHS. One thing that maybe could be done sooner rather than later, as I can crack with that while things are less hectic.

Then I’ve put an order in for some tote bags with an image of one of my favourite cosmos. Don’t ask how much they have cost 😱.. needless to say I may need to sell more than a few. Limited run of 100 – so you could say they are a collectors item.

I look at the wonderful displays such as this one I photographed this year and still have so many thoughts about what I could or should do next year.

I’m sure there is plenty of time to make my choices… and that’s not even thinking about the work that will need to go into growing some amazing cosmos. I better crack on.

Acceptance of Site contract in

Not sure why I took this photo last year. I must have had it in the back of my mind that I might just throw my hat into the ring and see if my rabble army of cosmos might possibly be worthy of a coming to the show.

I have always said that the place I love to be at a flower show is the Floral Marquee just open mouthed at some of the amazing plants and people who grow them. Still totally amazed that someone like me has been accepted to show some of the Cosmos I will grow. But as of yesterday I have submitted my acceptance of contract and have accepted my little display area.

So many other things to start thinking of even if the show still seems an age away. All very exciting!

202 days to go until build time at RHS Hampton Court

I think I’ve gone on record before saying that showing flowers really wasn’t my think. For me it was all about the pure joy of growing them. If other people liked them – that was lovely, but if they didn’t, not to worry, as we don’t all have to like the same thing.

Then all of a sudden I start a couple of national collections of plants I have a soft spot for (Alceas and Cosmos) and then have the cheek to apply to the worlds biggest flower show. Surely an amateur newcomer such as me has no place there.

Well, it appears that I better get my skates on, as today I received the paper work to say I am exhibiting some of my cosmos (which will currently just be little seeds in my individual tins).

Hugely exciting; loads of work to do; lots of things I have no idea how I will sort out, but I think one of the most important things is that write about the journey that will take me from now until then – so the next 200 plus days.

This will involve what I am doing, what its costing, how I am trying to be sustainable, knowing that not everything will be, but being prepared to be honest about that so that maybe all of us gardeners can improve. It will also maybe try to inspire a little bit, as a success for me won’t be any sort of medal (wonderful as that would be) but would be for others to embrace trying to be a tad more suitable, to think, maybe they could have a go, and to maybe think about taking on a national plant collection.

Raised bed area nearly half finished

Tomorrow the last delivery of 3.5 tonnes of limestone will be delivered before I start what seemed like an endless task of shovelling and barrowing

My way of working involves filling each of the five barrows, and then barrowing and emptying each one and then repeat.

In my head I’ve split it into five sections – so the first two were finished, had a whacked plate on them and then raised beds put in place

After tomorrow that will be 17.5 tonnes delivered and shifted (which may be done over the weekend) and then the remaining beds go on place.

Then it will be just a case of filling the beds with some growing medium and a top covering of pea gravel. Thankfully this is a once in a lifetime job, which I will be pleased to see finished.

Visit to RHS HQ

Friday had me off to London for a trip to RHS HQ at Vincent Square. Had a fascinating chat with a few people which I can’t say too much about, but really got me thinking about various things in terms of what a charity representing gardening and gardeners could achieve in the months and years ahead.

Then of course it really shouldn’t be too long before I hear if my cosmos may be heading to Hampton court in 2022.

More autumn jobs

Whilst gardening shows on TV end in Autumn time I sometimes feel there is as much if not more to do at this time of year. I finally had a bit of time to build three big compost bays using some metal roofing sheets that have been laying around for the last couple of years. There is already a serious amount of collected leaves from the plot here – with many more to come.

Then I have finally got a move on and started to complete the second phase of our raised bed area. It involves me shovelling a lot of limestone before the beds go in situ and then finishing with some pea gravel. This should keep me busy for the next couple of months, as I try to fit in in between other things that need to be done.

And finally, along with trimming all the willow and turning it into woodchip which will turn into compost, I will finish a new heated propagation bed, as last years one I built really helped with the cosmos.

I found it helpful more so just to keep away the dangers of late frosts after sowing. A 72ft cable to go in, which will be topped off with more sand. Underneath is the black polythene so water can be added and under that sheets of insulation.

Sustainability

RHS is pushing their recently published sustainability report again today https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/sustainability. I think its very much worth a read.

For me its all about a journey. Anyone preaching being totally virtuous is either saintly (or dare I say telling a porkie pie). I think some people are further along with their journey than others, and rather than being berated about environmentalism (which often happens) we should be far more encouraging.

And of course an admission we aren’t perfect. The one I will struggle with on the 10 suggestions they have is petrol tools. A 2 acre plot means battery mowers (for example) just arent that practical yet… and the same with other equipment. Of course if money was no object it would be… but as with everything sometimes its a balance.

But defiinitely worth a read for those interested in this sort of stuff 👇🏻