Behind the scenes tour at Gardeners’ World Live Show

It’s always a treat to get a behind-the-scenes tour. This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview of Gardeners’ World Live. So I found myself wandering  around the show gardens, instead of pressed up against the boundary ropes and fences surrounding them.  Here’s a few highlights from my special day out. 

My favourite garden was a wildflower haven with climbing roses galore. Claudia de Yong won gold and best show garden for her Romance in the Ruins 


Castles,with their history and romance, inspired the design. I loved the ruins with trickling waterfall, wild roses, foxgloves and ferns. The pink spires at the base of the waterfall are purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria.


A rustic pergola was swathed in Albertine and Mortimer Sackler roses. Walking through the garden, the scent was so delicious on a hot sunny day. Salvia Love and Wishes is the focal point plant in the old stone urn in the centre. CED Stone supplied the Golden Amber pathway material- a self-compacting gravel. It makes a beautiful and affordable surface for cut flower gardens and veg plots.


One stand-out feature for me was the white Desdemona rose. Bred by David Austin, it is exquisitely beautiful with peachy pink buds opening to pure white blooms. It has a strong perfume and flowers until November. Grows to about 4ft and is disease resistant, plus  the flowers cope with rain. The designer has used it as a low hedge underplanted with Nepeta Six Hills Giant. 


I spotted vetches, yellow rattle, clover and crested dog’s tail  grass in the wild flower turf. The focal point tree is  Malus Rubra- brilliant for spring blossom, autumn crab apples, and attractive plum-coloured leaves all summer. The multi-stem tree used in the garden looks like a river birch, with peeling bark blending in with the colour of the ruins alongside. 


Winning my prize for the garden I’d most want to roll up and take home – and providing the garden bench I would most like to recline on,  a show garden with many elements worth “borrowing.” A triumph of great design and plant knowledge.


Designer: Claudia de Yong Designs,

Contractors: Twigs Landscapes Design, Big Fish Landscapes

Sponsor: Wyevale Garden Centres

Supporters: Parkers Building Supplies,CED Stone, Home and Garden Ironworks, Woody Fox Willow, Hilliers, Rolawn.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my behind-the-scenes tour. If you are going to Gardeners’ World Live, let me know which gardens you  love this year, and which is your favourite feature. There’s plenty to see…. and I haven’t even mentioned the floral marquee. That’s a wonderful place worthy of a blog post all on its own. More to follow!  

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20 thoughts on “Behind the scenes tour at Gardeners’ World Live Show

  1. How lucky are you Karen! Your pictures give a nice glimps of what looks like a fantastic show, thankyou. I’ve been on the lookout for a strong white rose that will look good in a herbaceous border, I shall be putting this on my wish list! I’m not going sadly but feel satisfied to have shared your time there x

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    • Hi there, So glad this has been of some use to you. I can highly recommend the rose as a good do-er. Wonderful to see it shaking off the rain whereas some rose flowers go into a ball and never open. Another one which is really strong and never needs spraying is Pearl Drift. Very healthy and flowers all summer. I’m not turning down any invitations this summer, having spent the whole of last summer in bed recovering from three operations. Still, I was very patient and enjoyed the shows vicariously through friends’ blogs. Being patient paid off, and I’m just about well enough to whizz about enjoying the shows. I’m off to Hampton Court next. Yippee! Have a great weekend. x

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      • My goodness, 3 operations! Yes that takes strength and patience. Glad you are back on your feet and enjoying life! I’m off to the Southport flower show with a girlfriend next month, can’t wait! xx

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  2. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. I’m generally not a fan of many show gardens but this one looks and sounds like my kind of garden, and I especially like the bench.
    Lucky you for getting a good look round it. xx

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    • I felt so lucky Mike, I smiled all day! I’m always so grateful to get a sneak preview. Well, that garden felt like it had always been there, and not just built hastily for the show. That’s very skilled to create that impression. I loved the planting, with the wild flowers amongst the roses and grasses. Makes me feel much better about my own plot which is overrun with couch grass at the moment. I’m now pretending I intended it to grow there 🙂 thanks for reading and getting in touch. Hope you are enjoying the weekend. xx

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    • Forgot to say, that bench -or very similar- was in my favourite garden at Chatsworth, made by the same people,Home and Garden Ironworks. Comfortable too, because I got the chance to sit there. xx

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    • It was really inspiring. Such a lot of effort had gone into making the show gardens, and there were as many plants in the floral marquee as at Chelsea. Much easier to get to than Chelsea too.

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  3. Doing some catching up today so have only just read this post – even though they showed a flavour of it on GW there was little indication of some of the features you have shown, which is a shame as it looks an absolutely wonderful garden and I am not surprised you loved it ps SO good to see you and your Mum yesterday; will write more later ☺

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    • Thank you for reading and for taking the time to get in touch. I must admit, it was a garden that drew me back several times. It was a calm oasis in the midst of a hot, busy showground.

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