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Scotlands Garden Show / Festival

This year's show (2002), was again organised by Gardening Scotland and held at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, Edinburgh.

For those readers who are unaware, the Gardening Scotland Show is a three day event, which provides visitors with the opportunity see the largest collection of plants and exhibits assembled in Scotland. Many of the exhibitors arrive directly from the more famous Chelsea Flower Show, held annuallly in London and the Scottish Show's status is increasing year upon year.

This year's event opened on Friday 31 May, with expectations from the organisers of 50,000 visitors, after promising a bigger and better show than last year.The improvements promised, included a better layout with increased picnicking areas, more marquees and a plant creche. In addition the organisers in conjunction with a few of the sponsors were giving away plants to mark the Queens' golden jubilee.

One of the major improvements in my opinion was that the stands and exhibits were spaced out more (especially in the floral halls) and utilised a greater amount of the space available at Ingliston. There was a common theme running (yes it was water) through many of the show gardens which also seemed to have both improved in quality and numbers this year. The best show garden was also "wrestled" from the hands of the Scottish Rock Garden Club by Teviot Water Gardens.

Although this was one of the few exhibits that the visitor had to queue for (first time ever at this show), the wait was well worth it. The exhibit was planned to emulate the beauty of the River Tweed showing a derelict mill, waterfalls and stainless steel "leaping salmon", along with a rich assortment of trees, shrubs and aquatic plants. I have placed a downloadable mpeg of this along with some larger pictures and photographs on another page if you wish to get a feel of the exhibit.

The standard and range of exhibitors this year was excellent as ever even if the numbers were down slightly, with a variety of plants unrivalled certainly in Scotland. The other aspects of gardening such as tools, crafts and specialist societies were also in evidence with large display areas for each. It would be churlish not to agree that this years show was indeed "bigger and better" as the organisers claimed, but there is still room for improvement.

If I was in a position of influence (I'm not) the main area for consideration would be the venue itself. I am still not convinced that Ingliston is a very good venue for the show. Ingliston as most residents of Scotland will know is an agricultural showground and as such it has a real "Agricultural" feel to it. In addition (here comes the second gripe) the main floral hall where the bulk of the plant exhibitors display is not lit naturally, which makes it difficult to really see the plants as they should be. As an example, I purchased a plant thinking it was light green in colour- it wasn't!. In addition it becomes too overcrowded despite the organisers trying their best to widen the aisles between the displays. Fighting your way through a crowd is not a good idea if you have delicate plants in your bag.

Those two gripes apart the show is certainly worth seeing. Next years event is due to be held between the 30 May and 1 June (2003) and you should make a note of it in your diary. If the organisers can build on this year's success it will be worth seeing.

Garden Scotland's Website

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