Parham Garden Weekend's 25th Anniversary

One of my very favourite events of the year is my visit to Parham House and Gardens.  This year was extra special as they were celebrating 25 years of the Garden Weekend, which is no small achievement.
I almost do not know where to start describing the day as it was just such a pleasure from start to finish.  The sun was baking down and for those of us with long memories, it was also the Saturday of the England quarter final match in the World Cup.  I decided that firstly I would do a walk up and down the lines of stalls to get an idea of what was on offer.  This is my usual modus operandii at a plant fair, I need to get the lay of the land and start to prioritise which stands I will return to.  The stalls that Parham host at their weekend are always good quality, there are excellent nurseries and garden related items to buy, so deciding where to focus is no easy task.
I do love a good ephemera stand, this one caught my eye rather quickly.
I was also drawn to this curly sculptures. They have such a good form.
There were lots of people enjoying the day and certain things have to be done.  You have to peruse the stands, you have to buy ice cream and you also have to go and listen to at least one of the programme of talks in the marquee. This year there was a stunning line-up of speakers to listen to.
This is Derry Watkins in mid talk, everyone was paying rapt attention as she talked through her selection of plants and gave invaluable advice.  Anyone who has heard Derry talk will know she has a frank style that is very refreshing.  Other speakers at the weekend included Tom Hart Dyke and Tom Stuart Smith, Fergus Garrett, Ambra Edwards, Marina Christopher and the list goes on.  It was an impressive line up.  I was sorry that I missed the 'Secrets of Head Gardeners' talk from Tom Brown, Fergus Garrett, Sarah Wain and Troy Scott Smith, I can only imagine how fascinating this must have been.  This is so much more than just a plant fair, it is designed to be a full day out.

I was lucky and delighted to be invited to the 25th anniversary celebratory lunch.
This is Lady Emma and Tom Brown, the Head Gardener, with the 25th Anniversary cake.
a cake that is worthy of a close up and it tasted as good as it looked.

One of the things I like most about Parham is that everyone is so friendly there.  It has the most welcoming atmosphere and everyone seemed happy and smiling on this day.

Following lunch I decided I would do my buying and take it to the car.  I then wandered back to visit the gardens.
Despite the hot weather and lack of rain we have been experiencing this year, the gardens looked superb.
The plant trials this year are annual climbers.  I love that every year they trial something new.  Not only does it mean that they are not letting the garden rest on its laurels and they are constantly moving it forward; it also means that they are helping us as gardeners in our own gardens make choices and compare plants in realistic growing situations.
This border is relatively newly planted, you cannot really tell and it is already looking good.
I love getting inspiration from visiting gardens.  Whilst the long borders at Parham and massive compared to my garden, I look at this planting combination and think 'I could do that in my garden'.  A border could be many yards long, but as  I look at it I can see it in 3/4 foot sections that translate to what I do in my garden.
The glasshouse is always worth a visit.
I had a moment of fuchsia envy.

Hang on, I hear you say, you mentioned buying and did not say what!

ok, this is what I bought:
A rather nice bottle of dry white wine from Stopham Estate.  It was a white wine sort of day and I was going to stay with my southerly relatives so taking a bottle of wine with me was the polite thing to do.  Yes I might have also bought another gnome, he is rather lovely and demanded to come home with me.
The plant is Heuchera 'Autumn Bride'.  It has huge leaves and whilst I am not keen on some heucheras, this one just had to be bought.  When I get some rain and can actually dig in the garden, it will get planted up.
I bought a Parham lion as well, he was cute and waved at me from the top shelf in the shop.  It would have been rude not to buy him.

As ever I had the most wonderful time and I really must sincerely thank Lady Emma, Tom and all the team for being so welcoming and for inviting me to the Garden Weekend.