Destinations Magazine

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

By Alternativeeden @markngaz
Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012That time of the year has arrived once again for the wonderful Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair which is one of the biggest plant fairs in the country, and up there as one of the best. I was really looking forward to this and was rather quietly excited about going again this year, so much so that the predicted adverse weather conditions on the days of the event were not enough to dampen my spirits about this fair.
Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012
For our readers outside the country, most of you are aware by now that we are not having the best of weather recently, and the weather on the day we went (Friday) was no exception. In fact it was typical of what we've been having recently. Bearing this in mind we came prepared for the worst, so out were the aspirations of light cotton clothing for promenading at the fair and in were plastic macs and wellington boots!

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Fabulous weather....not!

And boy was I glad we wore wellington boots! Mud, glorious mud...it was everywhere! It's not entirely surprising though that this was the case, considering all the rain we've been having and the plant stalls are on the open, grassy grounds. And with the high traffic this fair generates, it was inevitable that mud, lots of it, would turn up.

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Seemingly the only patch of green left is the one under the sign!

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Mud, mud....

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

and more mud!

Nevermind, it was all part of the fun and charm of this year's event. Of course I would have preferred if it was sunny and warm, much like last year. If that was the case it would have been a perfect place to have a picnic too, in between plant shopping (which was exactly what we did last year). But to be honest this fair is so good that no rain or mud would be enough to deter any plant lover from attending and browsing at all the nursery stands. 
You can expect a fine selection of nurseries participating at the fair, here's just a few of them...

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Mallett Court Nursery

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

D'Arcy and Everest

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

There's me browsing away...

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Swines Meadow Farm Nursery

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Crug Farm Nursery

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Coton Manor Garden

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Oska Copperfield

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Cotswold Garden Flowers

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Slacktop Nursery

A little tip though to some of the nurseries participating: if you didn't have one (fortunately most of them did) I think it's almost essential to have a card machine especially in this day and age, despite the additional charges having one incurs. Very few people carry wads of cash with them nowadays, and based on the feedback I heard from other fair attendees, those without the machines are likely to have missed out on big purchases. I agree...
Anyway, the highlight of the event are the beautiful plants of course, and loads of it! I could have spent ages taking lots of plant photos but the constant drizzle made it inconvenient to do so. Not just having rain drops on the lens but also potentially damaging my trusty old snappy snap sort of camera (which is due replacing really, maybe in the winter...) which is the last I'd want to happen. But of course I still managed to take a relative few, here's some of them:

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Sempervivums galore! (D'Arcy and Everest)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Not very 'exotic' I know but on a dull day a shot of pink from these Primulas are a welcome sight! (D'Arcy and Everest)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Almost variegated, just about!

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Now you're talking!

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Alpines galore, gorgeous little beauties! (Slacktop Nursery)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

and more! (Slacktop Nursery)

But before I proceed with more plants, here's a little break with some notable accessories at the fair...

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Birds... (Olive Grove Nursery)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

more birds (and pigs!).

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Bespoke, hand made wooden furniture

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Metal furniture

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

and Willow...

And now back to plants...

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Bright Heucheras (Swines Meadow)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Even brighter Sambucus racemosa 'Plumosa Aurea'

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Oreopanax floribundus (Crug Farm)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Lush and succulent selection (Cotswold Garden Flowers)

Just as an extra note, I was pleasantly surprised at the selection of succulents CGF has bought with them at the fair. They bought in loads of unusual Puyas, Dyckias, and Hechtias, some of which are still unidentified and are just collection numbers. Even more surprised at the amount of people that were actually buying them, thinking that these plants would only appeal to an even more limited market (the photo above is just a fraction of what was originally there earlier in the day). Not for me personally but for those who are heavily into these sort of plants this would have been a treat.

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

A little tray of xerophytes (Cotswold Garden Flowers)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Impatiens omeiana with much longer leaves than I'm used to seeing (Crug Farm)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Sumptuous! Sphenomeris chinensis (Crug Farm)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Very blue! Eryngium x zabelii 'Jos Eijking'

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Begonia sikkimensis (Crug Farm)

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Pinellia cordata (Edulis Nursery)

We left the fair by mid afternoon and decided to stop over to a nearby pub for a few drinks just to wind down after hours of treading on mud. Our plant fair haul is a lot more modest than what the photo below looks like, as we were also given several Ricinus by a friend who met us there at the fair...
Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

But look at this big beauty we got from Crug Farm, with my hands underneath the leaves for scale...

Cottesbrooke Gardeners' Fair 2012

Rodgersia sambucifolia

Once we arrived home we unloaded the car of the plants and gave everything else a quick mud inspection, which seems to get everywhere despite being careful. Once we have settled back home I thought wow, what a fantastic day! It was a blast and I can't wait for next year already, rain, mud, or shine!
Mark :-)

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