greentapestry : "We Love Aphids!"

Thursday, 25 August 2011

"We Love Aphids!"

I went to the seaside last week but never saw the sea - instead I went to Southport to the annual Southport Flower Show. I was in the company of a good friend, the forecasted heavy rain never materialised and there was much to see so all in all a perfect recipe for a grand day out. Whilst Southport is primarily a flower show there plenty of other non - horticultural attractions and displays. This year though as I was in the company of a  keen gardener I did not get to see any of them but I am not complaining.  Instead we spent the day permabulating at a gentle and leisurely pace, spending the morning in the busy but uncrowded floral marquee, halting only to sit down at noon to listen to a most thought provoking talk by Matthew Wilson, who managed to persuade his audience that they loved aphids! We even stood up at one point to chant "We love aphids!" in unison. Matthew's logic being that if there were no aphids that there would be no goodies such as ladybirds etc, etc. Then onwards again, making a few purchases as we went along before a late but well deserved lunch. Onto the show gardens before rounding up the day with a reccie of the marquee which housed the plant, garden and horticultural societies in addition to the splendid entries from amateur growers.

Above you can see part of the stand from Bluebell Cottage Gardens . The display was awarded a silver medail. Sue Beesley has described her show experience here on her blog, but I think she is being rather modest about her achievement. Not only did she put some most attractive planting together but I thought that she interpreted the show's theme of vintage most thoughtfully. Sue's stand along with the display from the Hardy Plant Society were amongst my highlights of the show.

Below glimpses of the Hardy Plant Society stand which won a gold medal and best in show ~

and finally some of the contents of the most perfect basket of vegetables you could possibly imagine ~

Now why don't mine look like that ?

P.S. For those of you who do not know Southport actually seeing the sea there seems to be a rare occurence - the tide is usually out so vast expanses of beach instead.

Stop Press - I have just noticed that 'Gardeners Question Time' was recorded last Friday at the show. The programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 26th August at 3.00 pm and then again on Sunday 28th August at 2.00pm. Well worth a listen to.


  1. I've heard Matthew's we love aphids talk, people do seem to say it but shuffle their feet a lot at the same time which implies they dont really!!

    I like Sue's display, actually prefer it to the Hardy Plant one which looks a little gaudy,

    Glad you had a good time

  2. I always imagine show vegetables being taken to a spa and given a thorough going over before taking their place on the stand. Or even plastic surgery :-)
    BTW Burghley sculptures are a mix of permanent and temporary. Not well laid out though - you could easily miss those hidden amongst the shrubs and away from paths.

  3. Thank you Anna - glad you liked it! Helen - it is something of a gaudy show, and none the worse for that.

    A have a little secret to share. Matthew's talk attendance was 118. Mine was 160 :-)

  4. The gardens are gorgeous! Matthew's talk must have been inspiratiopnal. I do recognize that we are all interconnected and that there is a place and purpose for everything, but I don't think the place for aphids is in my garden!

  5. A balance of "good" and "bad" bugs is always good! We love aphids! (I love speakers who get you to chant funny things, lol.) Also love that all the plants are labeled! So often not the case here. Love the colors on the last photo.
    P.S. "A Grand Day Out" remains my favorite Wallace & Gromit, despite everything that came thereafter. :)

  6. Beautiful displays, Anna. I'm not so sure about the "We love aphids" part but I'll think about it. :)

  7. I certainly have lots of ladybirds this year, so I guess I had plenty of aphids for them to feed on.

    Regarding your comment on my blog - Feast Sunday is an annual event in Cottenham on a Sunday in October. I think it started in the late 1800s and still happens today. There used to be a parade of floats from the church to the green which we used to watch go past my Grandads house, then follow on foot to the green where there were stalls and the salvation army band playing. I think maybe Willingham also has a feast Sunday. What village did you come from?

  8. It sounds like you had a wonderful day out, it always helps being in the company of like minded friends. I've never been to Southport, but know that some of my hubby's ancestors came from that area and I keep saying that we'll take a trip, perhaps we could combine that trip with a trip to the flower show.

  9. Now that is a good day out. I reserve my opinion on the aphid side of things, but Sue's stand looks good. But oh, my goodness, that veg...

  10. I'll give GQT a listen over the net.

    I haven't listened to the show since spring.

  11. Anna, I had quite a chuckle at the image of you all chanting "We love aphids." When I read Doug Tallamy's book *Bringing Nature Home* this year, he persuaded me to rethink my relationship to aphids and I have sworn off just automatically getting out the hose to obliterate them. It sounds as though you had a wonderful day. -Jean

  12. Hi Anna, the photo's are lovely especially the veggie one. I have grown Globe Artichokes this year some from seed and some plants from Victoriana Nurseries. They have been amazing and all have 2-3 globes already, but We were at RHS Wisley gardens today and I took a look at theirs in the allotment garden and the advice said not to harvest the first year, so I'm glad I left most of them on the plants.

    What variety of strawberries are you growing from runners ??


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- Anna.