Today will be the official start of the Grow London - The Contemporary Garden Fair, a three day gardening event in Hampstead Heath, London but last night they held a preview evening for those wanting to have an extra early look on what will be on the fair. The preview evening was also to raise some extra funds in aid of the Garden Museum also in London.
|Ginkos in a Box...|
And yes, we were there last night and had an early look on this much anticipated brand new plant fair, from the same people that organised the highly successful (and still much missed) Cottesbrooke Plant Fair and Affordable Art Fair.
|Gaz admitted he would quite like one of these old Citroen Vans|
As implied by the title and the location of the event this fair is geared more for urban gardeners and urban settings where space can be tight and a more contemporary style of gardens and approach are called for. Modern....contemporary....the lines are easily blurred between these two words but there were plenty of such outdoor furniture and garden accessories to look at (and more importantly buy) there.
|I recognised these chairs, they were the runners up for the white chairs by the Koi pond - Qui est Paul?|
The atmosphere during the evening event was great. Vibrant music was on, there was reasonable sized crowd, big enough to be alive but not so much so to feel overcrowded, complementary wine and champagne were available, and to simply put it, it was buzzing.
Then there were the plants and the nursery stand. They had a reasonable selection of nursery exhibitors, not as many as we would have hoped for but good enough to distract plants people even for a bit. The plant stands themselves seemed quite small, which was a shame really.
Crug Farm was there and as you can imagine we spent most of our time in the event in their stand, chatting to Sue and Bleddyn, as well as Chelsea designer Sophie Walker who was there helping them out (and they needed it as their stand were so popular, and that was just the preview evening). And of course perusing their stand as they bought with them so many unusual and unique plant goodies with them as usual.
We had a fantastic time and would recommend it to anyone in the area or nearby looking for ideas and items to spruce up their urban spaces. As this is their debut year and teething problems were to be expected I would personally recommend that perhaps for next year onwards:
To have more plants and nursery stands than what they have now. With garden fairs plants are still the top draw, and will always be even if the event is held in the midst of a city.
More outdoor exhibits, features, or plant stands would be nice. Space is a premium even in Hampstead Heath and this may not be possible but outdoor activities would greatly complement the indoor ones even if the latter is the main draw.
Spruce up the indoor marquee a bit more with 'greenery' if possible.
Just to add though that extra touches that they have put in to make it convenient for visitors like the shuttle bus from the underground station and the plant creche with options for home delivery of any time item at a later are a big plus. We drove to the event but a majority of Londoners don't bother with a car and making it easy for them to get there and get their purchases home are clever things to get sorted.
Looking forward to next years already!