Matthew Biggs, of Gardeners' Question Time fame, came to a speak at our Garden Club last night. He was brilliant: funny, entertaining and informative all at once. His topic was 'Back Gardens of Britain' but he was really talking about the totally eccentric gardeners he has met while working on TV programmes. Wonderful people. People with gardens full of their love and character.
He began with Will Giles who has created The Exotic Garden in Norfolk.
Giles grows all kinds of exotic plants in an ordinary UK plot and has created a tropical paradise. Apparently his long term partner got so fed up of the attention and time lavished on the plants she gave him the ultimatum "them or me!" He now lives alone.
We were all admiring the slides when Matthew suddenly exclaimed "Oh dear, is there a doctor in the house?" and we realised an elderly gentleman had collapsed near the front. Luckily there was a doctor on hand; the ambulance was called for and the talk was put on hold. This gave me the chance to talk to the woman sitting next to me. I knew her by sight from our Garden Club meetings but this was a chance to introduce ourselves - a lovely new acquaintance was made before the poor man was driven away (he is fully recovered today).
Matthew continued to enchant us with his slides of beautiful/unusual back gardens and encouraged us (quite rightly) to support small nurseries wherever possible; to be adventurous and not to be ashamed of our weeds.
I'd had a good evening by the end - topped off by winning the first prize in the draw - a £100 gift box from a local garden centre full of those nice things you pick up and look at but put back when you look at the price! Hand sown egg cosies in the shape of bunnies; beautiful little notebooks; lavender eau de toilette, scented candles, hand creams and a bag ... AND a £10 voucher for the Sarah Raven catalogue! Well worth the two pounds I spent on the tickets.