Toby’s popular Garden Festival was back for a fourth year last weekend, in the beautiful setting of Powderham Castle near Exeter. We were lucky enough to be invited along on the Saturday and had a really fabulous time.
It was the first time we had visited and the atmosphere was lovely, really vibrant, just like a giant garden party, but the bonus of celebrity speakers, more than 100 plant nurseries, arts and crafts, fabulous local food, live music and entertainment for all. What’s not to like?
Toby’s Garden Festival always takes place on the first spring bank holiday, heralding the start of summer and the new growing season and is widely regarded as the best gardening show in the West Country. Introducing the event Toby was spot on when he said “Once again we have a fresh line-up of exhibitors and interactive displays, designed to inspire and entertain the region’s gardeners.”
The Castle Courtyard, North Lawn and Lower Lawn were filled with nursery exhibitors and delicious West Country fayre, with additional craft and artisan exhibitors in the Great Hall and grand wood-panelled rooms on the ground floor of the Castle.
Such a Welcoming, Inclusive Festival Atmosphere
Gardens come in all sizes and whether you have an acre or a window box, at Powderham, there was something for everyone. It’s absolutely spot on to call the event a garden festival as the atmosphere was relaxed, extremely friendly and with such a diversity of products for sale.
Knowledgable, enthusiastic stall holders, were more than happy to give advice, and had time for everyone, both informing and entertaining the crowds.
A Plant Paradise
Talk about being spoilt for choice, there was such an extensive selection of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers, interesting and unusual plants from our award-winning nurseries many with Gold Medal success at Chelsea Flower Show.
All the nurseries were genuine growers offering the highest quality plants. Just take a look at these lovely azaleas.
Garden Accessories Galore
From parasols to secateurs, the festival had the fun side and the fun side of gardens covered.
I so fell in love with this Indian cotton parasol, such a vibrant colour pop for the garden, I really had to be coaxed away from buying this, as we already have two parasols, but maybe they’re a bit like shoes – too many pairs – never!
It was also such a treat to met up with blog buddies Denys & Fielding, whose range of deck chairs & garden accessories in contemporary prints are yet another feast for the eyes. They also hire out deck chairs too, take a look at this post on my other blog Girl Gets Wed to find out more.
In addition to Toby himself,celebrity speakers included Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood, award-winning Chelsea Flower Show designer Adam Frost and Jim Buttress, best known for BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge.
Gorgeous Garden Themed Crafts & Gifts
It wasn’t just garden accessories that were for sale, the handmade soaps and toiletries on this stand were popular and smelt gorgeous.
And the wool products from local Devon sheep were attracting quite a crowd, as were these two cute little stallholders.
The festival was an excellent place to find artisan products not available on the high street.
A Feast of Food
And finally the food, we could have literally eaten our way around all of the food and drink stalls, as each one had something equally appetising to try, much of it produced here in Devon.
Enjoying The Grounds at Powderham Castle
As we made our way back to the car, having spent a truly enjoyable few hours at the festival, we took a moment to take in the castle in all it’s glory.
And the beautiful, tranquil grounds.
Thanks again to Toby’s Garden Festival for the invite, it’s such an inspired idea to hold a garden festival in such a majestic setting and at this time of year when us gardeners are gearing up for summer.
Same time next year? I hope so, but in the meantime, it will be lovely to see you at Toby’s Garden Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey in Somerset on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September. We have a couple of free tickets to give away for this one, which we’ll tell you more about next month.
This is a review post