Sunday, 8 June 2014

A weekend at Gardening Scotland

Last weekend  I was at the Gardening Scotland show, on the stand of Binny Plants. I have worked there for the past 12 years and we always have a big stand, striving to do something different and innovative. Its a long hard weekend on our feet for 8 hours, talking to customers but great advertising, networking and sales. I always enjoy catching up friends old and new and buying a few new plants for my own garden.

Preparation for a show stand begins months in advance, with plants being grown on, fed and encouraged to flower sooner or slowed down. We always grow on a big selection of plants so that in the build up week we can go round the nursery and select the very best.

Paeonias on display 2011

Building the stand and arranging Paeonias, 2011

The stand always has a theme and occasionally in the past four years we have done two stands, one themed and the other entirely cut flower paeonias, our specialist plant. When we first brought a separate paeonia stand to Gardening Scotland it was greeted with much admiration and awe. Seeing bowls of these huge colourful exuberant flowers, towering over everything else was quite a sight and of course helped sales of the plants too.

Award winning Paeonias, 2011

In 2012 we went to Chelsea for the first time to exhibit, with Paeonias of course. The stand comprised a replica of a Tokanoma and a collection of cut flower paeonias, as seen in the picture. A Tokanoma is a kind of shrine in Japanese homes where people's prize possessions are on show, usually in a triangular formation as you can see in the picture. We then brought this stand to Gardening Scotland the following week. 

A tokanoma on our 2012 stand at Chelsea and gardening Scotland, 2012

2013 Paeonia stand, 2012

As I said at the beginning of the post we also do a themed 'Garden Stand'. Our most successful stand was in 2012 when we won premier gold and best in show. This stand "A Riverside Retreat" was a hut in amongst lush plantings over a stream, with hammock, table with wine and a book, cushions, chimes and lanterns. It really was a stunning stand.

Placing plants on the "Riverside Retreat" stand

The finished stand, "A Riverside Retreat", 2012

In 2013 we had one of the biggest stands in the hall, divided into three sections: Paeonia display at the top then a shady side and a sunny side with a wide path between the two. This year the paeonias were displayed in simple black bowls, letting the flowers do the talking, interspersed with pebbles and rocks. They stole the show again.

Paeonia stand, 2013
Billy, owner of Binny Plants and the Paeonia man at gardening Scotland, 2013

The sunny side stand, 2013

This year saw us create a New Zealand garden, complete with shack, dry river bed and a stunning display of Celmisias in flower. We decided not to do a Paeonia stand and concentrate our efforts on one stand. Unfortunately the judges didn't get the dry river bed thing and the sparsity of the planting (based on real dry river bed plantings) and we were awarded a silver gilt. Still the public loved the garden as always. Many visitors to the show come to see us first and see what we have created.

The dry river bed, New Zealand Garden, 2014

The shack, 2014

Billy, doing some finishing touches, 2014

Its a tiring couple of weeks, with Gardening Scotland straight on the back of Chelsea, not only preparing the plants for the show but keeping on top of the normal nursery jobs and seeing to customers. But seeing people enjoy the stand and sharing their enthusiasm and interest certainly helps make up for the hard work and stress.

If you have a love of Paeonias or of any unusual plants then come along to the nursery and visit us. You can have a wander around the gardens and the nursery, make yourself a cup of coffee and get expert advice from our knowledgeable and friendly staff. The Paeonias are in flower now and look fabulous.

We are open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm. 

Binny Plants,
Near Uphall
West Lothian

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