Pop world meets gardeners

Celebrity gardener and 80s pop icon Kim Wilde brought even more glamour to the 11th Holker Garden Festival at the weekend, reports Beth Broomby.

Sporting pink-tinted shades and painted nails she took up the challenge to create a bespoke garden in the centre of the festival grounds using a purse full of notes presented by Lord Cavendish. Ms Wilde, whose family joined her at the event, told the Gazette: “It is such a lovely place we were happy to come. My husband loves this festival. So far people have been very generous lending or donating items for the garden, so hopefully when the garden is finished the £500 could be donated to a children’s charity.”

TV chef Clarissa Dickson Wright also made a three-day guest appearance at the record breaking annual show, which attracted 8,500 people on the first day alone to the grounds of the Holker Estate.

Strains of live jazz drifted over the crowds as Ms Dickson Wright tucked into her favourite local delicacies – Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimp – in the food tent and waxed lyrical about the delights of Cumberland sausage, salt marsh lamb and local seafood.

She said: “I think it is such a wonderful event. You get all the stuff you get at Chelsea and it has a marvellous feel about it. When they asked if I would come back I was delighted.”

Although her father was a prize winning gardener she confessed she didn’t have as much time to spend pruning and weeding herself but added: “I am going to spend my time here trying lots of good food and buying plants to take home with me. The BBC schedule starts up again soon so gather ye rosebuds while ye may’.”

Straw hat-clad visitors strolled in the sunshine taking in attractions including the horticultural marquee, the festival show gardens, trade stands and displays including floral art, rare plants and herbs. Jugglers and balloon artists entertained the children while older generations explored displays from alpine poppies and aromatic herbs to lilies and lavender and stocked up on plants to take a cutting of Holker Garden Festival magic home.

Among the competition winners were a number of local entries including Cath’s Garden Plants of Nether Kellet, Carnforth which scooped a Large Gold Horticultural Marquee award and John Dodd of Hillfoot Garden Centre, Ulverston, who took a Large Gold Festival Garden Award for The Lakeland Garden’ put together with the help of his son Russell.

Celebrating his second win in a row Mr Dodd said: “We wanted to do a modern garden for traditional tastes with the focus on colour, texture, scent and creating all-year-round interest.”

The garden was split into sections including a pond area, a blue and purple area reflecting this year’s hot colours at Chelsea Flower Festival, as well as aromatic plants.

Lord Cavendish said: “We are really grateful to everyone who made it to this show. It is such an important part of the local economy and we want people to enjoy it.”