We’re all going on a summer holiday

I have just returned from my summer holiday. This is not a holiday as you may all think of it as I am lucky enough and honoured to be one of 20 RHS Britain in Bloom judges. As a judge I tour the length and breadth of the United Kingdom looking at some of the 78 entries that have been nominated by their regions to represent them for the RHS national finals.

When judging we are always in pairs and get given up to two categories. This year my fellow judge for the two weeks on the road was the lovely Darren Share of Birmingham City Council. We judged 10 entries from the Large Towns and Urban Communities categories. Joining Darren and I this year was Dee James from South West in Bloom, a trainee judge. Although a trainee still she taught me a thing or two!

The three of us set off and were delighted with the fantastic horticulture displays, innovative ideas and warm welcomes we received.  We met so many passionate and committed volunteers, which made for a humbling experience. It reminded me of our dedicated team of volunteers here at Chiswick. So I land back full of ideas, inspiration and can’t wait to start implementing them on the Estate!

Back on the estate our gardeners Chris and Dee have been very busy.  We were joined by the Royal Parks Apprentices and gardeners from Bushy and Richmond Park to take cuttings from our Heritage Collection of Camellias in the conservatory. Some of these are possibly 200 years old. As well as entertaining guests they have been tackling the weeds and, with the help of Jacqui and Jake our Rangers, keeping the estate looking beautiful for the summer weddings we host in the House & Gardens. Jaimie from Gavin Jones and her team have been busy with the endless summer hedge cutting of our yews to maintain Lord Burlington’s vision and his 18th century landscape.

The Italian Garden is the place to visit at the moment along with the Kitchen Garden. Shelter from the rain by visiting the House (I normally take my boots off!) Get yourself a guide book and an audio guide to fully absorb yourself with Burlington and Kent delights. And don’t forget to see our new range in the shop, some lovely gardening treats and something for the dogs too!

The next time you’ll hear from me will be with the results of the London in Bloom judging…so keep your fingers crossed and watch this space!


Have fun, take care, respect the gardens.