That was the fest that was! And what a festival it was, a brilliant, sunny two days of flowers, talks and festive fun sandwiched between two biblical downpours before and after the event.
More than 6000 flower-seekers poured through the gates of Powderham over Friday and Saturday, greeted by host Toby Buckland and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift for the Grand Opening on Friday, who welcomed visitors and posed for selfies while our house band, Sunnyside Up, serenaded everyone in.
Inside the stunning deer park setting of Powderham Castle more than 160 exhibitors offering plants, garden gear, local art, craft and artisan food and drink were waiting, as well as the brand-new Wine Tasting in the Castle, provided by Wickhams Wine (above) and the wonderful VIP Experience in the Music Room and Library, sponsored by Hawkmsoor Investment Management.
Speakers came from far and wide to entertain in our three Speaker Marquees, including the new Food Drink Devon Marquee in the courtyard where hosts Susy Atkins and Mark Diacono (above right with Toby making a delicious botanical cocktail) took it in turns to compere the talks and demos of wine and food.
Jim Buttress played host in the Main Speaker Marquee, beautifully decorated with trees from New Wood Trees. Here speakers including Joe Swift, time-lapse cameraman Tim Shepherd, garden designer Jacquie Felix-Mitchell (above, who had the audience singing at one point!) and authors Adam Alexander, Sally Morgan and Ben Raskin shared their knowledge of seed heritage, wood chip, garden design and more.
Over in the Country Gardener Marquee, we had demos and talks on everything from chicken-keeping, bee-keeping and wildflower meadows to floristry from Sarah Broom (above), tree pruning and a guide to growing camassia from National Collection Holder, Stella Exley.
Outside, stone balancer Adrian Gray wowed the crowds with his incredible feats of balancing stones on each other in ways that left visitors guessing as to how.
Our huge thanks goes to Powderham Castle for playing host to our 9th festival here, all our wonderful exhibitors, Mama Pik’s musicians for keeping us entertained, the Miniature Steam Train and the static engines by there lake, Liznojan for providing the popular book-signing, and the heritage wood workers for keeping ancient wood crafts alive (and for amusing us with their frilly bloomers).
Finally, thanks to all our fabulous sponsors: Wickhams, Grazers, Hawksmoor Investment Management, Devon Contract Waste, New Wood Trees, and Thompson & Morgan.
See you next year for our 10th, yes 10th Toby’s Garden Festival!