Tag Archives: cottesbrooke

Cottesbrooke Plant Finders’ Fair 2011 in pictures

ROOKIE photographer Jed Scoles’ first foray into press snappering. Enjoy

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Gardeners at Cottesbrooke plant finders’ fair

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The fourth Cottesbrooke plant finders fair has launched in sunshine, but may have become a wee bit too big for its wellies.
The show has grown in popularity but with country roads around the estate, the queues to get in were over an hour long at some points and there just weren’t enough loos to cope with so many visitors.
Besides the queues for parking, toilets and sandwiches though, there were fabulous plants for sale. Add the excellent, and this year free, talks by the likes of Dan Pearson, James Alexander Sinclair and Ursula Buchan, and the magnificent Cottesbrooke gardens, and it was pretty good value for money.
There’s a plant creche for your purchases and demonstrations too. Fingers crossed, the weather will stay sunny and the parking issues resolved over the next two days. Take a picnic, a brolley and leave early.

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It’s the 4th Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair this weekend

This is a piece about the forthcoming Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair, courtesy of www.northamptonshiregardens.wordpress.com

Hopefully the weather will stay dry, but take a brolly just in case.

Cottesbrooke Plant Finders’ Fair started four years ago in the grounds of a magnificent stately home in Northamptonshire.

The ethos was to be up-market, presumably to entice the wealthy North London-folks up the M1. Potential exhibitors, paying a lot for a stand on which to sell their wares, were vetted before being allowed into what was being pitched as an exclusive club. Garden gnomes and bedding petunias wouldn’t be entertained in such exclusive company.

However, after a slow start, and despite the economic climate, the up-market  ethos seems to have worked. The number of exhibitors at the Cottesbrooke plant fair for 2011 has more than doubled from year one and currently stands at 70.

The plants are good and if you don’t get to go to the likes of Hampton Court and Gardener’s World Live, this is a great way to buy plants from people who actually know how to grow and care for them, and who are usually happy to give you some advice.

This year’s fair, which is supported by the Telegraph (Daily, not Evening) and Gardens Illustrated, is set to take place from Friday June 24th – Sunday June 26th and is open daily from 10:00am until 5:30pm

For the uninitiated,the Plant Fair brings a lot of nurseries and horticultural sundries all together in one place selling their wares, plus your admission fee gives you a chance to tour the very lovely gardens.

There are also high-profile guest speakers, including Dan Pearson, Helen Yemm, Stephen Lacey, Val Bourne, Derry Watkins, Juliet Roberts and local garden buffs Ursula Buchan and James Alexander Sinclair. Last year they charged extra for access to the talks but the 2011 entry fee includes the talks if you book in when you arrive (subject to availability (of seats, presumably)).

There’s a plant crèche to stash your purchases, a free plant swap for those organised enough to bring a pot of something with them and help available to take purchases back to the car park.

A word of advice: The food queue was horrendous last year so a picnic might be advisable. It’s not too far from the car park to nip back for your lunch.

A mixture of plant nurseries from as far afield as Ireland will attend, including Crûg Farm Plants from North Wales. This year there’s a print-out of who is on which stand, and a story-teller for the kids

Carla Cooper, Cottesbrooke’s Administrator said “This is all good for the local economy and in time may give the county’s tourism a little boost. In fact next year we hope to offer local hoteliers a preferential ticket price so that they can offer a Fair weekend break deal.”

Here’s the price for up-market though: entry to the fair is £8.50 on the gate. Thankfully, this year there is an advance booking line where tickets are £6.50, although annoyingly, there’s an additional £1 ‘booking fee’ PER TICKET. The booking line is 0845 130 7778 and charged at a local rate. Children get in free.

If the weather stays fine, this could be the CPFF’s best year yet.

Visit www.cottesbrookehall.co.uk for more details and a list of exhibitors and speakers.

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Wilting in wedges in Flaming June

Cottesbrooke Plant Finder's Fair 2010

WHAT a brilliant week it’s been for gardeners to get out and get hold of their plots. And hopefully the weather has stayed good for us to enjoy some events that spotlight how great our county is for gardens.

The first pickings are coming thick and fast. I feel like the ‘strawberries and fresh peas from the pod diet’ suits me just fine, with new potatoes, garlic and onions forming the basis for meals for weeks to come.

The blackcurrants are ripening beautifully, and the strawberries are my best yet. More varieties needed for next year though, to prolong the eating!

I got to do some backbreaking weeding this week, and the hoe has been in full service. Sweetcorn, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, courgettes, parsnips, beetroot and carrots are all growing well, a couple of pumpkin plants have gone in, and I replaced some of the missing bean plants.

The beans aren’t doing so well for me this year. Not sure if it’s the weather or the slugs, but even quite large plants have wilted. Still time though, so I’ve planted yet more direct plus a few in pots at home. Beans are usually so easy!

The flower garden is at it’s best, and I’ve cut lots of peonies and roses for vases indoors, something that I usually can’t bring myself to do. But everything is so floriferous this year it makes you want more freezing, snowy winters if this is the result.

Away from home there’s the increasingly popular Cottesbrooke Plant Finder’s Fair on this weekend, with lots of specialist nurseries and top-class speakers including Alys Fowler of Gardener’s World fame, Dan Pearson and James Alexander Sinclair.

Bring any excess plants you might have as there’s a plant swap, and make sure you give yourself time to look around the amazing gardens, which are under the competent stewardship of head gardener Phylip Statner.

The show is attracting visitors from all over the country and this year is organised in association with BBC Gardens Illustrated and the Daily Telegraph. Entry is £7.50 which includes access to the gardens, with under 14s free.

Make sure you bring cash as you won’t be able to resist some of the plants. There’s a plant crèche to help stash your purchases and a Punch and Judy show will be performing too. If the weather holds, the third year of this event looks set to be the best yet. It’s open 10am-5.30pm today (SAT) and tomorrow. Might see you there. . .

UPDATE: Went on Friday, wilted in heat, stupidly ignored own advice and wore high wedge heels and could barely stagger across poo-ey field clutching large rose bush. Queue to get in took 25 minutes, queue for food was shockingly long, £5 ‘surprise’ fee for speakers James A-S, Alys and Dan was cheeky when it had already cost £7.50 to get in.  However, plants were lovely, weather fab, advice from growers invaluable.  Roll on CPFF2011.

Food queue

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