Gardens are set to thrill crowds at Sandringham Flower Show
- Credit: Archant
As show gardeners sweated over the finishing touches to their creations, none could remember a hotter, drier run-up to the big day.
Just keeping plants alive has been enough of a struggle – let alone producing a colourful display that will tick the right boxes with the judges.
But all were agreed that all the effort has paid off despite the challenging conditions and this year's array of large and small gardens will provide visitors with a feast of inspiration.
Thornham-based designer Jane Scott Moncrieff's garden takes you from the sandy slopes of Sandringham to the snow-capped Himalayas, with a tea house nestled amid plants from Nepal, China and India. Draped with himalayan prayer flags, the garden has been built to promote the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
'It's been very much a family affair,' she said. 'We've had my mother, my daughter, my husband, friends – all have come and done their bit. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, I just wish it was 10 degrees cooler.'
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You could say show regulars Ralph and Linda Nicholls garden from the heart, so their display is aptly-named.
'All our plants are grown on our allotment, so from May it's been a real challenge,' said Mr Nicholls, who has been raising and nurturing plants for the show on their plot at Litcham since August.
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Sweet peas planted on the show garden just days ago have already gone from flower to seed.
Andy and Suse Crook, of local business ABC, designed a garden on behalf of King's Lynn Samaritans, who are celebrating the group's 50th anniversary. The garden represents the journey from a dark place to sunnier times.
'The ground's been very hard and the heat's been very tiring to work in,' said Mrs Crook, who also raised her own plans for her display. 'Leading up to it, it's required a lot of time spent watering them.'
Broadacre Gardens' leafy Retreat follows an overgrown path to a hidden sanctuary tucked away amid the greenery.
Elaine Davies from Broadacre said: 'It's all about health and well-being, all have to have somewhere to go, we all need a bolt-hole, we all need something other than work.'
Hilary-Fay Mellor's Coming Home celebrates everyone's need for a place to call their own, with lush herbs contrasting with more fiery plantings.
'It's just that feeling of relief I'm home,' she said.
The Prince's Trust and Grow Organisation have joined forces to create the Grow and Trust Garden, enlisting people of different backgrounds and generations with the focus on teamwork and learning new skills.
Lizzy Neale, the trust's Get Started programme executive, said the garden was giving young people not in education or employment or training the opportunity to learn new skills.
'This brings young people together to work on their confidence, to work as a team,' she said.
Louise Keeley and Loraine Baker's first show garden supports the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – and its campaign to raise awareness. As the sun beat down, they have been building a garden which evokes the stillness of winter after a fall of snow.
'I've already had comments to say it's a really peaceful garden,' said Mrs Baker, whose husband John will be out first thing on the morning of the show added the final touch in the form of a dusting of artificial snow.
The show gardens are judged by TV gardeners Chris Beardshaw and Alan Mason, with the best winning the EDP Best in Show trophy.
In recent years the People's Choice, decided by show-goers, has proven popular. You can vote for your favourite in the marquee between the gardens. Eagerly-awaited results of both are announced in the Horticultural Talks Marquee at 2.45pm.