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Plants please be ready!

Date posted: Monday 14th June 2021

Plants please be ready!

Practice build

Preparations are already underway at Home Park for this years show, and the RPA team are very busy willing our plants to grow and be at their best for the show.

Expert growing team

We have a variety of plants for each of our sections which represents different facets of the allotment.
Our traditional section includes carrots, onions, chard, beetroot, radishes, lettuce and beans. These will be placed in rows to represent a way of growing that is still used today on many of our plots. In contrast our natural section has a solar powered water feature, this is comprised of an allotment pump and old bath. The mixed planting includes fennel, orache, strawberries, tree spinach, chervil, land cress and more. The cafe section includes purple sage, sunflowers, chives, calendula, lemon balm and other flowers and herbs to provide a sensory experience. The events section includes tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, squash, mint, cosmos and allotment jams, chutneys and even some saved pumpkins and Chilacayote from last year.
Chilacayote

We are planning to practice our build this weekend (although it’s forecast rain) and to identify any issues before transferring all of the plants and props over to the showground. The build starts on the 1st July, we have 4 days to replicate our design on site, and to make sure everything looks perfect.
The first day is the press day, ending in the fireworks evening. The second and third show days are RHS members only, and the remaining 6 days are for all visitors.

Finally we have until the 13th to remove all of our plants and items from the plot.
We have learnt a lot about preparing for a show, and are extremely grateful for the wealth of advice and support from across the site. This include people donating their plants, from digging up seedlings, lending benches and crates, sourcing steel toe cap boots, allowing us to use their plot to keep our plants, scrubbing rust from the bath, creating bespoke structures, and even helping us put up a gazebo to shade the plants!

The plot which is 3×6m will have a depth of 20cm of soil, this will be provided by the show. We must then place all of our props and potted plants (still in the pots) and make them look natural as if they were growing in the ground!
Some of the challenges have included staying within our limited budget, which has meant growing all the plants from seed, or digging up fruit bushes and herbs. Given that this season has been incredibly variable weather wise it has been a challenge to grow reliably and then also prevent pest damage. Another aspect has been trying to distill the essence of the allotment into a very small space, the allotment means a lot to all, however the key features vary between different plotholders. The mixtures of styles, gardening techniques, and ideas is testament to the diversity of experience and knowledge at the RPA, but did mean we has to work hard to ensure the design was truly representative of our amazing allotment!

Any questions or comments please get in touch rpaathamptoncourt@gmail.com