Plant fair with flair

I spent last Friday at Cottesbrooke Plant Finders fair. The fair has a great reputation for attracting unusual plant nurseries and is said to be the Uk’s rival to Courson, the very famous French fair. Friday has hot but cloudy so suited me perfectly allowing for lots of plant hunting and hardly a spot of sun burn. Even the visiting children who has obviously been dragged along by a plant mad parent seemed to be having  fun with their picnic and ipad on the lawn!

The gardener's of the future

It was lovely to see exhibitors who I’d met at Cottesbrooke in past years and to see that they are still going strong despite the economic climate. And it is lovely to see that after years of attending gardening events where I am the youngest there, the exhibitors are now younger than me which suggests that people are coming back into horticulture and arts and crafts businesses and seeing it as a career choice. I think it also holds true that if you have a product that is well designed and unique then people are prepared to pay for it. This is certainly true within my design practice where people are more willing to have a single unique piece than a whole room filled with disposable furniture from one of the large retailers operating out of a shed!

A sea of parasols at Cottesbrook Plant Finder's Fair

There seemed to be a unique mix of hand made crafts and furniture, from benches and tables to bespoke replica Victorian greenhouses. Amongst my favourites were: Ed Brookes a traditional gate and furniture maker who was offering demonstrations to inspire everyone with even a small opening to enclose: his gates have a magical appeal.

Ed Brookes gates add a traditional twist to a garden design

Norfolk basket weaver Peter Dibble was also there showing off his skills with a vast array of interesting and unusual basket shapes.

The rusty iron plant support look was also in vogue and I have to admit to succumbing to some wire cloches (from Plant Belles) which I can extend to any length and cover with fleece or plastic depending on what I want to grow within them.

Cottebrooke Hall is a perfect setting for the fair

I also fell in love with an old Victorian glass cloche from Garden & Wood but as my garden is still in the design and build stage it never made it home with me, instead I opted for a plant label for my office: HT Perfecta – there’s something to aspire to!

I love vintage pieces so couldn't resist this plant label

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