Last Saturday, David and I went along to the Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace. I must admit I'm not usually one for visiting shows, but I'm making lots of changes to my own garden this year and so I thought I could pick up some tips and ideas. I also guessed that it wouldn't be a very large show and we could see it all in a morning - which was perfect because it was such a beautifully warm, sunny day. A day to be outside in the garden, in fact!
Alexandra Palace is worth a visit alone. I hadn't been there for well over twenty years, and enjoyed seeing all the architectural detail again. Originally built in 1873, it has been damaged by fires since and so it has been restored, destroyed and restored again...
We arrived soon after the show opened, so it wasn't very crowded. I headed straight away for the stands selling wildflower seeds and it was interesting to see on one stand the different wildflower seeds sold for different soil types (I have heavy clay here). I bought some seeds to suit my soil that are also bee and butterfly friendly and I'll sow these in small patches around the smallholding (now I'm no longer going to create my mini-meadow). I also bought some wildflower seeds to plant with my veg that will attract beneficial insects and keep aphids away (hopefully).
Of course I had to visit all the bee-keeping and bee-product stands, too..
|Traditional Skep Making|
I was intrigued by the different types of honey on sale, because I'd like to flavour my honey in the future. I might add some vanilla or ginger or various spices, for example. So I was on the look-out to see what other people are producing and get some ideas. I haven't had a good honey crop for the last couple of years so I'm hoping for one this year - and then I can have a go at some of the different tastes. I think it would be really fun to do.
In certain areas of the show, there were presentations by TV/radio gardeners and professionals, but I didn't listen to any of these. None of the subjects they were discussing really drew me in and, to be honest, after a while it started to get a bit stuffy in the main hall. It was better to keep moving around. So we wandered over to look at some of the gardening equipment and features. We love working with wood and there were some wood products on display, but it wasn't really a show for wood craftspeople. I was fascinated, though, by some of the many ideas for growing food and flowers in small areas like balconies and courtyard gardens and tiny, urban spaces.
After this, I managed to resist temptation...
...so I didn't leave with any plants. But I couldn't walk by the chickens and ducks without having a good look. Should I add another couple of hens to my girls? Probably not - I have enough for now and they're happy together in their little group. It was interesting, though, seeing the different types for when I do decide to buy some more. And of course the chicks and ducklings were all adorable (see first photo).
So; that was the morning done. I bought some honey-flavoured fudge from one of the food stands and then we left. Although I enjoyed the visit, I'm not thinking of going again. But then, perhaps I do miss something by not going to the different garden shows. If you have any experiences of them, I'd love to hear. Are any of them unmissable?