Whaley Bridge farm's rewilding project wins gold at RHS Tatton Flower Show
An innovative design from Whaley Bridge farmers at the RHS Tatton Flower Show won gold for displaying weeds in all their natural beauty.
Rachel Evatt from Sunart Fields farm entered the competition, which took place at the weekend at Tatton Park, with horticulturist Sandra Nock and husband Geoff.
The winning design, Weed Thriller, put plants which are normally dismissed by gardeners in the foreground to be judged for all to see and the concept worked.
Rachel said: “I can’t believe we won gold, it was a left field submission so I’m really pleased we won.
"We met the brief of presenting plants and the judges said they were not biased against certain plants, they were looking for a good execution of the display.”
The wining garden had thistles, ragwort, a dry stone wall, a rowan tree and a bird box to showcase homes for insects and birds in nature too.
Rachel and Geoff are letting nature lead the way as they attempt to rewild 120 acres of land at their farm in Whaley Bridge in an effort to improve conservation and biodiversity.
She said: “Being at RHS Tatton Flower Show showcasing plants people normally dismiss as weeds but which are actually really beautiful continued the conversation we have started at the farm.
"Every flower has a place and we need to create habitats for wildlife, bugs, bees and birds and celebrate the wide mix of flowers we have in this country.
"Ragwort has a bad reputation but is a great source of nectar which is important to wildlife.”
A lot of preparation went in to the winning garden with planning starting months ago.
"People think we were just going to shove a load of weeds there but we have cultivated some from seeds and other from clippings,” said Rachel.
"We had to ensure they were flowering ready for judging and there was colour but not too much colour and the judges even noted that the work we did was harder than buying some ready grown plants from a garden centre.”
She added: “All weeds are flowers – we are trying to change people’s perceptions and challenge stereotypes while embracing the beauty of the flowers.”