Sandringham all set for today’s flower show

The Litcham Gardners, from left, Linda Nichols, Lynette Pratt, Karl Edmonds, Ralph Nichols, Graham M

The Litcham Gardners, from left, Linda Nichols, Lynette Pratt, Karl Edmonds, Ralph Nichols, Graham McDonald, Richard Vogt and Cindy Dew. Picture: Matthew Usher.

It might have been a bit wet on and off this week - but the plants are loving it.

That was the message from show gardeners as they put the finishing touches to their stunning exhibits for the Sandringham Flower Show.

More than 20,000 are expected to flock to the much-loved event on the Royal Estate today, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

One of the highlights for many are the show gardens, where amateur gardeners vie with some of the region's top designers and nurseries for the coveted EDP Best in Show trophy.

Last year's winners Paul and Honor Welford, from Shouldham-based Thistlefield Plants and Design, have built two gardens this year.


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The first, called the Square Garden, features a pergola topped with an oak-framed stained glass feature, beds bordered with formal paving and an ingenious fence made of panels filled with wine bottles, plant pots, fir cones and other salvaged materials.

Alongside it Wild and Wooly, built with wildlife in mind, is created on far simpler lines.

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'I wanted to make something simple anyone could do on a budget,' he said. 'If you start with £100 worth of seed and put it in in March, you've got your garden.'

Hilary-Fay Mellor and Warren Challis also set out to attract much-maligned wildlife of the buzzing variety, with their garden for the Bees.

'If you plant the right plants, the bees will come,' she said. 'Even in a tiny garden you can create a beautiful area for yourself which is also giving vital sustenance to bees.'

Dominique Rudd's Garden of Tranquility is planted in memory of her sister Katie, who died of meningitis aged just three and a half 18 years ago.

She said the weather had been a challenge over the last few days, adding: 'The title of the garden's tranquility but I don't fell much like it at the moment. It's been a nightmare, we've got some really, really delicate flowers.'

Designer Matt Hughes, from Norwich, has built an garden to raise awareness of mental health issues, with wire mesh figures showing a sufferer's despair and the joy of successful treatment.

Litcham Gardeners have their most ambitious entry to date, with a garden symbolising the four elements, including an ingenious hot air balloon printed on canvas, designed by member Richard Vogt.

Landscapers Farm and Garden, and Rutland Willow, have built a garden to promote the SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteer) blood bikes, which deliver emergency supplies between hospitals across Norfolk.

Jonny Baker, from Farm and Garden, said: 'It's a very worthwhile charity we'd like to get a bit of recognition for. Without them a lot of people would die.'

Gardens are judged by TV gardeners Chris Beardshaw and Alan Mason. Show-goers can vote for their favourite in the People's Choice tent next to the gardens.

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