Young horticulturalists, Tom (31) and Abi (29) Atwood, have won a third large gold medal in as many years at the Cavendish family’s 21st Holker Hall Garden Festival last week. They also won ‘best in show’ in their category.
Following one of the coldest and longest winters on records their 15ft by 15ft round display garden in the horticultural marquee made use of flowers and plants which are usually over by this time of the year. Violas, Euphorbia, Aquilegia and Trollius were this years stars.
"The usual early summer colour from plants like Foxgloves and Lychnis haven’t been available to us but it’s given foliage plants a chance to shine. Plants like Rodgersia and Ligularia have done us proud. The only way we could persuade the verbascums to flower was by sitting them on a heat mat for three weeks which is undoubtedly going to leave us with an eye watering electric bill at the end of the month.”
Abi Attwood who, with husband Tom, transformed a disused nursery at Halecat near Witherslack into Abi and Tom’s Garden Plants, said the show is the highlight of their year. “Not only is this our Chelsea Flower Show it is also the best opportunity we have to meet like minded gardening people. We are thrilled with this win.”
The couple is also celebrating their plant nursery’s third summer of opening. It follows extensive work to breathe new life into the previously popular, but then disused, nursery. This is a rare ray of sunlight for an industry that’s been affected by the triple dip recession and as many successive wet summers.
“Our display at Holker Garden Festival is very important to us. It’s not only a chance to be judged by our peers and let everyone know what we do but it’s also the first success we had as a business when we opened in March 2011” said Tom.
Previously Tom and Abi scooped the ‘large gold’ medal, with Carol Klein presenting them with their first award in 2011.