Extreme Makeover: Van Edition

NEW VAN GRAHICS 4We posted a few weeks ago about the retirement of the PP Plant Mobile – well, we say retirement, but in actual fact it is more like moving on to the next phase, as they say, since the dealer who bought her will  invest in her so she can find a new home. In the time since then we have been touring Hampshire and adjacent counties in our new yellow peril, enjoying the benefits of sat-nav and air conditioning on the way to shows and the like.

But the Plant Mobile needed some new clothes, so Joanna contacted  few sign companies for suggestions. With mixed results, it must be said, as some wanted money up front before they would even get their designer brains in gear and others promised ideas but then clearly got graphic designer’s block or whatever the relevant condition is called. Of those who offered ideas, James of Camfree-signs was by some way the most imaginative and interesting, not to mention pretty competitive price-wise, so his was the winning design and the one that we took further.

Within a few days of agreeing the deal, the graphics were ready and Rob took the van across Southampton for her extreme makeover. 24 hours later it was complete and Rob drove our new advertising hoarding back along the M27, feeling very smug as he cruised past unmarked white vans and other vehicular riff raff. The graphics look great, and we are very grateful to James for his great design and speedy service. The Plant Mobile certainly won’t be difficult to spot in her new livery!

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Rob & Joanna – May 2013

In Wiltshire again

Yes, it was back up the A36 again on Sunday 19th May to attend the Rowdeford Garden fair, which helps support the work of Rowdeford School which caters for children with special needs. It’s a busy little event, as a look at the web page will prove, with quite a few nurseries in attendance along with various other types of stall. And all held in the delightful surroundings of the house and gardens: we were in the walled orchard, which was as nice as it sounds.

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The weather treated us pretty kindly despite some rather forbidding forecasts in the run up to the event and it was a warmish day with some sunshine early on and no rain – though it did rain back home near Southampton! Although it felt busy initially, the crowds rather fell away as the day wore on and, disappointingly for the organisers, attendance fell some way short of past years. Apparently another local attraction had put on a major event on the same day which reduced the numbers attending the garden fair. Let’s hope they can work something out for next year to avoid the clash.

Nonetheless we had a good day out in Wiltshire again, enjoying passing through lovely villages and the quintessentially English market town of Devizes. And we sold some plants too.

Rob & Joanna – May 2013

3 in 4

Or, to look at it another way, 4 in 8. Shows in days, that is. It has been a busy last week or so on the events front, starting on Sunday 5th May with one of our favourites, the St John Garden Fair held for the tenth time in all but the second at the current venue of Wintershill Hall near Durley, here in Hampshire. Better weather than last year, when it was freezing cold and too boggy underfoot to bring vans on site, and this time we sold pretty much all of the two full vanloads of plants that we brought. The better weather certainly brought the crowds out and encouraged them to linger, so it was pleasingly busy all day.

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Having recovered from that big day, on Thursday 9th May Rob sallied forth on his own to the wonderfully named Farleigh Wallop to attend another charitable event, the WOW Garden & Gift Fair held in and around the barns of the home farm. The key feature of the day was the wind which was strong enough to lift plants off the tables and encourage them to explore the joys of flying. The snag is, they did tend to come down with a bump. But at least plants generally don’t shatter, as was unfortunately the case of some of the gift items on other stalls that also did an Icarus.

Fareham was the destination on Saturday 11th May, when the West Street pedestrianised area played host to the first of two gardeners’ markets – we are elsewhere when the second one takes place in June. Lots of people were about, and quite a few gardeners amongst them, as we had a good day and found new homes for a lot of plants. As usual, we were next the bandstand and had a front seat at the entertainment, which this year was not the Irish folk band of recent times but an amateur pop and rock choir who belted out the hits to the appreciation of the crowds.

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A reloaded van and a night’s sleep later it was off into Wiltshire to attend the Rare Plants Fair at Sharcott Manor near Pewsey. The exposed site did rather allow the wind to be the dominant element again, though the rain did have a good go at upstaging it in the afternoon. Despite that, there was a strong turnout, with cars queuing down the narrow access lane mid-morning, and we had a good day of sales and chatting to keen plantspeople. The gardens and grounds of the manor house were lovely, providing some fine examples of the cultivated meeting the natural, and being home to a group of pretty little oriental ducks, some of whom can be seen in the photo above.

Thankfully this coming weekend sees a single outing, to the Rowdeford garden fair, but after that things hot up again …..