22nd August 2012
The Abbey Hotel, Bath hosted and sponsored a reception to launch the National Gardening Show.

National Gardening Show Logo

An exclusive reception was held at the Abbey Hotel in Bath to preview the highlights of the National Gardening Show.

Attended by over a hundred leading figures from Bath and the South West business community, the reception was held in the Hotel’s newly refurbished Abbey Hotel and Allium Brasserie. Purchased by acclaimed boutique hoteliers, Ian and Christa Taylor, in January 2012, the Abbey Hotel has been transformed in the past few months, into a stylish destination. As part of this, Chris Staines, Chef/Patron, with a stellar background including a Michelin star, has been appointed to launch the Allium Brasserie – which, with its all day dining and innovative menus, has already in a short time become one of the top 5 restaurants in Bath, according to Trip Adviser.

Annie Maw, Alan Lyons, Christa Taylor, Paul Hooper & Ian Taylor
Annie Maw, Alan Lyons, Christa Taylor, Paul Hooper & Ian Taylor

Guests were warmly welcomed by Ian Taylor, who commented: "We are delighted to be involved tonight as one of the sponsors for the National Gardening Show. One of our core values at the Allium Brasserie is using top quality, fresh, seasonal produce, sourced as locally as possible – values which are shared by the food and gardening lovers who visit the show. By having a strong presence at the event, we will be reaching an audience who will enjoy dining with us and the dishes created by our head chef, Chris Staines".

Guests enjoying the wonderful hospitality and the speeches
Guests enjoying the wonderful hospitality and the speeches

Ian then introduced Annie Maw, the Chair of the National Gardening Show who spoke movingly about the event’s formal charity this year – Horatio's Garden Friends. Led by the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT) and launched at the National Gardening Show two years ago, the Appeal was established to create an innovative rehabilitation garden at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury, which caters for patients from across the South and South West of England.

Annie also highlighted the show’s support for Tools Shed, an innovative scheme which is the brainchild of The Conservation Foundation. Dedicated to promoting positive environmental news, awareness and action, this innovative Foundation project is designed to equip the next generation of gardeners, teach prisoners new skills and reduce waste. Run in association with HM Prisons, people donate old, damaged or unwanted tools which are refurbished in prison workshops. The tools are then given free to local schools and community gardens.

Ian & Christa Taylor with some of the Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy Events Team
Ian & Christa Taylor with some of the Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy Events Team

The National Gardening Show is hosting the launch of Tools Shed in the South West as it is rolled out nationally. With the help of Cheddar Garden Centre, the show’s main sponsor, gardeners are being asked to bring their tools that are too broken to use but too good to throw away, to their stand at the event. The tools will then be refurbished at HMP Dartmoor.

This was followed by a presentation from the dedicated and passionate team behind the acclaimed community initiative, the Edible Bus Stop (EBS) – Makaela Gilchrist, Co-founder & Chairperson of the EBS, and Will Sandy, Co-founder and Creative Director of the project. Established to help transform neglected and disused sites along transport networks, into valuable community growing spaces, the project was launched initially in South London, and is now going live nationally at the show with a visually stunning garden feature.

Alan Down (Cleeve Nurseries) Will Sandy & Michaela Gilchrist (Creators The Edible Bus Stop)
Alan Down (Cleeve Nurseries) Will Sandy & Michaela Gilchrist (Creators The Edible Bus Stop

The garden will then be relocated after the event, to one lucky community’s bus stop – the result of a competition inviting people to nominate their local bus stop for a special makeover by the EBS team. The City or Town whose community will be awarded with the garden will be revealed at a special Show VIP Reception sponsored by Circle Bath on the first day of the event (August 31st). It will then be their role to maintain it. This will be the first Edible Bus Stop outside of London, with Cleeve Nursery, which is situated near Bristol and boasts an exceptional range of high quality plants, shrubs, trees, and grasses, providing all the plants and flowers for the feature.

Recognised as a powerful force for change, the project is a social enterprise and entirely dependent on supporters to maintain the existing projects and the planned momentum for national expansion. Makaela commented: "We're excited to be launching the Edible Bus Stop at the 2012 National Gardening Show and are very grateful to

Annie Maw for her support and belief in our project. The Edible Bus Stop project brings out the best in humanity. Whether that be local or national businesses who support us with their goods, services and time or locals who come out to garden the sites, keep an eye on them and implicitly understand it's theirs to care for, respect and protect.

“We believe that brutal landscapes make for brutal outlooks. By encouraging communities to take responsibility for their neglected public spaces, old and young can come together for a common cause. The Edible Bus Stop project doesn't just grow gardens, it grows communities. By bringing people together, barriers are broken down, conversations are had and connections are made."

Finally Alan Lyons, Show Manager at The Royal Bath & West of England Society, which organises the National Gardening Show, outlined some of the other show highlights which contribute to making the event one of the most popular in the Autumn UK gardening calendar. These included the Instant Gardening Challenge, run by the Cheddar Garden Centre, the Show and Feature Gardens, the hugely successful UK National Giant Vegetable Championships, key trade exhibitors and a return visit by the very talented Bath based Natural Theatre Company.

Chef with food

Alan concluded, thanking Ian and Christa Taylor for their very generous hospitality, adding: “Gardening is all about passion – and that sums up my excitement about the National Gardening Show. It's about people’s passion for gardening. Some people love one kind of gardening, others another - but we are expecting them all to find what they want to see at our show. From gardening celebrities to the Secret Gardens of Somerset and the South West, from National Dahlias to Giant Vegetables, from poultry to goats, allotments and small holdings, people bring their exhibits with PASSION, for you to see.”


1. For information on the Royal Bath & West Society - Somerset based agricultural shows, showground and events - creator of the National Gardening Show please visit

2. For further information about the Abbey Hotel, pleased visit

3.For further information on the The Edible Bus Stop (EBS) project visit:


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Copyright: Morgan-Brinkhurst Consultancy 2012