Monday, 19 November 2007

Garden Writers' Guild Awards Lunch in London

Last week I was down in London for the annual Garden Writers' Guild Awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster Hotel by Hyde Park. It was a cold, sunny day to walk across the park; I had a late breakfast of crisp pain au chocolate sitting by a serene Serpentine watching coots, swans and Canada geese foraging in the calm water. Light glinted behind the fountains of the Italian garden and hoof marks in Rotten Row showed where horses had been exercised earlier in the morning.

At the hotel, the room was buzzing and it was hard to hear oneself talk! There were over 450 writers, broadcasters, editors, publishers and photographers and awards were given for books, magazine articles, photography and tv programmes - a bit like the Oscars, we were only allowed to know the shortlist at the lunch with the winner in each category being announced by Chris Beardshaw. As MC he gave a serious plea for everyone to encourage youngsters to get into gardening, relating stories from his own childhood. At the Gardeners' World table there was Monty Don, Carol Klein and Joe Swift; TV Broadcast of the Year was won by the BBC for 'Grow Your Own Veg', the award accepted by producer Juliet Glaves and Carol Klein. Andrew Lawson won Photographer of the Year about which I was delighted because I love his garden photographs - they are full of integrity and feeling.

There were so many there that I never managed to meet up with the people I was hoping to see, such as Sandy Felton who had also travelled down from the north and runs this website - On it there are books for sale, news on new products, designers, gardens to visit etc. and like me she also writes a garden blog.

Walking back across the park in the gloaming, with a golden light creating a halo behind the Albert Memorial, was made even more atmospheric by the exotic screeches of the resident parakeets flying between the trees! It was a world away from the wide, quiet spaces of Northumberland.

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