STAFF at Tatton Park showcased their fine-tuned gardening skills at this year’s show with a Chinese themed show garden.

‘China: Mother of Gardens’, which secured the judges ‘silver-gilt’ standard, was inspired by the famous gardener and explorer Ernest Wilson, who imported more than 2,000 species of plant from the east.

Simon Tetlow, head gardener at the Tatton Park Gardens explained how Wilson was a big influence on this year’s design.

He said: “You can’t start putting a Chinese garden together without referencing Wilson. Every car park, every estate, every garden has something of his in.

“It’s amazing to think what was once considered rare is now everywhere. Plant origins interest me. How the Chinese use plants is sparse and minimal.”

Simon explained how Wilson is revered by gardeners, and how his open-minded nature was to thank for the relationships he built in China, and as a result, the plants he brought back to the UK.

He said: “Wilson knew that this was how gardens were going to change. He was one of the last people to go plant hunting there. He lives on through the plants.”

But the idea of a Chinese themed project was not just Simon’s, as the whole group had involvement of every step of the process, from the concept through to completion.

Simon said: “The team are very collaborative. We all sat down over the weeks to look at how we could do this.

“It is a wonderful team job. That’s what I love about the show. The public wouldn’t see the amount that’s involved- it’s a lovely spirit, everyone helps each other out and everyone wants to do the best for each other.”

It is the 16th year that Tatton Park staff have built the garden ever since the RHS Tatton Flower Show was launched in 1999, and the team displayed their gratitude to the council for more than a decade of support.

Simon said: “We are very privileged that Cheshire East has been a great support. I can’t think of another local authority that is doing something like this.

“I feel very lucky that we are given a few thousand pounds towards it, it is very forward thinking and promotes a great visitor economy.”