GARDENER, James Youd, from Arley Hall & Gardens is one of four gardeners representing Cheshire’s prestigious Gardens of Distinction, at this year’s RHS Tatton Show.

Last year his garden won a Silver Gilt medal and he is a former award-winner at previous Tatton Shows. James, son of Sam Youd, Tatton’s former head gardener, also has other associations with the RHS Tatton Show.

James Youd, 36, said: “At the very first Tatton show in 1999, I was a young plant porter and in following years became part of the show crew.

“It was always very full on and I think I would have been slightly alarmed to think one day I would be one of the stressed exhibitors.

“Thankfully, all the gardeners at Arley are experienced hands at this event, though it is still a massive adrenaline rush getting everything on site and perfect.”

This year, James’ design aims to capture the atmosphere of Arley Hall, a garden that for more than 250 years has been owned by successive generations of the same family.

James said: “The herbaceous border is going to be in a strong palette of deep blues, deep reds and deep purples.

“With layering of shrubs and flowers, I want the garden to evoke a nostalgic vision of England.

“This year’s planting includes Cerinthe major, Dahlia ‘Admiral Rowlands’ and the deep purple Salvia ‘Amistad’.

“All of these plants can be grown in the north west and I hope will encourage gardeners to have a go at home.”

James is also a keen biker in his spare time.

He said: “Gardening is a great lifestyle and I like nothing better than living at Arley and working in the hall’s idyllic gardens.

“The only thing about being a professional gardener is that you do it in one place and it is job that requires patience and a long-term vision.

“In my own time, I balance things out by doing something that involves the freedom and speed of the open road.”

The RHS Tatton’s annual Flower Show will be opening on Thursday, July 19.