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I have never, ever seen so many glasses on one table before…

I am usually to be found in very muddy jeans and a sweatshirt of doubtful origin, my nails black and not a shred of makeup anywhere near my face. Usually, bum up nose down in a vegetable bed.


All dressed up and somewhere to go… Naomi Slade and Natalie Ashbee at the pre-dinner drinky-poos

Yesterday, however, I had mascara on. And I was clean. And – get this – in a Karen Millen dress and heels.


Chandeliers a go-go… the ballroom at the Savoy

For it was the Garden Media Guild Awards: the one and only day I ever get dressed up (and that includes Christmas Day). It is glitzy and glamorous beyond the wildest dreams of a humble gardener like me. And I go every year, just to kid myself I’m the kind of person who goes to dine in the Savoy and gets awards and stuff.


The food was pretty damn good too… smoked duck, goat’s cheese, marinated beetroot and a walnut vinaigrette. And that was just the starter.

It’s not only a great chance to catch up with old friends but also a chance to meet new people: every year I’m on a table with someone interesting I’ve never met before (even if I might know them by reputation).


Dunno who that bloke in the middle is. He gets everywhere though.

This year it was the outstanding garden photographer Clive Nichols and his lovely assistant Julie (doesn’t that make them sound like a magician’s act…! I suspect Julie rarely allows herself to be chopped in half though, literally or magically).


Our host for the evening: David Domoney in full flow

And on the other side of me was Jan Miller-Klein, holder of the National Collection of Eupatorium (aka Joe Pye weed), passionate wildlife gardener and all round inspirational lady.


… and some other bloke got up and joined him too

Awards were handed out like sweeties: the biggest congratulations go to The English Garden (Garden Publication of the Year), Jurgen Becker (Garden Photographer of the Year) and Ambra Edwards (Journalist of the Year).


The incredibly talented nurserywoman and plantswoman extraordinaire Claire Austin winning Reference Book of the Year for ‘Claire Austin’s Book of Perennials’

And a special mention to Adrian Bloom, this year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award and a thoroughly nice chap as well as the kind of nurseryman I think every person who grows plants for a living should aspire to be.


Adrian Bloom, very worthy winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award

There’s a full list of all the award winners here.