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.
Yesterday, however, I had mascara on. And I was clean. And – get this – in a Karen Millen dress and heels.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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).
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.
There’s a full list of all the award winners here.