Archive for May, 2010

Press Day

Monday, May 24th, 2010


Monday is press day, which means cameras and lots of them non-stop all day. Philippa and I began with interviews for the BBC then our local ITV stations followed by TV companies from all over, including Iran and Slovenia. Monday is also the day for celebrity spotting; for me the star of the day was undoubtedly our local reporter Katie Robinson from the North West Evening Mail who came armed with a video camera and was ruthless in pinning down every celeb who came by. This link is of a video in which captured interviews with Ringo, Piers Morgan, Jane Torvill and many others, all of whom she coaxed into say extravagantly flattering things about the garden.
http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/lakes/chelsea-flower-show-garden-is-fab-says-ringo-starr-jayne-torvill-and-piers-morgan-1.712101?referrerPath=home/2.3320&resourceView=video&index=1#video

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Final Preparations

Monday, May 24th, 2010


Gala Night at the Chelsea Flower Show is said to be the first day of the ‘season’. Only the glitterati can afford the tickets which sell for £328.  We get our tickets for free but whether we will be in any fit state to enjoy them is another matter. Nothing could be less glamorous than the final rush to get the garden ready. A dust cart has been parked opposite our garden all day churning rubbish noisily at 10 minute intervals.  One of the adjacent gardens has a crisis with its pond and has to get help from ‘Caroline’s Effluent Services’ and Caroline’s large pink tanker pumps out the offending pond water very noisily and very smellilly. This video shows Philippa trying to do some planting against this backdrop of mayhem.

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The aviary has landed

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

First day on site

The aviary settles in

Carl's beautiful Lakeland wall

Hellebores looking good at Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants

It’s been nearly a week on site and work has been feverish. By Monday, the boundary hedge was in and on Tuesday morning the aviary arrived from its long journey down from Kendal. Built in sections, it was simply placed in its allotted position in the garden and bolted together. Chelsea Show Manager, Alex Denman, says it looks fantastic and visitors will love it! We wondered if the bright colour was perhaps a little too bright but even with the barest planting in the garden, it looks imposing and rather grand.

Carl has built a stunning Lakeland wall using stone brought down from near Ullswater. He’s coming back at the end of the week as we decided to raise the hedge and build another terraced wall for this area. Today, the mosaic path arrives and will fitted together like a giant jigsaw: Kirkstone’s gorgeous slate paving will be put in place on the terrace so that by next Monday, we’re ready to think about planting. Plants have benefitted from the cooler weather, keeping everything in perfect condition as I found out when I visited Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in Whitchurch, Hampshire on Tuesday.

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Are You a Homeless Person?

Monday, May 10th, 2010


The build-up at the Chelsea Flower Show is so surreal that it hardly came as a surprise to be asked “Are you a homeless person?”. In fact I felt quite proud, almost human for an instant. The solicitous enquiry came from the organisor of the Eden Project garden, shown in this video here. He had seen me going about with my cloth cap (on my head, I should add, not being proferred for small change) and Flip Video and he mistook me for one of the homeless because his garden is being built by homeless people and they have been provided with Flip videos to record the event. In fact, so he told me, the Eden project garden has also been designed by the homeless. A very brave experiment. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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Tranquility in a Japanese Garden

Saturday, May 8th, 2010


15 show gardens are being built cheek by jowl and the noise is overwhelming. Each garden has a digger, a cement mixer, a dumper truck ; there is a constant stream of lorries making deliveries and of cranes lifting plants and materials into the gardens. In fact it’s a dangerous business taking photographs- I was very nearly mown down by a lorry carrying portable loos. Being mown down by a portable toilet is not the ideal way to meet on’es end- there wouldn’t be a straight face at the funeral.
In the midst of the cacophany is one oasis of tranquility- the Japanese garden being built by the renowned Japanese designer, Ishihara Kazuyuki. This video shows his workers, all of them Japanese, preparing some stone-work and the sound of their hammering is almost musical.

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The Mosaic Takes Shape

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

When Maggy needs more pebbles for the mosaic she is building, she doesn’t just pick up the phone and order them from her supplier. She goes in person to the beach in Anglesea where she has a licence to collect them. She has just returned from two back-breaking days of hard labour individually picking out some more white limestone pebbles, of just the right shape, size and colour. Meanwhile Mark, her assistant, has been cracking on with the border, all 15 metres of it. They decided in the end to use blue-black slate to intertwine between the white pebbles because it would look crisper. A good decision- the effect is stunning. The photo above shows a section of the border and the one below shows Mark fitting the pieces together. Final casting is set for next Thursday. Phew.

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