Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea Flower Show 2010’

Can you tell me what that plant is?

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Show week at Chelsea, and it’s been a delight to meet visitors and speak to them. Rather gruelling after some rather long (and hot) days during Build-Up, but such a pleasure to hear the response to our garden. Here is a typical day manning the garden!

Visitor: This is fabulous! My favourite garden so far

Me: Thank you, glad you like it!

V: How wonderful to see some colour at Chelsea at last, it’s about time

M: Yes, we love colour in the garden, too

V: Can you tell me what that plant is, the tall yellow one. Is it a Delphinium?

M: No, it’s a Verbascum ‘Cotswold Queen’ and its from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in the Pavilion

V: Did you make the mosaic yourself?

M: No, Maggy Howarth designed and made it – she’s the best in the country for these pebble mosaics

V: What is the name of the shorter iris at the front of the border?

M: Iris ‘Jane Phillips’  – the other one is Iris ‘Superstition’

V: Did you make the mosaic on site when you built the garden?

M: No, it was made off site and took three months to create

V: Do you know what the Pavilion is made of?

M: No!

V: Did they lift the mosaic in one piece into the garden?

M: No, it’s made in sections and put together on site, rather like a big jigsaw

V: Can you tell me where the aviary is in the garden?

M: Its the big blue building taking up half the garden!

V: Is that double flower a tulip?

M: Yes, ‘Cassablanca’

V: Was the mosaic always here and then you created the garden around it?

M: No, we had the mosaic especially commissioned and made for the garden. There was nothing here when we arrived except grass

V: I think you were robbed, you should have got Gold and Best In Show! This is by far the best garden here – I love it!

M: Thank you, so do we!

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Iris eyes are almost smiling

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Iris 'Jane Phillips'

A week today and we’re on site at the 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. There’s more than a touch of tingling excitiment as we are looking forward to getting this garden created and ready to show off to the visitors and, of course, the judges! Last minute details are being poured over from what crockery set to dress the table with to how all the plants are looking. Jonathan is commendibly overseeing everything to do with the aviary and Maggy Howarth’s stunning pebble mosaic: the aviary is being painted this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result!

This morning as I drove through Cambridge my heart had a somewhat large flutter when I saw some blue irises in full bloom in someone’s garden. We have Iris ‘Jane Phillips’ and Iris ‘Superstition’ in our Chelsea garden, being grown by Kelways (who are also growing paeonies and ferns for the garden). I know the ferns are looking good but a frantic e-mail on my return from Cambridge has gone to Dave at Kelways asking for photos of our irises. I’m really hoping they haven’t gone over! The picture above shows Iris ‘Jane Phillips’ at Brocket Hall. All our tulips at Jacques Amand are now in cold storage to hold them back: these will be the last plants we put in during the Saturday/Sunday before the show opens as any earlier and they will have gone over too much for the judges. Next week I’m going to see how the trees, hedging and shrubs are doing and I’m hoping that the beautiful medlars will be ready to flower in time for judging and show week.

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The Aviary takes Shape

Friday, March 26th, 2010


It wasn’t until I saw it assembled today for the first time (without the roof or any of the joinery) that I realised just how impressive a structure our aviary is. Impressive, firstly, in its bulk- its huge, far larger than I had envisaged. Impressive also in its solidity- it is made of solid steel and the structural engineer who came to assess it today only had to whack it with his foot to conclude that it’s never going to fall down. Impressive, thirdly, in the quality of its craftsmanship- the detailing is astonishingly good. I will be very proud, when it leaves here for Chelsea, to think that the workmanship is all Cumbrian.

The next step will be for the steel to be galvanised. It’s being dismantled today and will go to the galvanisor on Monday, so that it will be ready for Philippa and Mark to view it straight after Easter, by which time the roof should be ready.

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Chelsea Flower Show

Thursday, December 17th, 2009


Philippa and I will freely admit that after a four month battle we were mentally prepared for defeat. The panel whose job it is to choose which designers will be allowed to show their gardens at Chelsea showed us no mercy at all as they insisted on three re-drafts and two name changes before, finally, today,  giving us the utterly delicious news that we are IN.   The original idea, of a garden built around a Victorian aviary, has remained the same throughout and we have sometimes struggled to understand the panel’s thinking as their requests  for changes made us  alter the title  from “A Bird Lover’s Garden” to “An Aviary Garden” and finally to “A Victorian Aviary Garden”, but however great the torture, the end result is worth it.  Quite why I’m using the phrase “end result” when we are actually only at the beginning is beyond me.  Will it all have been worth it when the medals are dished out in five month’s time?  I’ll be able to say on May 24th next year.

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