Friday, 18 December 2009

Tidings of great joy

After much gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands and chewing of fingernails, I found out yesterday that Jonathan Denby and I have had our garden accepted for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show! Yippeeeee!!

Thank goodness for the Christmas break to get myself organised in the office and sort out some project planning as now doing two show gardens next year. Hope the influx of grey hairs won't speed up as next year unravels...

As I looked out over my snow-covered garden this morning, it occurred that I really should have dug my dahlias up and salvaged some rather nice species pelargoniums earlier in the month.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Well seasoned

Summer's end and autumn's glory seem like a dim, distant memory now. Here we are, a week before Christmas and I feel like a mole blinking in the daylight and wondering where the last few months have gone. It's great to have been busy, but now my office looks like a tornado has visited and deposited piles of paperwork in places where it shouldn't be, makes it a challenge to find information at times! Sadly, I am looking forward to a couple days over the Christmas break to get the office into order for 2010. And tidy the garden (might take more than a couple of days).

Talking about tornadoes, over the last couple of months gardens have been created and planted in equally challenging conditions as hefty autumnal gales battered pots waiting to be planted out, wafted mypex membrane like a Cirque Du Soleil repertoire and left me feeling like a barnacle clinging to the side of a rock (or hillside, in this case). Remind me again what is glamorous about being a garden designer?

Autumn is RHS show garden application time, too, when forms of all shapes and sizes are filled in and changed many times, designs endlessly tweaked, re-tweaked and re-tweaked again, all in the general outpouring of time to get your design noticed by the RHS design panel. I have it on good authority that the panel always find something to pick up and I maverickly enjoy the mental challenge of working out what that 'something' is. At the moment, I'm waiting to hear about a RHS Chelsea Flower Show application, my first garden there, which I have co-designed with Jonathan Denby who has the most fantastic hillside garden, Yewbarrow House, at Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. Views to die for, plants to salivate over. He's a bit of an expert in Victorian gardens and there lies the clue to our design submission.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show beckons next July, too. I was selected as designer by Girlguiding UK for their Centenary garden in August, much to my surprise and delight. It's an incredibly fun project to work on and completely different to anything I've done before. But that's all part, I feel, of the evolution of being a garden designer - to be challenged out of your comfort zone and push out the boundaries of your design thinking. This garden is definitely happening although we await the RHS feedback on the design submission (I think I've worked out what they are not going to like). I can't say anything about the design at this stage, but just don't expect the expected! Think fun and the unexpected.