Monday, 22 February 2010

Getting slated

Last week saw a flying visit to Cumbria, despite a last minute hitch with the car. Jonathan and I visited Kirkstone who are sponsoring all the slate for the Chelsea show garden and we discussed with Manager Nick Fecitt significant details such as how the egdes of the steps will be finished, what pattern do we want to lay the slate paving sections and thickness of slate. Then it was onto Newby Bridge Hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere to look at an existing wall here that will be dismantled for the terrace wall on the garden. Don't worry, it's going back to Cumbria after the show! The whole show garden will be re-sited at Newby Bridge Hotel and will look stunning there.

We also had a site visit last Friday to the Chelsea Show to see where our garden will be situated. It was an early start from Cambridgeshire and I felt like a sardine on the tube, but I had fun listenting to various people's MP3 players (why do they play their music so loud?) in the packed tube carriage, trying to work out what music was playing. I enjoyed the reggae album the best. Standing looking at our plot in a very empty would-be Chelsea Flower Show ground was interesting: the vast expanse of grass in front of us that would normally be dominated by the Floral Pavilion made the chillingly cold day seem even colder. The ground where our site is rises around 300mm, a slight issue but not a major one and I'm sure Mark will resolve any problems with this.

There are 14 main show gardens at Chelsea this year and I'm the only female designer out of these. Why are men dominating Main Avenue? I think back to when I was growing up and women were still in charge of the garden, the kitchen and fashion but now it seems men are muscling in on our comfort zone areas. Come on girls, where are you?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bedding down

On Sunday, the last day of January, I popped into my local garden centre to buy yet another pair of secateurs. Top of the 'I'm always losing these' list, I usually manage to mislay at least two pairs of secateurs each year; they mysteriously manage to get thrown away with plant debris onto compost heaps or get left in gardens. Now I don't tend to buy expensive ones as it seems a foregone conclusion that they will end up being lost, but I do like a decent pair that are good to hold and work well.

I searched high and low in the garden centre and only found a mere three pairs of secateurs, all the same brand, to choose from. Staff at the centre were busy clearing away the remains of Christmas decorations and lights and I asked if there were any more in a different location in the shop (you know how it is, things are always being moved around). Apparently not. How silly of me to think there would be after all this is a garden centre, not Argos.

What I did see plenty of on display which made me stop in tracks was masses of tiny bedding plants no bigger than the size of a thumb. Let's just back pace here - it's the last day of January and summer bedding plants are on sale. It's almost as bad as seeing Christmas decorations in the shops in August. We'll be growing sunflowers in November next.