The Winner’s Enclosure 🏆

23 May 2017

What an incredible day! At about 8 o’clock this morning the medals were announced and we are delighted to report that ‘The World Horse Welfare Garden’ was awarded a GOLD medal! Actually, ‘delighted’ is an understatement we were thrilled to bits. The medals were awarded by Tom the Show Manager together with Nicki Chapman from the BBC and our reaction was caught on camera. It was a bit emotional. 

Although the charity had said to us the previous evening that they didn’t mind what medal we were awarded as they loved the garden and it had already raised their profile and shone a light on the plight of ‘invisible horses’, we still didn’t want to let them down. Thankfully, everything worked out well.

It was great to share the moment with Cormac our garden builder (Conway Landscapes) and his wife Diane, as without them we wouldn’t have got the result we did. We have worked with Cormac on all of our Chelsea gardens and we make a great team.

It was also good to have Michael Baines (Chairman of World Horse Welfare) and Roly Owers (Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare) sharing the moment with us, after all this is their garden. I think Roly was just as nervous as we were. Smiles all round!

The charity had organised a couple of events for their guests before and after the Show and it was a privilege to share our passion and enthusiasm for both the garden and the work of the charity.

We did have time to celebrate with a few glasses of champagne and were joined throughout the day by friends and colleagues and just about made a late dinner reservation with close friends. Didn’t get to sleep until late but then you have to make time to enjoy Chelsea as it doesn’t last forever.

Show open days are always very busy but this year there seems to be more people flocking to the Artisan Gardens. The garden is proving very popular with visitors to the Show which is always great and it is nice to talk to fellow gardeners and supporters of the charity. 

I’ve taken a quick break and am writing this blog on my phone from the Exhibitor’s Restaurant at the Show.

Just about keeping my eyes open!

Here’s a few photos :

Right, I’ll publish this and then back to the garden!

Crossing the finishing line…

20th May

After 11 days of hard work the garden is finally finished! We are so proud of it and we both agree that out of all the RHS Gardens we have created this is our favourite.

 I’m writing this blog on my phone as we are driving back home from London in the truck so forgive me for any grammatical mistakes; we’re exhausted. 

The garden was initially assessed and judged this afternoon with the final judging panel coming around to the garden tomorrow and medals will be announced 7am Tuesday morning. Fingers crossed! We had the opportunity to give a 2 minute presentation to the judges just before the initial assessment and let them know if anything had changed or if there was anything else that they should be aware of.  All went very well. 

We try not to think about medals too much. We think that this is the best that we can do and as long as we raise awareness for World Horse Welfare and help improve the lives of horses in this country and overseas then we are happy. Can’t wait for the charity to see the garden, do hope they like it!

The garden seems to be getting lots of attention and lots of great comments. 

Today we’re been adding finishing touches, such as adding our famous horseshoes to the stream, storing our brochures that we will be giving out at the Show and general watering and tidying up. We did have a little worry this morning when we found dirty fox footprints all over our carved anniversary stone but then this is a wildlife friendly garden. Hopefully Mr Fox won’t take up residence and trash the garden! 

Early start again tomorrow as we’re got a couple of BBC radio interviews to do and then from tomorrow night we re-locate to a hotel in London so that travelling to the Show each day will be easier.

Here’s a few photos:

See you after press day!..

Approaching the finishing line

17th -18th May 2017

After a very wet day yesterday it’s started to brighten up here at Chelsea. Perfect growing weather for our wildflowers! Planting is progressing nicely and I think we’re just about got enough plants. 

Richard and Jackie are helping us pick through the plants to make sure any old, yellow or damaged leaves are removed to make sure they are perfect for display. We’re been taking the flowers off some of our buttercups in the stable area as we want that part to be flowerless and a bit ‘moody’ looking. 

The sculpture arrived today! It was a bit emotional when we first saw it. It’s perfect and Tom (Tom Hill Sculpture) has done an incredible job. So relieved that we got the proportions right. It is actually based on Clippy’s dimensions so approximately 13 hands high. Fits in nicely.

Here’s a few photos:

Can see the finishing line……

Cleared the first hurdles……

15th & 16th May

Well here we are with just four days to go until we are due to finish our garden for World Horse Welfare. So far we are ahead of schedule and so far most of the rain has held off. Hooray! That might all change tomorrow as the forecast is for a wet afternoon. 

Thankfully, we’re making fabulous progress and have made a big impact on our planting. These wild, natural gardens really swallow up the plants, I only hope we’ve grown enough! Most gardens at Chelsea will just plunge the plant still in its pot into the soil and try to hid the lip of the pot. With wild gardens we always find it better to remove the pot as you normally would when planting. That way you can plant closer, the plant doesn’t dry out as quickly and the plant will grow together better and give a more natural look.

Still shattered but happy, really enjoying being at Chelsea or as one of our landscapers calls it ‘The Landscape Olympics’. For us and Cormac, our contractor, Chelsea can be summed up in two words ‘exhaustion’ and ‘exhilaration’! There’s nothing like it.

The horse sculpture arrives tomorrow! Can’t wait to see it finished. Might delay publishing the next blog to keep it a surprise.

Here’s a few photos of the last couple of days;

Stable Relationships….

13th & 14th May

It’s been a busy few days and we’re making good progress. Stable nearly done, soil added and stream installed today. Particularly pleased with the stream, experted created by Ben our Pond Specialist, you can even control the flow rate by remote control, how cool is that! 

It was a bit damp earlier but turned into quite a nice sunny day in the end. Bit of a long day though, didn’t get home until 10.30pm so by the time we’d had showers and supper it was quite late to bed. Not looking forward to the 4.30am alarm again. Sometimes you get so focused and forget the time and just want to do a bit more. We must try to leave the Showground a bit earlier tomorrow. Of course the London traffic doesn’t help and the last couple of evenings it’s taken a couple of hours to get back to Bishop’s Stortford.

The wildflowers we have been growing in our own and neighbouring gardens have been picked up and delivered to Chelsea so now they are just sitting opposite our garden waiting to be planted. It’s nice to have everything there so we can just select the plants as we go. We have grown a lot of plants but then that’s our Chelsea mantra, ‘grow lots, bring everything and select the best’!

One thing that everyone is suffering from at the moment is the ‘Chelsea cough’. The pollen from the large London Plane trees around the Showground is getting up everyone’s nose and can be a real nuisance.

Trying to ignore the forecast for heavy rain all Day Wednesday, that could cause problems. Will wait and see.

Anyway onwards and upwards!

Here’s a few photos;