How to make a show garden in one minute and 32 seconds
Actually, this is just two days work from the build of the ‘A Day at the Seaside’ show garden at RHS Tatton 2013. The timelapse shows the arrival of the plants and myself, Peter Castle and my dad (in the orange!) starting to position them. Note the Green Charter lads doing a sterling job filling and sanding the boardwalk on what was the hottest day of the build.
RHS Tatton Flower Show 2013 – second silver medal!
For the second year running, myself and Peter Castle have won a silver medal at the RHS Tatton Flower Show for New Charter’s show garden ‘A Day at the Seaside’. We also went one step better this year with the garden featured on the BBC2 programme about RHS Tatton. Joe Swift commented that though the design was simple ‘it really worked’ – yes!!!
This year’s build has had it’s own challenges with the non-stop heat and little shade but I think I prefer it to sideways rain! I’m really pleased with the overall effect and think the planting has worked really well. Thanks to Brentwood Moss Nurseries for the plants – incredibly helpful and fantastic quality. Thanks also to all the volunteers and helpers who did a brilliant job, especially my sister and my Dad!
Here’s a few screen shots from the BBC programme – they have the advantage of a camera on a crane so there are some good overhead shots! And one of Joe Swift admiring the plants and mosaic fish…
Mosaic Fish for RHS Tatton
The other artwork to be included in New Charter’s RHS show garden will be 45 mosaic fish, all swimming amongst the flowers and plants that represent the sea. Each double-sided mosaic fish is mounted on a steel rod and they will be displayed individually and in shoals. The fish were all made by young people from the New Charter Dreamscheme group and they look absolutely fantastic. Here’s one I made as an example being ‘roadtested’ in my garden.
And here’s the young people’s fish, grouted and ready to have their steel rod attached. There’s a big complicated table which lists whose fish is whose – everyone that made a mosaic will get it back once Tatton has finished.
Here’s a sneak preview of some of the puppets created by New Charter’s Dreamscheme and myself for their ‘Punch & Judy’ performances at the RHS Tatton Flower Show this year. The show garden’s theme is ‘Beside the Seaside’ and the group have written their own versions of Punch and Judy that are relevant to their New Charter estates…
‘Beside the Sea’ show garden for RHS Tatton
Here’s the design for the 2013 show garden for New Charter Housing’s Dreamscheme. Inspired by young people’s ideas of the seaside, the garden aims to depict both the water and the beach with a boardwalk separating the two. For the second year Peter Castle and myself worked together to create the final design, planting plan and plant list, whilst I created the drawing shown here.
I’m also working on an axonometric drawing of the garden, which is a new thing for me – I’ll post it once finished!
Planning for RHS Tatton Flower Show
Following last year’s show garden success at RHS Tatton, planning is well under way for 2013’s garden. With a theme of ‘Beside the seaside’, I’m thinking of digging out my bucket and spade for a trip to the beach. Working with New Charter’s ‘Dreamscheme’ youth group, the design is inspired by a traditional english seaside holiday and will feature elements and inspiration from the seaside.
I’ve been working on the planting plan with Peter Castle and I’ll be putting together a design for the RHS Programme and publicity using my newly learnt garden design and rendering skills! In the meantime, last year’s garden has been used to promote the show in the RHS Magazine…
The garden design bug
Following the two weeks of slog at the RHS Tatton Flower Show this year, I’ve decided to sign up for more! I think it must be a bit like childbirth (I don’t know) – it’s awful at the time but you’re quite happy to do it again. Anyway as I’ve had two garden projects this year (The Hideaway Garden is still ongoing) I’ve signed up to do a Garden Design course at Reaseheath College in Nantwich.
We’re only four weeks in but I’ve already learnt about lots of garden designy type things including unity, focalisation and progressive realisation. We’re moving onto garden design history next (which we have to write an assignment on – gulp) and then we start the design part where we go to a real (yes – REAL) garden, do a proper site survey and create a design for it. We’ll do this using proper old-school drawing techniques (not a computer or graphics tablet in sight) with technical pens, compasses and drawing boards.
I’ve also made a sneaky start on learning the fancy writing you see on hand-drawn plans. Pete (Castle) did some on the design for The Hideaway Garden – have a look at it here. It’s often called architectural lettering and there are quite a few instruction books you can get on it – pretty cheaply as most of them were published before computers were invented!
Here’s my progress…(ignore the words – I’m writing nonsense)
RHS Tatton – Silver Medal!
Following two weeks of hard slog in the rain at the RHS Tatton Flower Show, we have been awarded a silver medal for our show garden ‘A Year in the Life of the DreamScheme’. The culmination of 12 months of work and preparation, the garden shows the young peoples’ journey through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter using colour, texture, planting and artwork to recreate the seasons.
Myself and Peter Castle worked with young people from New Charter estates to interpret their ideas and designs and turn them into a show garden. Using a circular format as the starting point, we designed each section to represent one season looking at overall effect, impact, the relationship between the seasons and plant associations. Our final plant list included over 100 different types of plants totalling almost 1000 individual specimens.
Once on site, the hard physicial work began, with the hard landscaping and building happening first, followed by laying out and lots (trust me – lots) of digging, then planting. The finishing touches included placing all the artwork made by the young people (mosaic slabs, withy sculptures, Colin the mosaic corgi etc), checking over plants and trees and dressing the garden.
Achieving a silver medal for a first attempt at a show garden is a massive achievement, so we are all incredibly pleased. New Charter received a bronze medal for their first show garden in 2010, so the pressure was on to gain an equivalent or better rating!
Next year, we thought we’d give the silver gilt medal a miss and just go straight for gold..!
RHS Tatton – Withy Sculptures
Lantern Parade and … it’s suddenly become Withy Central
For the next couple of weeks I’m working with lots of groups in Johnson’s Fold, Bolton to create withy lanterns for their lantern parade, organised and funded by Bolton at Home. Here’s one I made as an example…
I’m also about to start making some withy / willow sculptures with a New Charter group in Mossley, Tameside for the RHS Tatton show garden. One of them is going to be an enormous snowman, which feels entirely appropriate after the snow we had last week! I’ll be using brown willow for this so I’m currently soaking the withies in my lovely new ‘water trough’ – a perfect shape and size for the job. I’ll post a picture when I remember to take one…