Episode 12 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Episode 12

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This week, the Royal Hospital grounds had been littered with


references to our great works of art. Wordsworth, the Brontes,


Thomas Hardy and many more have captured the imagination of


designers and nurserymen alike. So stay with us for an afternoon of


gardening muses coming up. A Poetry of Planting. The tiny gardens


paying horticultural homage to some of the greatest writers.


From tumble down cottage and dry Stonewalls, to florally rich


meadows and the wonderful sound of babbling Brooks. Name of the Rose.


James Alexander-Sinclair looks at the new flowers with artistic


associations. In fact, if you are feeling kind, I wouldn't mind you


naming one after me. Rural Retreats. The customised garden houses with


their own stories to tell. Hello and welcome to the RHS Chelsea


Flower Show, supported by M&G Investments. It's been an amazing


week, but it's not ever yet. It's been the most fantastic week for us


hasn't it? Breathtaking. The weather's helped so much,


everything's relaxed. Stunning. Wednesday, you talked about the


Chelsea chop. Christine Damen's been in touch... Complain something


No, she wants to know how to perform it and can you do it on


sedum plants? A bit like the tango. Yes, sounds like a dance move.


first thing is what is the Chelsea chop? It's essentially when you


take a plant like this, this is the white morning widow geranium and


when you cut the plant down, so if I grab my secateurs out, you can


I grab my secateurs out, you can perform the ritual. You want to be


cutting between my thumbs. Then you have left a crown of foliage and


have taken off all of the flowers. Now, what you are trying to do is


to encourage the second flush of growth. So give this plant a cuple


of months, the crown will build up, the foliage will increase, it will


flower late summer again and you can get a second flush of flowers.


What about sedums? That's slightly different you see because when we


put new mants into a garden, you don't want them to flower


straightaway. Producing flowers like this takes maybe 40, 50, 60%


of the total energy reserves soit's producing flowers and seeds, rather


than concentrating on roots. With a sedum, at this time of the year you


are trying to cut it town, stop it from flowering, that will encourage


it to bulk up and a bit of patience, it will flower much better thex


year. -- next year. It's a long- term game plan. Always done at this


time of the year? And only on herbaceous perennials. We now know


what the Chelsea chop is. Literature has inflaunsed garden


designers this year. I've been to take a look. -- influenced garden


references to literature, poems and the like. For me, there's none more


clear than this from Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd.


As the we signer, tell us about this? The whole idea came from the


fact we met our sponsors in Dorset. They live near to Thomas Hardy's


cottage. We got inspiration from the Dorset countryside and also


from Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. We have the shepherd's hut


and shepherd's crook as well and runner beans and different things


like shepherd's purse, sheep's sorrel, just to keep the theme


going. There is many different types of scenery and landscape from


Dorset from the open heath land with the gorse, Heather and pines


into the kind of valleys, if you like, where there's more meadow-


type planting. A huge amount of streams and shallow rivers with


watercress. We've tried to bring a little bit from each corner of


Dorset into this small space. an advantage or hindrance to take


such a strong narrative and bring to it Chelsea? It can be a


hindrance sometimes because there's so much to draw on and it would be


difficult to condense everything down. Having read the novel and


seen the film as well and through driving through Dorset, we kind of


linked the most common elements together and we feel we have


brought those into the garden. called the Soft Machine. The Soft


Machine is in fact a human being absorbing all of the inputs and


processes around it. In a way, the garden performs in


exactly the same way. Absorbing grey water from the house,


recycling, regurgitating, reusing - all part of an organic home.


Already Inspiration for the Naturally Dry garden comes, not


from one literary source, but from the Cumbrian landscape that would


have inspired the life and works of William Wordsworth. From tumble


down cottage and dry Stonewalls, to florally rich meadows and the


wonderful sound of babbling brooks. With such a rich palate to choose


from and the fact that those literary sources evoke such strong


emotions, it's no surprise that designers regularly return to the


theme. And it's not is just in the small gardens where you can find


links to a range of cultural icons. A trip to the Great Pavillion shows


a host of familiar names, as James Alexander-Sinclair has been


discovering. Have you ever wondered where plans get their names? If you


are clever enough to breed a cultivar of your own, you can name


it after whatever you want. Your aunt, the place where you live, a


celebrity, or absolutely anything. In fact, if you are feeling kind, I


wouldn't mind if you named one the Lark Ascending, named after the


It also needs to be a good plant. And this rose, very lightly


fragranced, is almost ridiculously disease resistent as a perfect rose


for a beginner and it works beautifully in a mixed border. If


books are more your thing, you could also try this, Tess of the


D'Urbervilles. There is nothing tragic about this rose though, it


works equally well as a shrub and climber, flowers all summer and has


a rich, see ductive fragrance. -- see ductive fragrance.


From roses to tulips fanned art is more your bag, you can name a tulip


after a painter, like this Vincent van Gogh. It's a small head with a


fringed top that would look wonderful in a pot. It doesn't


necessarily have to be named after something literary. You can name it


after a place. There is one here called City of Vancouver. Sensual


the most evocative things is scent. You don't get better than the pinks.


This entire stand is inspired by one theme, that of memories and the


idea of mar sell Pruce Remembrance of Things Past. I can remember the


first time I smelt in peppery smell which was in my grandmother's


garden. Pink is the one thing everybody remembers. It may not be


so popular in garden design, but it's loved by gardeners everywhere.


Carol Klein will be with us later to explain the Latin meaning of


some of our favourite plants. This year here at Chelsea, the RHS have


invited the world of interior design to unleash their imagination


in a series of themed Rural Retreats. Stylists from different


backgrounds have taken the challenge to customise a standard


garden summerhouse to show visitors. I'm here with interior designer


Vicky Conran. Your retreat is the Book Binders Retreat. When you


think about sheds at the bottom of the garden, they don't look like


this? They are usually full of Rusty tools and broken pots. This


is gorgeous. Is this a hobby of yours? It is. The materials and


tools are really lovely and I've always loved it. I just think it's


a very nice thing to do. It's very satisfying and it doesn't require a


huge amount of creativity. What inspired you to design this retreat


like this? Well, retreat is something that


Well, retreat is something that we've all loved since childhood. I


thought it would be nice to have a workshop that you could just leave


work-in-progress, go home, make the lunch, come back and you could


carry on where you left off without much trouble. It lends itself to a


garden this? Green is a very calming colour and it brings the


outside in. It also tends to make the walls disappear too, you know.


So true. It twos back into the garden. It's beautiful. Far nicer


than my house, I could happily live here. Thank you very much indeed.


Thank you. And Vicky's Book Binders Retreat is


one of five here. Rachel's been inspired by wanting to bring the


garden into the building and I think he succeeds brilliantly. This


is a really nice idea you could do in your own summerhouse, attach the


simple fabric panels to the inside of the roof. It creates a cosy


intimate, almost tented space. It's certainly a really bold design and


you've got this almost a cacophony of different colours and shapes. In


nature, if you let plants self-seed, they do exactly the same thing, you


get all these different colours working together. Sometimes, more


approach to using textiles in her retreat because this time it's all


about ribbons and trimmings and everywhere you lack, there are just


little treasures. I think you could recreate this sort of feel very


much at home if you keep your eyes peeled at car-boot sales and flee


markets, because it's just about collecting together things that you


love and then displaying them beautifully.


It definitely has a really special atmosphere. It's magical, it's


unashamedly feminine and actually, I feel very at hem in here.


Attention to detail. The bench is even covered in fabric. Very nifty.


I've certainly learned that a summerhouse need not be a very dull


place hidden at the end of the garden. It can be a private


paradise that you fill with things that represent you and you really


enjoy. Certainly extremely restful here so off you go...


We are halfway through our coverage of this afternoon's RHS Chelsea


flower Show and there's still plenty more to come:


Tips in Translation. Carol Klein takes the mystery out of our Latin


plant names. When I was at school, I failed Latin three times. But


since I've developed this huge interest in plants and know so much


more about their Latin and Greek names. And a florist canvas. We


visit the floral display inspired by Monet.


When you are looking for plants to create your own horticultural haven,


it can help to understand a little about their characteristics. Often


that information can be found in their Latin names. Minius Cooperas,


for example. Here is the gied about what the Romans did for us.


-- guide. A lot of people think that using


Latin and Greek names for plants is some sort of snobbury. But in


actual fact, whatever you speak, whether it's Chinese or German, it


means that there's a common language that people can share to


identify plants and know that they are all talking about exactly the


Cirsium. Rivulare tells you about where it grows, it loves growing by


the plant in the background? That is Silene fibriata. Fimbriata means


fringe - each of these has a fringed edge.


Purpurea relates to the colour. Lease long flowers are like


fingertips. Well, my fingers fit in there. For sure they fit my fingers


as well. Hence its English name - fox glove.


What a delicious plant - each one has different characteristics. Lots


are forms of palmatum. It means, in Latin, like an outstretched hand.


That is what these leaves look like. In some cases they are not just


palmatum, but they are dissectum, because these leafs are deeply cut.


Acer is the Latin word for "sharp." It is what Roman soldiers used to


make their spears from. When I was at school, I failed


Latin, three times. Each time I took it, I got five marks less.


Since I have developed this huge interest in plants and know so much


more about their Latin and Greek names, I find not only does it


enrich my knowledge, but it really thought Latin was a dead language,


think again. This year the President of the Royal


Horticultural Society, Elizabeth Banks, has launched a personal


award for the exhibit which has impressed her most. Elizabeth joins


me now. Tell us more about the President's Award. How did it come


about? It has been around for several years, but it's been for


the Best In Show in the floral tent. This year, we decided to open it up


to any exhibit on the showground. So, really difficult to choose this


year? I am glad it is Friday. It took me so long to decide which was


the best exhibit, or which was the exhibit I loved the most. Fantastic.


Well, put us out of our misery. It's the Forbidden Garden.


Congratulations, you have won the President's Award for 2012. How to


you feel? Thank you very much.


She's very grateful and wants to share the award with all the


foreign soldiers who cannot be with us today.


Thank you very much. Don't worry. Be happy. Why did you choose this


garden? It's an emotive garden. It is most brilliantly executed. It's


so brilliantly executed that you hardly notice it as you walk around,


but the detail is exquisite. And the sustainability of the plants to


grow over whatever we do, is just very much and congratulations.


Thank you very much indeed. Now this afternoon we have been looking


at the Chelsea exhibits, inspired by the world of art and literature.


It is the painter, Claude Monet, who the National Association of


Flower Arrangers' Society has chosen. Last week we joined


Jonathan Moseley, as they created their display, based on the


painter's famous garden at Giverny. The team have been people selected


from the Yorkshire area. Some are just purely hobbyists who have


worked with flowers for many years. NAFAS is the National Association


of Flower Arrangers' Society. It is a bit of a garbled name. It is a


little bit long-winded. Basically we are flower arrangers.


One of the most inspirational places I have ever been privileged


to visit is Monet's garden at Giverny, in France. It is like


walking on to a Monet canvass. It inspires me for my choice of plant


material that I will use here at Chelsea. Lots of purples, lots of


lilacs, all those wonderful colours which emerge and come together. It


is almost like a water lily canvass. Colour is so important to us as


flower arrangers, just like it is important to Monet. You could see


that as you walked around the garden. You could tell you are in


an artist's garden. It was not just anybody's garden. The interaction


between the light and the water is really quite mesmerising.


Not only was he an artist putting his pictures together, he was a


designer -- a garden designer too. Now, we are finally down here at


Chelsea, it is great to see what is probably nearly two years of


planning coming to reality and manifest itself. The design is


going to be featuring a large 16- foot per cent peck -- per cent pex


frame. We have to place that together, fix it together. That's


going to be packed with long runs of flowers. It will take absolutely


thousands of blooms to achieve this. The trains and trays are to


recreate that waterry fields. I have crossed the boundarys a little.


When we reach that point of finishing, then we can all stand


back and look at it, and then I hope I can walk away from it and


think, "Yeah, I have got Monet encapsulated in flowers here." I


can always remember, as a boy, back at university, you know, in those


days it was the done thing to have lots of postcards on the walls and


the impressionist painters were big. I can remember revising and looking


at water lillies for hours on end. I never thought, years later, I


would be creating a garden based on it here at Chelsea.


And Jonathan is with me now, to show us how to capture the Giverny


in flowers, or should that be give Here it is a simple basket. We can


give a basket a face-lift, a new trendy look. I was inspired by the


classical bridge, so I have covered the handle of the basket.


I have wired that on. I have covered the wires with sections of


the snake weed there. So clipped that -- snake read there. So


clipped that into place there. I have bent and looped these leaves.


It is like a frame? That is like a frame to put the flowers into. With


this leaf, all I have done is cut a point on here and forced the leaf


through there and just packed that in. All that has gone into wet foam.


When you are selecting flowers, when you have cut them or bought


them, what should you do? Let them stand or go straight into the


display? The best thing to keep flowers living is to give them a


good long drink in cold-, clean water, over-- cold, clean water


overnight. Once they go into floral foam they will take up moisture. We


want to get the stems full of moisture first. When cutting stems


I cut on a good sharp 45-degree angle. I am using a knife. If you


are less experienced that cut can be achieved with the good old


scissors. Keep your tools clean. That is a practical tip to use.


Aren't they just dreamy? I love the colour pallet you are using.


Monet's colours were subtle. But when you put them together they


create an impact. We think of the colours as gentle. He had strong


colours in certain areas. He was working with light, light just


hitting certain flowers, particularly when painting the lake


at Giverny and using the water lillies there as the inspiration


and highlighting those colours. is beautiful already. It is lovely


you can take a picture or sculpture and try and recreate it at home. I


would not have thought of doing that. We can bring flowers into art


and link it together. Anything can inspire us. Walking through an art


gallery is inspirational. Monet is my favourite artist. This flower is


a shy little one, but has a waterry feel to it, I think. And the final


touch? These fabulous flowers, which give it texture. Beautiful!


You can take that home with you. You can and enjoy it for a long


time. Thank you very much indeed. Sadly we are near the end of our


lunch time coverage for another year. It has been a week which has


delighted in more than one ways. For those of you, like me, who want


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 61 seconds


to make the moment last, here are a It's been so amazing. Some of us


got emotional. I am try now. I know the RHS are keen for things here to


be recycled. The Christchurch Church of England Primary School in


Wandsworth, they were given the growing beds from the Energy Garden


last year. They've had their first growing season this spring and are


doing very well. What is happening to your garden? The garden is going


back to the garden for the adult learners to reinstate and develop a


new part of the garden. It will bolster their learning experience.


It makes a difference. Take a little away with you. Fantastic!


Now our coverage of this year's Chelsea Flower Show is not over


just yet. You can join Alan this evening on BBC Two, when he


celebrates the nurseryman responsible for the very first


flower show here in the Royal Hospital grounds. There are two


chances to catch up with the highlights, with review programmes


on BBC One and BBC Two. And Arne Maynard is on the red button now,


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