Episode 12 RHS Chelsea Flower Show


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Episode 12

The designers taking inspiration from the arts take centre stage in this programme from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and Nicki Chapman creates her own artistic flower arrangement.


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This week, the Royal Hospital grounds had been littered with

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

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Thomas Hardy and many more have captured the imagination of

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

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

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paying horticultural homage to some of the greatest writers.

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From tumble down cottage and dry Stonewalls, to florally rich

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

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James Alexander-Sinclair looks at the new flowers with artistic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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what the Chelsea chop is. Literature has inflaunsed garden

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

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

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

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

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

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cottage. We got inspiration from the Dorset countryside and also

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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difficult to condense everything down. Having read the novel and

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

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linked the most common elements together and we feel we have

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

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

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

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

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

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Already Inspiration for the Naturally Dry garden comes, not

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

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

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

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

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from and the fact that those literary sources evoke such strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fragranced, is almost ridiculously disease resistent as a perfect rose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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invited the world of interior design to unleash their imagination

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in a series of themed Rural Retreats. Stylists from different

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backgrounds have taken the challenge to customise a standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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like this? Well, retreat is something that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thank you. And Vicky's Book Binders Retreat is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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get all these different colours working together. Sometimes, more

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

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

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

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

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

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love and then displaying them beautifully.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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visit the floral display inspired by Monet.

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

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

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

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

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-- guide. A lot of people think that using

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fringe - each of these has a fringed edge.

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Purpurea relates to the colour. Lease long flowers are like

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

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as well. Hence its English name - fox glove.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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think again. This year the President of the Royal

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Horticultural Society, Elizabeth Banks, has launched a personal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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you feel? Thank you very much.

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

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foreign soldiers who cannot be with us today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Flower Arrangers' Society has chosen. Last week we joined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One of the most inspirational places I have ever been privileged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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between the light and the water is really quite mesmerising.

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

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

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

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planning coming to reality and manifest itself. The design is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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hitting certain flowers, particularly when painting the lake

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at Giverny and using the water lillies there as the inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 61 seconds

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

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

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be recycled. The Christchurch Church of England Primary School in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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celebrates the nurseryman responsible for the very first

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

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chances to catch up with the highlights, with review programmes

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

:28:38.:28:45.

The designers taking inspiration from the arts take centre stage in this programme from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Presenters Nicki Chapman and Chris Beardshaw host a show packed with references to great literary legends.

There is also a chance for Nicki to create her own artistic flower arrangement as Jonathan Moseley, from the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies, demonstrates how to build a display inspired by the painter Claude Monet.