It is medals day at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show. Nicki Chapman is up with the lark to discover who has won what as the medals are handed out.
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Here at Chelsea 2012 the months of planning, tantrums, tears, hand
wringing nail biting and pacing are finally over, because the RHS
judges have debated and decided. There isn't a single exhibitor in
this showground who hasn't dreamt of weigh up to one of these - a
coveted gold medal. It's judgment day and we've got the results.
Coming up on today's show: goals un fomed. We put the show gardens
under the microscope to find out who has won what and why. The good,
the glad and the lovely, meet the nursery newbies who struck gold.
And a touch of drama. Actress Stephanie Cole joins us to talk all
things gardening. Hello and welcome back to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show,
supported by M&G Investments. It takes a lot more than a dash of je
ne sais quoi to win over the judges here at Chelsea. Standards are high,
because this show has a reputation to keep up. Think of it as a
horticultural catwalk that the world looks to for inspiration,
ground-breaking ideas and visionary concepts in garden. An oversight in
the design, an unbalanced composition could all mean the
difference between gold and silver gilt. Nothing less than
horticultural excellence will do here. Chris, the last time we spoke
you were quite adamant. You said this garden wouldn't win a gold
because it wasn't fashionable. Tell us what happened. Well, we got a
gold, which I'm staggered about. Congratulations! Why do you think
this garden is fashionable that would go against it? It is informal,
it's wide land, it is traditional, plant-rich rather than
architectural-rich and those aren't the gardens that have been catching
the judges' eyes in 15 years. a few thatna have thrifrd for you
on gold today that are back in -- name a few that have delivered for
you on gold today? Blousey bloomers are the way forward. If you like
that, they loveed what they saw. This morning you were speechless.
am so staggered, so pleased. We are delighted for you. Thank you.
Theing a nising wait for Chelsea 2012 med adresults -- the agonising
wait for Chelsea 2012 medal results ended this morning. I set my alarm
clock to share in the delight and the devastation at the results that
had the power to reduce grown men and women to tears were hand
delivered. We are waiting for the RHS ladies to arrive, because this
is what it is all about today, the much-coveted gold medal.
Congratulations. Well done. Has it been a really hard Chelsea?
Everybody knows it has. It's been a nightmare. Give me a min it, please.
Thank you. This means a lot doesn't How did you do? Fantastic. We won
gold! Congratulations. We got a gold? Alan will be delighted. He
might have to be nice to you now. Congratulations. A gold medal.
medal, guys. Well done indeed. I love this job. I get all the kisses.
How do you feel? Elated. We are just heading to the artisan
gardens now. How do you feel? Gutted. Are you?
What an amazing morning's work. Tremendous.
I have to say, the atmosphere was electric this morning, as word
spread that an incredible nine gold medals had been awarded in the show
gardens. Chris, when you are not winning gold medals you are a judge
for the RHS. How does it work? gardens aren't judged against one
another, but ointly. You can have nine, ten, 12, perhaps no gold
medals. You write a brief and do you achieve your ambitions? The
assessors interrogate the garden. Then they feed into the judges.
They come out and giver their objective opinions. Everybody votes
and hopefully you get a gold medal. For everybody at Chelsea they have
to be a fantastic standard. Whether you get a bronze, a silver gilt or
a gold it is an achievement. certainly is. Just like the
Olympics it's the gold medals that everyone is talking about. Chris
went the look at the show garden designs that hit the horticultural
jackpot. Sarah Price may be a new girl on the block at Chelsea Flower
Show but her first, he very first large show garden blew the judges
away. I'm not alall surprised. This is a garden that set out to evoeck
the spirit and the beauty, the romance of the British countryside.
It does it in spades. The birch trees casting dappled shade,
nestling under the Avenue here at Chelsea. The planting underneath is
so beautiful and so subtle. The orchids and geranium all mingling
and mixing. As you move further down the garden formality starts to
creep in. The stones and rocks been herks wn and sawn. The water is --
hewn. The subtle planting starts to re-emerge. This is the most
difficult style of planting you can attempt - making plants look as
though they want to be here ir respective of whether the crowds
are lining the barriers. This was a gold. Peter Dowell's Corsican
garden won a gold. Jihae Hwang's brave line from the
small gardens to the Main Avenue paid off as she impressed the
judges and scooped gold with her thought provoking demilitarised
zone, to commemorate the anniversary of the Korean conflict.
Representing the art of craftsmanship, this is a gardener's
garden, packed with plants, especially the favourites, the
convince essential English roses. It is incredibly formal in
structure. Wonderful polished stone, a canal of mosaic pebbles, these
fabulous copper beech, and dotted amongst the garden absolute
formality of topiary. Primped and preened, scissors on every blade.
But the real delight is what happens undertheeth that formal
structure. It is the wash of herbaceous perennials, roses and
annuals, the cut flowers. They sweep in like an advancing tide
towards the gardener's ankles. It's a delight to be in this garden.
And as we saw earlier, even though he was late, Joe Swift was playing
it cool after his win for his very first Chelsea garden. Inspired by
the plants and natural features on his doorstep. Joe loved his Finnish
garden and the judges nodded in agreement. Gold also went to this
garden, A Rural M Hurricane se, inspired by the poet John Clare.
Native planting is key to this design.
And gold was awarded to Andy Sturgeon's traditional Arts and
Crafts garden that he updated for the modern world. The energy wave
structure that weaves its way through the garden has a modern
quality and the copper can complemented by the soft colour
palette in the planting. What sets this garden apart is the attention
to detail of a seasoned Chelsea designer. The colour of the copper
picks out the colour of the catzura. There's a wonderful candy floss
smell around this garden as the breeze animates the foliage. The
fact that when you descend the steps, there's three steps in the
classical style along the canal. There's a real sense of
spaciousness in this garden. The reflective canal helps with that
sense of space and liberation. But even the canal is not left to be
still and static and dead. This animated in an incredibly subtle
way with just a few jets creating the mur muring waves to keep your
eye focused. And the planting is to die for. Large plants used with
confidence, but a reserved palette. This garden has a sense of life.
It's a garden you walk into and think, I really want to be here.
You breathe deep, relax and take your time.
The judges have awarded Diarmuid Gavin's 80 foot pyramid with a
silver gilt. He also won the most creative show garden award. One
thing is for sure, it will be entertaining the crowds all this
week. There is one more gold to reveal but we are saving the Best
in Show till last. We'll tell you later in the programme. In the
Great Pavilion even the die-hard Chelsea veterans get stressed on
medals day, so imagine what it is like for those who've never shown
here before. In the spirit of keep calm and exhibit on, Carol went to
find out how some Great Pavilion first timers had fard under the
judges' glare. This year under this roof there are seven brand-new
exhibitors, and of them four have won gold. All that preparation, all
that work has been worthwhile. First Chelsea, first gold. Well
done Gary. Thank you very much Carol. What time but come in?
here at seven o'clock this morning, but I'm really delighted with the
gold medal. This big wait daisy... It is fabulous. It has taken a lot
of hard work, because of the way the groeg season's been, it has
taken a lot of hard work to get things in flower, particularly the
Celenesia. I'm pleased with how things have gone. When due make up
these pots? Some of them have been made up for maybe a few months but
others are left until the day we build up. Were you sitting in the
van arranging them? Almost! Wherever you look, everything is
just perfect. It is pristine. Your first Chelsea gold. I hope it's the
first of many more. Well done. Thank you very much Carol.
John has come to exhibiting rather later than most people. This is his
first Chelsea. And he's pulled it off. He has won a gold. It is
hardly surprising really. It's what you call bijou. He's made the most
of the the whole idea of height within it. And the ferns are
beautifully arranged and each one of them is a perfect specimen. Not
a frond out of place. Well done. It's brilliant. Well
done. Congratulations. First Chelsea, first gold. Absolutely.
And how did you feel when you first saw that medal? Lost for words.
That will be a first! Lit for me. You look as though you've been
celebrating already? I haven't stopped crying yet. I'm going to
cry again in a minute. Very well done. Thank you. There is no
feeling quite like it is there? We've got our other RHS gold but
this is superb. The plants are in really good condition. They managed
to get here in one piece. They are looking fresh. They look as though
they've been waiting for their Chelsea performance. Just like me.
Congratulations. Well done. Thank you very much.
The sheer diversity of the exhibits at Chelsea always surprises me.
This is Nong Nooch. The design has come all the way from Thailand.
They are relative new comers to -- newcomers to Chelsea. They've
walked away with gold. The attention to detail is incredible.
08,000 orc individuals been hand placed, which must have taken a
bucket load of patience and concentration. It is quite simply
exquisite. If you want to find out more about how Nong Nooch achieved
this display Hart Hart later be looking closer on the Red Button
after the show. The Great Pavilion isn't the only
Chelsea marquee buzzing with medal news. Every year the RHS in
conjunction with the British Floristry Association hosts a
Chelsea Young Florist of the Year competition. Make no mistake, the
art may be delicate but the rivalry between entrants is fierce. Rachel
De Thame went to meet the eager youngsters des fruit be crownsed
I always look forward to seeing the work created by young florist, and
I met up with the events director at the British Floristry
Association. We want to design and construct a chandelier to be
hanging at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee dinner. It should be no
longer than two metres, a -- no wider than a metre. What is it that
sets a winning design apart? It is a combination of things. The judges
are looking for the highest skills and standard. If you have excellent
workmanship where you can't see how it is put together, you don't know
how other flowers are stuck on, and the quality is of key importance
with no blemishes on anything. what is really the devil in the
detail? The that's right. Waiting for the result is always a nervous
moment for the young florists. Good luck, everybody. I hope it goes
really well. It's has been a long six months from start to finish but
it gives us great pleasure to announce the RHS Young Chelsea
florist of 2012 is Joe Massie. my God! Congratulations! My money
was on about four other people. I ran out of time, on the way down
here we were stopped by the traffic police. This has been the most
ridiculous Chelsea ever. How many years in a row is this now? Four
consecutive years. For the art is some achievement. You must be
really happy. Apparently there was only 0.1 of
the mark between the winner and the runner-up so next year it might be
someone else's turn. Star our stage and screen Stephanie
Cole is spending the day with us and where better to chat than in
the fruit and veg inspired exhibit, a perfect backdrop for a grown Euro
enthusiast. Welcome to Chelsea, is this your first visit? No, I have
been before, always on a Monday and I love it. The problem is you can't
buy anything on a Monday. You can make some purchases later today.
What type of Gardner are you? frightened Gardner. I get a little
bit overwhelmed at how much their areas. My garden is quite of Excise,
but I do love it. I have a bit of a fear that rather than green fingers
I have blocked thumbs. There must be many people out there, so take
courage. Do you kill your plants with love? No not deliberately but
sometimes they don't flourish. about wildlife? I love wildlife.
How do you attract them? Were live in the country in a small village,
I don't mean I have a small village but I'm living one. I have a small
area I devote to the Wildlife and that brings everything in. They are
only in the fields so they come in and have something to eat. And do
you leave them to it? You yes, absolutely. You kindly gave us a
tour of your garden last week. Shall we take a sneaky peek of it
now? Chelsea will give me great ideas, I
think. You can see more of her garden later when she joins Alan
tonight at 8 o'clock on BBC Two. Right now, you are going to have a
look around the show garden. Looking for anything in particular?
Garden intelligent people so I can ask them constant questions. It has
been a pleasure talking to you. There is still plenty to come on
today's medal-winning Chelsea. We will be revealing the fresh and
artisan gardens that have captivated the judges. Carol is in
the Great Pavilion, meeting the nursery folk who struck gold for
the first time. How did you feel when you first saw the medal?
for words. It is easy to think Chelsea is all
about big-name designers with big budgets on big plots, competing to
be big news, but step out of the limelight and off the main avenue
and there are 17 smaller gardens also competing for medals and the
highly prestigious Best In Category Award. James Alexander Sinclair
went to see who became an overnight This year, the small gardens have
been divided into two distinct categories - first of all, the
fresh gardens, and the idea is to make a small garden that is
innovative, eye-catching and exciting. The designers have been
encouraged to be brave and do anything they want, and they have.
From bicycle powered fountains... To strange things with blue string.
And even very slightly on conventional woodland retreat.
There were nine entrants competing, but surprisingly only one gold was
awarded so it also got Best In Category. It went to the green with
garden, and reduced designer Tony Smith to floods of tears. I was
going to be so cool, I was going to say "about time" but it didn't come
out like that. Can you retire now? No, bigger and better next time.
am thrilled, well done. Fresh gardens, a new category at
Chelsea. How does it work? there was a bit of everything. That
is what you need. A last the higher metals remained elusive as only two
but the gardens received the silver-gilt, awarded to thomas with
his soft machine garden, and the Renault garden by Jason pass on.
The second lot of small gardens are the artisans and there are eight of
them trying to catch the judges' eyes. The designers have to use
Two won gold. This one is inspired by the wild and rugged landscape of
Yorkshire, the home of the Bronte sisters. The other shows a unique
and characteristic style of wonderfully wobbly Moss and pebbles
and this won a gold medal and Best Congratulations, it is fantastic
news. Really good! The nursery men and women in here
have won 56 gold medals in total, but one of the gold winners went on
to scoop the Diamond Jubilee Award, which was presented by the Queen
herself. The judges deemed it to be the best exhibit in the Great
Pavilion. Out of all the gold medal-winning nurseries, what was
it that caught their eyes? It is very simple in terms of layout.
Beautiful quality, fantastic composition and wonderfully
educational. This swathe of lilies are oriental lilies. If you have
acid soils, free-draining and a lot of sunshine and you want late
flowers with beautiful fragrant, these are the ones to go for. In
the middle, these are the Azi -- azeatics. This bird over here shows
what happens if you crossed them, the hybrids. They have the warm
colours, the large flowers, the fragrance, and an ability to grow
in acid and alkaline soils. It is the colour of the medal that
means so much to the exhibitors at Chelsea, but those who just missed
out on gold still received the highly impressive silver-gilt. You
are one of the many judges here, and this garden I have to say looks
amazing to me. Todd's Botanics, they just missed out, didn't they?
Yes, they got a silver-gilt, which as you said is very impressive.
Chelsea is known internationally for its high standards and there
are nine people involved in deciding the medal Ward, and on
this occasion they judged it to be just below the gold medal, chiefly
because of the wow factor. There are nine judges, so our opinion
like very on what is the wow factor. It always comes down to opinion,
and whilst not all the judges might be expert on drought planting for
example, they are all experts on show technique. This is about
drought tolerant plants, have they achieved that with their planting?
Yes, the quality of their plants is great. They lost a few points on
detail, which was very fussy. The only real question is that whilst
we have a fabulous gold medal exhibit here in this part, we feel
it might just slip into silver-gilt here. It is the overall impression,
the flow of the stand that they just dip out on.
Out of 16 show gardens entered, this year there were nine gold
medal-winners but only one can go on to win the Chelsea Best In Show
award. This is the show garden that the RHS judges have decided is the
pinnacle in design and horticulture. I can reveal the winner of the Best
In Show garden 2012 is for the second year running he keeps the
ground, it is Cleve West. How does it feel? I am flummoxed. I don't
know what to say, really overwhelmed. I am amazing
achievement. Will you be back again next year? He not for me, I will be
having a rest. It has been such an exciting morning we have had here
at Chelsea Flower Show. Alan and Carol will be back tonight
at 8 o'clock on BBC Two, looking in more detail at the gold-medal
winning exhibit. Stephanie Cole will be showing us around her
It is medals day at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show. Nicki Chapman is up with the lark to discover who has won what as the medals are handed out. Chris Beardshaw is joined by Carol Klein and James Alexander Sinclair to take a closer look at the gold medal winning gardens and exhibits, and Rachel De Thame reveals who has won Young Florist of the Year.