Episode 14 RHS Chelsea Flower Show


Episode 14

Monty Don and Joe Swift look back at the highlights of their week at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.


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Transcript


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We've had a week of suspense, exhilaration and a few tears. But

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now, we've come to the end of the world's most famous flower show.

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Chelsea is over for another year but before we say goodbye, here's a

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chance to enjoy some of this year's greatest hits. Sit back, put your

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feet up and settle down for our floral finale.

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Welcome back to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, an event supported by

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M Investments. Over the last six days thousands of visitors have

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flooded in to the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea to enjoy

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the breathtaking work of some of the world's best garden designers, and

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CB horticultural skills from across the world. Chelsea is the

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culmination of months of work to produce plants and show gardens just

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at their peak of perfection. Now is your chance to catch up with some of

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the highlights from this very special week in the gardening

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calendar. Will be visiting some of our favourite show gardens,

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celebrating with medal winners and meeting some of the exhibitors and

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designers who make the show such a great experience. To get a show

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garden ready for Chelsea takes an extraordinary amount of effort. That

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can test even the most experienced designer. No one knows this better

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than four times gold medal winner, James Basson. He faced a Herculean

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task finishing his garden, as Sophie Raworth found out. James Basson is

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famous for bringing a slice of Mediterranean France to Chelsea over

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the past few years. Olive groves, lavender fields, trickling streams.

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This year his garden couldn't be more different. This is

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extraordinary, what are you creating? A quarry. I'm fanatical

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about quarries, a little bit obsessed. It is a complete departure

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from what you've brought to Chelsea for the past five or six years. We

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often do quite soft lines and planting so we thought we would do

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something contrast in. We've got our wild, soft, Willie look. But against

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the hard straight lines of a quarry. What is going to rise out of this?

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Describe it to us. The whole thing has got to feel like a quarry and

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that it has been tweaked into a garden. They backfill quarries and

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plant them with weeds and olives and trees and everything is slightly

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dwarfed by the massive pillars on the left. Use a massive, that is the

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smaller one, isn't it? Yes, that's the smaller one. What will be the

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big challenges? The biggest challenge is finishing. You always

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finish! But this is a big, big builds.

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It's the moment when all the jigsaw puzzle starts to link up. The stone

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is quarried in Malta. Cut in Malta, packed in Malta, and brought out and

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laid by the Maltese hands. They've been putting it together and these

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guys with their serious skill have been making it feel knitted, tight

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and perfect. We are always very keen to start planting. Probably a bit

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too keen to start planting. I've probably been a paying client you

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don't want standing over you. I think this would be a much cooler,,,

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reserved construction if I wasn't here. Just kicking, kicking,

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kicking. This is what I would call extreme

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gardening, because I'm going up. How funny to see you up here, James!

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This is definitely extreme planting. It's a very tall, raised bed,

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really! You started the planting down there. We started in the

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woodland and we've gone from the lush landscape. As we get further

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around the garden it gets drier and harder, until we start planting dead

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things. It's looking spectacular, it's so different to what you've

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done in the past. I think because it's a very contemporary looking

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structure. It looks like a brutalist tower block. I'm quite attracted to

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that architecture. You've got a great bird's eye view of the

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showground up here. Yes, you are lucky to be up here, loads of people

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have been asking to come up, you are the first one up here. What a

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privilege! It's great! All James' hard work paid off. The result was

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an inspired and beautifully executed garden. The judges thought so too.

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It went on to receive not only a gold medal, but the Best Show Garden

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award. I have got so much pleasure from this garden but it has been

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slightly controversial. It does divide people, doesn't it. Tell me

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the story about it. I love to see how vegetation comes back in areas

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of minimal resources. I'm really into Mediterranean plants, for the

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same reasons. There's very little rainfall, very high sunshine, often

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high winds, salty winds. To see plants surviving and not looking

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perfect but natural and cranky and wonderful, for me, is exciting. I

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suppose for a lot of people, when they come to Chelsea, they say, is

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this a garden? Yes. Or is it a stage set? What's the answer? This is an

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edited landscape. Yes, the plants have naturalised and there are blogs

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in the ground naturally, well, not naturally but post-quarrying. So

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these are as if they were in the quarry? They would be more staggered

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and irregular. We've made them into a man conceived pattern, and

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organise the plants. Not by planting, more by editing, weeding.

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We might have added plants. We are really studying the fringe

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communities between steppe vegetation, pavement vegetation.

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Those fringe communities are quite hard to maintain. And you put in a

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swimming pool. We have. It's a garden, therefore it is for

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pleasure. In the heat of Malta you need to cool off. Briefly,

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environmentally, this is something you're passionate about,

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particularly with the Maltese quarries. Malta is on the southern

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tip of Europe, and its suffering from lack of water, rising

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temperatures and overpopulation. It's having to deal with all the

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things we potentially would be dealing with in years to come. And,

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at the moment, they have been slightly abusing their landscape.

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This is really a message to say, look at what you've got and please

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cherish it. Look what we've got, we've got a wonderful garden, you've

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got Best In Show, congratulations. Thank you. I think that really was a

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standout garden this year. Quite a difficult subject to get across in a

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garden but he did it beautifully. This year there were eight show

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gardens. Sophie and I checked them out. This is quite a build, isn't

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it? You've really had to build up this site. Yes, it was quite an

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ambitious builds. We brought in a lot of soil and had to Brill 's

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strong retaining walls. Yes cars you've got a neighbour next job. How

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have you found the experience? I've really enjoyed it. It's quite hectic

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with a lot of coming and going on Main Avenue but on balance it's been

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really good fun. The thing I think people will ask, is this a garden or

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a landscape? What have you created here? It is a garden, not in the

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conventional sense of the garden you'd have round the back of your

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town house, where you'd have a table and chairs and a barbecue. But it is

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a garden in the way you might have a late and a Himalayan planting. Maybe

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as part of a larger garden. I'm sure it would be fun to own and sit in

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and enjoy. The Yorkshire landscape, that's what this is all about. It's

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here to give a message and show people there is something beautiful

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up there and it's worth going to have a look. All the plants and

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materials have been sourced locally, and would grow locally? All the

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materials were sourced locally right down to the pebbles and sound. Where

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are they from? The pebbles are on loan from the beach and they are

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going back. The plants are all plants that would grow there because

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it is quite unique conditions. They aren't all growing there. The

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hedgerow is absolutely beautiful. I love the hedge row, it's one of the

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first things to go in. The planting team did an amazing job on that. You

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sourced the stone as well from the Abbey, is that right? The stone from

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the Abbey is the same sort of stone that would have been used for Whitby

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Abbey. We didn't actually take Whitby Abbey apart! I'm glad to

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hear! It's very then tick. I can hear the seagulls in the background,

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you've got a soundscape. I can smell the salt coming off the seaweed.

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Yes, that's been driving in my greenhouse for a few weeks. Thank

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you for bringing it here. Here we are, is it finished, are you happy?

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It is finished and we are very happy. It's been quite a journey but

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we are there. Where you up into the early hours this morning? We had a

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few, we were up late last night until about 10pm. We had all the

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cars with the headlights shining on the garden. But we got there. Which

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isn't what you want to be doing at Chelsea. Not quite but we had a few

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hours to spare as we did quite well. Tell us the story of this garden. We

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are standing on the Silk Road. Right at the centre of it is the legend,

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the city of Chengdu lost the Sun so they sent out four elders to find

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the sun. They were immortalised as four birds who now circle the sun.

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One of the challenges is it's not just a huge site but you get a 306

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degrees view which is the only garden in the showground. That's

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right and you can't hide anything behind a boundary, everything is on

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view. What we've tried to do here is very the experience as you walk

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around. At the back it's quite calm and green. As you approached the

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front the colour hits you and we've related the colour to the Silk Road

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to give that impact and vibrancy. And flatpack gardens, this is a

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flatpack garden, it's supposed to be easy but it's the stuff of divorces,

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isn't it? Exactly. It sounded good when we were talking about it but it

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actually has been quite difficult. To drop this side of object as a

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flatpack garden into place was a challenge but it's worked out.

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Almost divorced territory there at any point? No! They were hammering

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it in! You both need a well-deserved rest, I think. It's been a long road

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to Chengdu. Well, Chris, you've made fractal theory clear. Even I can

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understand it now. The whole garden is based on that concept. It's based

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on the natural patterns of nature and trying to understand the way

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natural patterns relate to gardens, and also where they occur elsewhere.

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The understanding of music is an integral part of that. Earlier this

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week the National youth Orchestra were performing that peace that has

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been written just for this garden. Wasn't it fantastic. I believed

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there was an overlap between gardens and music and the vocabulary was

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common but there must be something else. Both stimulate the emotions

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and Massad the soul. When you put those two things together I wanted

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to know if there was an amplification of that effect. If you

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are standing here when the orchestra were playing, undoubtedly there was

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an amplification. It was wonderful. We've got landscapes, replications

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of landscapes but yours is a garden and that's what people want. It's a

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garden design show, isn't it? It's a garden which pulls many strands

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together. It's about not only getting community and children

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involved, whether it's in the artwork or the roof or the school

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who are the recipients of the musical stage, the planting goes on

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to communities and stimulates community gardens, to particular

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gardens in east London. It's about talking about the beauty of

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gardening and inspiring people. I love your garden, it's fantastic

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this year. As well as James Basson's garden

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three others won gold medals. Royal bank of Canada garden with a forest

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with mature pine trees, boulders and a burned pavilion. Breaking Ground

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garden took inspiration from Heathen planting. Themes of breaking down

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barriers to education. The Linklaters garden for Maggies

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created a private space behind a hedge to offer relief and beauty to

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those offering from cancer. The ultimate for any plant lover at

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Chelsea is the Great Pavilion. Every year it sets the gold standard for

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horticultural quality. Yes, it's truly one of the wonders of the

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gardening world. It has over 100 exhibitors under one roof. That's a

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lot of class acts. Who better to be mistress of ceremonies than our very

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own Carole Klein. Roll up, roll up. Welcome to the

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greatest floral carnival on earth. It's time to perk up your petals,

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pump out that perfume, and turn your very best side to the cameras.

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It's time to dive into this oceanic display of clematis. Here are wave

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after wave of pastal perfection. You can almost hear the sound of the

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sea. If you plunge under the surface, you

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are swimming alongside a shoal of silvery fish. The creativity in here

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is breathtaking. It's out of this world.

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Some of the stands in here are on such a scale and they have so much

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penache. Rather than walking through a floral display, you feel as though

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you are immersed in a fantasy garden.

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Just look at this stand. Form, texture, colour. Pure beauty.

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It's sublime. No gala performance would be

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complete without its superstars. And these aren't just any old orchids.

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These are amongst the best in the world from the Eric Young Foundation

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inIersy. How lucky we are they've graced us with their presence.

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-- Jersey. David objects tin's roses are pure

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romance. It's not just their colour that enchants, but these waves of

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perfume that waft through the air bringing a whole new dimension to

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our experience in the Great Pavilion.

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When all the hard work is over and the medals are handed out, it's a

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moment of pure magic. It's not all about the gardens. In

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the Great Pavilion, all the exhibitors have come in this morning

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fighting - biting their nails, they've had a sleepless night

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waiting to see what the judges have given them. It's brilliant!

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Yeah, got gold. That's the star of the show, isn't it? Have you told

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her? I have told her this morning, yes. I talked to them all this

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morning. Very happy. We are overjoyed.

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Gold! We can breathe now. Yeah. There we

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go. Yes, a gold. Well done.

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Well done! Thank you, thank you very much.

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What have you got? We have got... We have got a silver!

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We are over the moon. Oh! I am so excited. I am so happy. You

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got a gold? ? I got a gold. So happy! I mean, beyond happy.

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Now with 61 gold medals awarded there is a golden glow inside the

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pavilion this year. But there is still one very important award yet

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to be revealed, the Diamond Jubilee Award given to the best exhibit in

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the whole of the pavilion. This year it went to Penwirt plants.

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Congratulations, it's a big thing. Biggest of the big. How does it

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feel? Over the moon. Fantastic. Lots of tears yesterday morning and every

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time people talk about it you think I am going to cry again but I have

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been told I am not allowed to again. Any inkling it might come your way?

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None whatsoever. You always like to think you have a chance of having to

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win a gold. You had to get a gold to get the award? You have to have a

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12-point gold, you are not allowed to drop any marks. You are put up on

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your panel which were the ornamentals, we were the best of

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that. This is perfection in itself? Yeah, well I like to think we are in

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the best in the world now. It's tricky because you have a huge range

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of plants. . How come you got a wide range of plants? We are representing

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the garden we work from in Penberth and we grow all those there, we

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specialise in South African plants. Why South African plants? We have

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similar conditions. We are in Cornwall, we are at Land's End.

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Granite bed rock. We have the air quality. Reflections from the sea.

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We can really go for it with South African stuff. Plenty of rain as

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well. Yeah. So it's quite wet. Wet and free drainage. As far as the

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exhibit it's stunning and you have three different areas and the

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visitors can walk through and really get up close to the plants. How does

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that work with the two of you? We do a mock-up before the show, this year

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it was the main section. When we were trying it, it was too windy to

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even do it. Too windy down there. You can only do it, you had to play

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it by ear on site? ? We had to wing it really. I didn't want to say

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that. Because we know the plants, we propagate everything and we know how

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they're going to react together. It's not that it's easy, but we just

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know what we are doing with those plants. Yeah. You certainly do.

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Congratulations. Thank you. It's absolutely stunning. Thank you.

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Thank you. Nice to meet you both. One of the best things about Chelsea

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is the passion and enthusiasm you find here. There are hundreds of

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expert growers, all of them generous with their advice and thousands of

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devoted gardeners from all walks of life. One of them is the actress

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Joanna Lumley. It's lovely to see you here. Hello,

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thank you. Are you a regular to Chelsea? I am lucky enough to come

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most years and most years on a Monday and I love that. The first

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time I came I was about 18 and I was staying with my aunt in Earl's

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Court. And it was Friday when they sold off the plants in those days,

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that was the end of the Chelsea Flower Show and I remember buying a

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lily that high in a pot. And not realising I didn't know how to get

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back to Earl's Court and I got a lift in an ice-cream van and the

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fare he exacted was a kiss. That's the 60s for you! Are you a gardener?

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Presumably you wouldn't have been buying plants. And I am a gardener.

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We have a long thin garden in Stockwell, the kind people who sold

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us the house had divided into three rooms. The first bit people go how

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lovely, and my gosh you can go through here and you come to fish

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ponds and a pear tree and they go but it goes on and you go down to

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the end and there is a walnut tree I planted and I adore it because we

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pick our own pears, apples, plums, we have walnuts, I never managed to

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get one because the squirrels get there first. Figures. Lemons. I

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brought a picture of the lemon crop yesterday. About two kilos of lemon.

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Do you keep them outside winter? All winter. I couldn't do that. This is

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the heat of London. It's divine, I love it. I should put in here that

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it's what I would call a wild garden. It's how I love it. A little

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bit, maybe too wild for me. An abandoned garden. Do you love it

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because of the way it looks or because of the wildlife it attracts

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or what is it? I am very keen on wildlife. Butterflies and insects

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and bees. I adore the foxes, I whistle them in if they want to have

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supper. We have squirrels, I know, but they are adorably funny to watch

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acrobats, birds, birds. So those are all important for me. Rain is

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important, when people say it's going to be a bad day, but is it

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going to rain, sweet rain. Weather is such an integral part of

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gardening. Rather than seeing it as an enemy it is, what is. We were

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chatting earlier about, not being old but having more time and more

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age and one of the things I have learned is to embrace weather. Yeah.

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Not to see it as an enemy. Not to predict how it ought to be be. Take

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what comes. And bring with you something so that you are not angry

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and cross. If you are going to be frozen, take something in your bag

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you can wrap around you or take off. What do you take from Chelsea? Oh...

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I just adore it here. I feel that if you didn't have a faith, and you

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came to Chelsea and looked at what's here, you would end up believing in

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a new God which is nature, the oldest God of all. Thank you very

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much indeed. Thanks, Monty. Now Chelsea isn't all about grand

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show gardens and vast statement spaces, there is also plenty of

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inspiration for the smaller garden as Adam Frost found out.

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Gardens seem to be shrinking by the day. For me that doesn't mean you

:26:07.:26:11.

can't have a beautiful garden. I think there are a load of ideas out

:26:12.:26:16.

there to make a small space fill a lot bigger.

:26:17.:26:28.

This really is a small garden. It's actually five metres by seven

:26:29.:26:34.

metres. There is so much going on. You might look and think I couldn't

:26:35.:26:39.

do that. And I am not sure I could even do some of the detail in this

:26:40.:26:44.

garden but there's so many ideas in here that can really help you make

:26:45.:26:49.

your space feel much bigger. In smaller gardens we tend to forget

:26:50.:26:53.

that actually we have more space around the garden than we have on

:26:54.:26:58.

the surface. We accept we have a fence or a wall and if you think

:26:59.:27:01.

about those boundaries they're partly a design process, point one,

:27:02.:27:08.

you can make the space feel bigger. Here, the back wall is sort of

:27:09.:27:13.

wall-to-wall meets green. Here, if you imagine if you wanted an office

:27:14.:27:17.

at home, by lifting this building up and carrying the garden straight

:27:18.:27:21.

under all of a sudden proportions feel beautiful. Borrowed landscape.

:27:22.:27:27.

There is a lovely tree outside of this garden, so if you imagine a

:27:28.:27:31.

tree in a neighbour's garden, maybe using that colour of that tree or

:27:32.:27:35.

the leaf of that tree and bringing it into your garden, and you start

:27:36.:27:38.

to lose your boundaries which makes your garden feel bigger.

:27:39.:27:42.

I think it's absolutely exquisite. Ultimately this is really a hole in

:27:43.:28:00.

the ground, a few steps down. Some nice seating. Surrounded by

:28:01.:28:05.

planting. All of a sudden it changes the atmosphere totally. I am engaged

:28:06.:28:09.

with the garden, it feels comfortable. My eye at the same

:28:10.:28:12.

level as plants, grasses are moving and flowers look beautiful. It's a

:28:13.:28:17.

simple thing to do. This garden plays well with perspective, you

:28:18.:28:21.

imagine the path closer to the house starts wide and as it comes out into

:28:22.:28:25.

the garden it gets thinner and thinner. It makes the back wall feel

:28:26.:28:30.

much further away. Sometimes actually being brave

:28:31.:28:33.

enough to use a large area of water in a small space can work really

:28:34.:28:37.

well. It's reflective, it bounces light around the garden. On top of

:28:38.:28:41.

that, it really gives the sort of garden space to breathe.

:28:42.:28:50.

What I really love about this space is actually it's really simple. If

:28:51.:28:58.

you think about it in plant form - planned form it's rectangles and

:28:59.:29:01.

this change of level slow movement into the space. And it brings you up

:29:02.:29:08.

on to this big slab that goes out over the water and the water pushes

:29:09.:29:13.

the planting away and it leaves you with this feeling you have this

:29:14.:29:17.

really lovely useable space. However small your garden is, there really

:29:18.:29:20.

is some ideas out there that can make the space feel so much bigger.

:29:21.:29:30.

There are two competition categories for the smaller gardens at Chelsea,

:29:31.:29:36.

you have the concept actual fresh gardens that deliver a message for

:29:37.:29:39.

design and the more traditional art is San gardens. Now, I was lucky

:29:40.:29:45.

enough to get the opportunity to explore some of these gardens as the

:29:46.:29:47.

sun set on an empty showground. As the light is falling at us, I am

:29:48.:29:59.

able to roam around, free. This is where the Artisan gardens are.

:30:00.:30:04.

They're small but they are packed with ideas and inspiration, and

:30:05.:30:14.

often just plain beauty. There are essentially two types of gardens

:30:15.:30:19.

that you find here. One tends to be very naturalistic and uses found

:30:20.:30:25.

objects and found landscapes. The other is much more creative in the

:30:26.:30:29.

sense that it is made from new, it looks like nothing you will find in

:30:30.:30:32.

the countryside. And this is one of the latter, it's by Sarah Ebberley.

:30:33.:30:41.

It immediately sums up the sun and vitality and colour of Spain.

:30:42.:30:54.

Despite being the designer's first-ever show garden, the Poetry

:30:55.:31:07.

Lover's Garden is incredibly confident and strong. It does

:31:08.:31:12.

nothing particularly original, the planting, the stonework, the way it

:31:13.:31:16.

set out reminds me of lots of show gardens I've seen. But what it does,

:31:17.:31:23.

it does so well. The idea is it's a place to come and find inspiration

:31:24.:31:28.

and retreat, either to read a poem or perhaps even right one. Now, as

:31:29.:31:36.

the light falls around me, and although the city still baffles

:31:37.:31:42.

beyond the Park, Chelsea slips into night and I'm just going to have a

:31:43.:31:52.

few moments to enjoy it to myself. Well, as you can see the Artisan

:31:53.:31:56.

gardens give designers a chance to create their vision in a tiny space,

:31:57.:32:00.

often with breathtaking attention to detail. We took a closer look at

:32:01.:32:13.

some gold winning gardens. Is it a night gold-medal? Thank you very

:32:14.:32:19.

much! This garden is incredible. You said you wanted to create an Eden

:32:20.:32:22.

away from the turmoil of the world. Do you think you've been successful?

:32:23.:32:33.

I'm thinking more like 110%. The incredible thing is, as you walk

:32:34.:32:38.

around this garden, even at the back of your garden, it's immaculate.

:32:39.:32:45.

There's more attention to detail at the back of your garden and some

:32:46.:32:55.

people put at the front. So when I met you before, you were talking

:32:56.:32:59.

about taking this glass building and shipping it from Japan. You didn't

:33:00.:33:02.

have a substitute and you were bringing it from the other side of

:33:03.:33:06.

the world here and I felt so nervous. A single crack and you

:33:07.:33:09.

don't have a spare. How has that been? You've pulled it off again. I

:33:10.:33:18.

need to know, this is your 12th time at Chelsea, is there going to be a

:33:19.:33:25.

13th? Yes Sir! Challenge! LAUGHTER See you next year, with another gold

:33:26.:33:33.

medal! I hope! I no! This is the seat lip garden designed by

:33:34.:33:38.

Catherine MacDonald. What a stunning garden it is. I'm especially drawn

:33:39.:33:44.

to the planting. It's got a perfect balance between lights, ephemeral,

:33:45.:33:48.

fluffy plants and slightly heavier plants, to balance it together. Two

:33:49.:33:53.

of my particular favourites are down here. This is totally tangerine. It

:33:54.:34:01.

has only arrived in the last few years and it such a reliable border

:34:02.:34:06.

plant. It goes on for about six months and it's really easy to look

:34:07.:34:11.

after. Of course, it has that beautiful, coppery, orange quality

:34:12.:34:14.

to the flowers. It pairs fantastically with this fern. Copper

:34:15.:34:23.

is a binding theme that pulls the whole garden together, not just in

:34:24.:34:26.

the planting but the hard landscape as well. These copper pipes run all

:34:27.:34:31.

the way around the garden and create a visual flow. The copper links

:34:32.:34:35.

these benches at the front and the back of the garden. The idea is they

:34:36.:34:40.

represent traditional alchemy and modern alchemy. Running through the

:34:41.:34:47.

top of the two benches are copper rills carrying water which creates

:34:48.:34:50.

this unity through the whole garden. I think the Seedlip Garden has to be

:34:51.:35:00.

one of my favourites at Chelsea 2017. Fabulous garden. It looks

:35:01.:35:08.

great. There are lots of and weeds in here, we do at Chelsea, are you

:35:09.:35:15.

serious? We are serious. Weeds or wild flowers can be really stunning.

:35:16.:35:18.

There is an irony as well because you think a lot of weeds are really

:35:19.:35:22.

difficult to get rid of like docks and dandelions. When you try to get

:35:23.:35:27.

rid of they persist and went disappear. When you give them a bit

:35:28.:35:32.

of love and TLC, they show off. They aren't as easy to grow. They will

:35:33.:35:44.

show off. The horse, he looks good. He's slightly rusted... Absolutely.

:35:45.:35:49.

The horse has only recently been finished. We are really chuffed with

:35:50.:35:54.

it, it's taken on that really nice rusty feel. Eventually it will get a

:35:55.:35:59.

really dark rusty colour. How many horseshoes? There are between 300

:36:00.:36:04.

and 400 horseshoes. Some of them are donated by the Royal family. It's a

:36:05.:36:10.

really nice piece and we are chuffed with it. It looks great. What did

:36:11.:36:21.

Clippy think this garden? He over liked this garden, started munching

:36:22.:36:25.

around. At one point they said, can we bring Clippy onto the garden,

:36:26.:36:31.

that can't happen! It looks stunning in this dappled shade. You got a

:36:32.:36:35.

gold medal, I'm not surprised. I bet the visitors really loved this

:36:36.:36:41.

garden. Congratulations chaps. Six Artisan gardens got gold this year

:36:42.:36:46.

but only one of them could be awarded Best Artisan design. I

:36:47.:36:52.

caught up with the winner. Graham, congratulations. It's the big yet

:36:53.:36:59.

again, you won it. Two years ago, you got gold and Best In Show but

:37:00.:37:04.

before that you got a few silver than silvergilt. You've nailed it

:37:05.:37:07.

now and you know what it takes to get there. Yes, got there in the

:37:08.:37:12.

end, really pleased with it. You aren't here every year are you? I'm

:37:13.:37:20.

a biannual Chelsea garden designer. The way you conjure up the

:37:21.:37:23.

industrial landscape, have you sourced all the bits and pieces in

:37:24.:37:27.

here? I was fortunate enough to be able to get the crane. My

:37:28.:37:31.

grandfather bought the crane 40 or 50 years ago. When I went to look at

:37:32.:37:35.

it it was immersed in nature, branches had grown through it and it

:37:36.:37:40.

kind of planted the seed of the garden and I germinated it over 18

:37:41.:37:45.

months. I used the crane throughout the garden. This was all in the

:37:46.:37:51.

nursery? Yes, in an old swamp area. We used to go down there as kids, I

:37:52.:37:55.

managed to salvage it in the winter months. It was a bit of a mission.

:37:56.:38:03.

It's the industrial landscape, it's not just where nature has taken

:38:04.:38:06.

over, someone has God and displays, haven't they? The brief was that

:38:07.:38:11.

people are living in warehouse accommodation and have commissioned

:38:12.:38:17.

a design to build a garden for relaxation. You are celebrating the

:38:18.:38:23.

heritage because a lot of these wharfs and warehouse blocks have

:38:24.:38:27.

been converted and often just completely get rid of that landscape

:38:28.:38:32.

outside. 100%. It would be great to incorporate this sort of thing.

:38:33.:38:38.

Instead of paving it, to create an atmosphere with this curiosity and

:38:39.:38:42.

industrial heritage really fits in with the Artisan category, I think.

:38:43.:38:46.

And you are celebrating conifers, not many people here are. You put

:38:47.:38:51.

them together so beautifully. Our heritage at the nurseries is growing

:38:52.:38:56.

pines and conifers. I picked the textural ones that relate to the

:38:57.:39:01.

material colour, also some are a bit windswept with the prevailing wind

:39:02.:39:05.

going down the river. They give the garden a bit more depth and height.

:39:06.:39:10.

You borrowed that landscape beyond, you haven't put a boundary in, it

:39:11.:39:15.

feels like it goes on. The location was perfect for the garden, because

:39:16.:39:19.

there is no boundaries. It's like a section of a larger garden so it

:39:20.:39:24.

works really well. Great to see you and congratulations again. Thank

:39:25.:39:30.

you. The Fresh Garden category reflects the modern side of garden

:39:31.:39:34.

design at Chelsea, and this year there were five entries and two gold

:39:35.:39:39.

medals. Juliette Sargent and Nicki Chapman took a look at the designs

:39:40.:39:42.

that impressed the judges and visitors alike.

:39:43.:39:55.

This is the Breast Cancer Now Garden, through the microscope. It's

:39:56.:40:02.

a garden with a really strong theme. And as we walk through the garden,

:40:03.:40:08.

we can read the details that the designer Ruth Willmott has

:40:09.:40:10.

incorporated in order to tell us this really important story. This

:40:11.:40:21.

garden is all about the transformation from disease to

:40:22.:40:25.

health. In the front of the garden, these rugged rocks represent

:40:26.:40:29.

cancerous cells. But further down the garden, as you take a journey,

:40:30.:40:34.

you come to smooth stones which represent healthy cells. In the

:40:35.:40:37.

centre of the garden there is a black rectangular pool which

:40:38.:40:42.

represents the microscope slides that scientists use to study the

:40:43.:40:50.

cells. These circles represent the microscope that scientists use every

:40:51.:40:55.

day to research into the cheers and treatments for cancer. The idea of

:40:56.:41:03.

magnification follows through into the planting itself. Here we have

:41:04.:41:07.

really fine cut leaves and small flower heads, but as you look down

:41:08.:41:12.

the garden to the magnified end, the flowers are chunky and the leaves

:41:13.:41:15.

are big. A good example would be this little flower is mirrored by

:41:16.:41:28.

the large, bold peonies at that end. But the question on everybody's lips

:41:29.:41:33.

is why didn't it get a gold. Of course, I don't know for certain,

:41:34.:41:39.

but I have a theory. Ruth Willmott loves to design conceptual gardens.

:41:40.:41:44.

Most gardens are either purely conceptual or they are very garden

:41:45.:41:49.

knee. Whereas Reeve has set herself a challenge in designing something

:41:50.:41:54.

that falls between, and in doing so she has just missed out on that

:41:55.:42:02.

elusive top prize. To me, this garden is thoughtful, beautiful and

:42:03.:42:06.

atmospheric. I think the fact it is incredibly popular with the visitors

:42:07.:42:16.

speaks for itself. A splash of the Americas has spilled out of the

:42:17.:42:19.

Great Pavilion and into the gardens this year. With this Fresh Garden

:42:20.:42:25.

beneath a Mexican sky. Today I think is the perfect date to be viewing

:42:26.:42:31.

your garden. It absolutely is. When I started designing this garden I

:42:32.:42:37.

said if the sun shines in its full glory it will be perfect. And what a

:42:38.:42:42.

day to be standing here with you just admiring it. When you start the

:42:43.:42:46.

whole process, what were you influenced by? Was it the Mexican

:42:47.:42:51.

design, or somewhere you've been on holiday? I was actually influenced

:42:52.:43:00.

by the modernist Mexican architect Louis Barragan. I have Indian

:43:01.:43:04.

ancestry, born in Kenya, surrounded by beautiful women in gorgeous

:43:05.:43:08.

saris. Subconsciously it was the colour I was attracted to. That is a

:43:09.:43:13.

very, very dramatic backdrop. So he was your influence? Absolutely. When

:43:14.:43:20.

you were designing the garden, what did you have in mind? The blue sky

:43:21.:43:24.

today shows of the colours so well. How difficult is it to recreate that

:43:25.:43:28.

planting or did you just take elements of it? Part of the planting

:43:29.:43:35.

scheme was to show Louis Barragan's life. He struggled to become a

:43:36.:43:39.

recognised architect. I also wanted to introduce plants that people can

:43:40.:43:43.

take home and grow themselves as well. There are a number of plants

:43:44.:43:48.

in the garden that people can take home, and actually using their own

:43:49.:43:57.

gardens. I have an enormous agave in my garden, I didn't think it would

:43:58.:44:01.

grow that large but it is huge. They are pinpointed around the garden.

:44:02.:44:06.

What is that tree behind us? That tree is commonly known as the

:44:07.:44:09.

strawberry tree. It's gorgeous because when the first layer of skin

:44:10.:44:14.

peels off you get this lovely orange streaking on the branches and it's

:44:15.:44:20.

absolutely gorgeous and will survive in this country. The architectural

:44:21.:44:24.

structures and the cacti really works, doesn't it? It definitely

:44:25.:44:28.

does. There's a whole hierarchy in this garden where you've got the

:44:29.:44:33.

trees, the specimen plants, then you've got this lovely, soft

:44:34.:44:35.

planting that weaves through all the lovely structure. It works perfectly

:44:36.:44:40.

well. The bursts of colour through the Greens and the greys. It

:44:41.:44:44.

certainly works and congratulations on your silvergilt medal yesterday.

:44:45.:44:51.

Your face said it all. The sun is shining, it's going to be a trend is

:44:52.:44:52.

weak. We are loving your garden. Whilst the Main Avenue show gardens

:44:53.:45:03.

gather all the attention, most of it, the smaller gardens of all the

:45:04.:45:06.

different types are just as interesting for me, both in the way

:45:07.:45:10.

that they use their plants and in the details of design.

:45:11.:45:17.

This is a great example. It's only a small footprint but it's a

:45:18.:45:19.

combination of architecture and garden that I really love. Upstairs

:45:20.:45:24.

we have a high rise garden and down here a low rise garden in the shade.

:45:25.:45:28.

All the materials have been beautifully thought about. The views

:45:29.:45:33.

have been framed. It really feels like a very cohesive design and a

:45:34.:45:36.

great example of what you can do in your own space. Here is a nice crisp

:45:37.:45:43.

boxed hedging and yew hedging and into this lush shady environment.

:45:44.:45:48.

These plants don't get much sun, they don't get much rain. We still

:45:49.:45:55.

have this wonderful textural foliage of plants like the tree ferns and

:45:56.:46:01.

the gingers. I like this rusty metal work that ties in with the detailing

:46:02.:46:05.

on the steps and it shows you can grow plants in the city in an urban

:46:06.:46:09.

environment, plants should always come first. Don't you think? They

:46:10.:46:13.

should. The way they're worked together with the design should be

:46:14.:46:16.

seamless and it works here. It's a lovely garden. I think it's going to

:46:17.:46:19.

be one of those gardens, there are always a handful at Chelsea, that

:46:20.:46:22.

gets better and better every time you look at it.

:46:23.:46:29.

This year, the RHS introduced a new type of garden at Chelsea. These

:46:30.:46:35.

weren't judged but were created to inspire visitors and to celebrate

:46:36.:46:40.

Radio 2's 50th birthday. Each of these five feel-good gardens had a

:46:41.:46:44.

presenter as its champion and focussed on one of the five senses.

:46:45.:46:51.

This garden is for your eyes and boy is it a celebration. The colour is

:46:52.:46:59.

just exploding out. But not in a chaotic random way, in the most

:47:00.:47:02.

extraordinary controlled celebration and triumph and march of every

:47:03.:47:06.

colour. It's wonderful. Thank you. I love it. Everybody else is loving

:47:07.:47:11.

it. It's a good job you do too. One of the things that's interesting is

:47:12.:47:13.

everybody is saying, not just it looks nice, but it's a garden. It's

:47:14.:47:18.

a garden they feel they could have at home, could you? It really is a

:47:19.:47:24.

garden. I have noticed today is that we planted ten days ago, it was at

:47:25.:47:29.

the height of the Silver Birch frame and all those poppies and sunflowers

:47:30.:47:32.

have crowded it now. Things are really growing. Are they planted in

:47:33.:47:37.

the ground or in pots? A lot are in pots. But still growing. Obviously

:47:38.:47:43.

it's incredibly carefully constructed. But could people do

:47:44.:47:47.

this at home, is it possible or do you take the idea and a couple of

:47:48.:47:52.

colour combinations or could you create something as rich as this

:47:53.:47:57.

that's sustainable? You can. A lot are self-seeding. There is a

:47:58.:48:02.

structure. And some roses. There are bedding areas that will be changed

:48:03.:48:07.

every year. You can bed out. I have beds like this at home. They will

:48:08.:48:12.

give you a succession because if you cut them it's like dead heading.

:48:13.:48:17.

It's live heading. You have colour outside and you are replenishing it

:48:18.:48:22.

by bringing it inside. That's the key difference to most perennials.

:48:23.:48:29.

You can't really do much in shade, can you, you are limited? You

:48:30.:48:37.

definitely are. There are some things, we have a shady zone here.

:48:38.:48:43.

You are more restricted because annuals make food from the sun and

:48:44.:48:46.

it's like putting them on a starvation diet if you put them in

:48:47.:48:51.

the shade. One thing I know some people have raised is that annuals

:48:52.:48:56.

and particularly some of the most popular ones have flower heads that

:48:57.:49:02.

are very busy and not so good for pollenators, is it possible to

:49:03.:49:05.

balance having lots of wildlife and this amount of colour? It genuinely

:49:06.:49:08.

is. You want to look for ones that you can see the centre of the

:49:09.:49:12.

flower. This is perfect, it's why they're so busy. The poppies, they

:49:13.:49:18.

go for the pollen, the bees, not the nectar there. Things like this

:49:19.:49:24.

beautiful single dahlia which is elaborate, but if you watch the bees

:49:25.:49:29.

are feasting on the centre of the flower. They aren't contradictory at

:49:30.:49:33.

all. We are all feasting on the colour. It's lovely. It's a triumph.

:49:34.:49:37.

Thank you very much for bringing it to Chelsea. Well, it's been really

:49:38.:49:44.

good fun. Good. James, welcome back to Chelsea. How

:49:45.:49:48.

long has it been? It's been 18 years. Probably when you were still

:49:49.:49:51.

at school. I remember some of the gardens you have done in the past,

:49:52.:49:54.

it's wonderful to see you back. This is so brave and different. Tell me

:49:55.:50:00.

about it. Well, the idea is it's a science garden. How do you get sound

:50:01.:50:04.

into gardens and either you play loud music which we can't do at

:50:05.:50:08.

Chelsea because it will scare the horses or you have whispering

:50:09.:50:11.

grasses that nobody will hear. So the idea was to bring in something

:50:12.:50:14.

new. The other thing about Chelsea is it's there to do new and exciting

:50:15.:50:20.

things. We are standing in a woodland glade with rather soft

:50:21.:50:22.

lovely wavy wood land planting around it. Then you start to look

:50:23.:50:26.

closer and it's actually in the quite what you expected. I love

:50:27.:50:31.

that. There's so much more to this garden than initially meets the eye.

:50:32.:50:35.

I describe them as Easter eggs in design terms, you think you get it

:50:36.:50:39.

and you suddenly notice something. Tell me about the ripples through

:50:40.:50:43.

the water. There are speakers in them. That's where the sound comes

:50:44.:50:47.

from. If you play certain frequents of sound through water it makes

:50:48.:50:52.

different patterns. It's all been programmed by some very clever young

:50:53.:50:57.

sound artists, so each speaker does a different thing. Some are

:50:58.:51:01.

flickering across the surface and some are booming and loud. It's

:51:02.:51:06.

about taking the bass out. Now it's playing... It's doing weird things.

:51:07.:51:12.

I notice there is bits that look almost like Jack Frost painting live

:51:13.:51:15.

over the surface and some look like fish jumping up and down, it's

:51:16.:51:19.

dramatic. To turn sound into a visual form is something I have

:51:20.:51:22.

never seen before. It's fun. It's the only way you can do it, because

:51:23.:51:25.

essentially what we are doing here creating a show is it's a visual

:51:26.:51:29.

spectacle. We have to try and make sound something you can see and we

:51:30.:51:32.

have a strip of gravel on the front the visitor will be able to put

:51:33.:51:37.

their foot on and there is a vibration that travels up your leg.

:51:38.:51:41.

The idea is if you go to a concert and stand too close to a speaker you

:51:42.:51:45.

feel the music. My misspent youth, I remember that. Here you are feeling

:51:46.:51:49.

it and seeing it but you can't hear it. But it's there. You can roughly

:51:50.:51:55.

hear it, just, it's quite low. Then you see it and on top of that the

:51:56.:51:59.

planting is spectacular. Talk about a study in the calming effect of

:52:00.:52:03.

green. I have an amazing planting team that were helping me. As you

:52:04.:52:07.

know with Chelsea, it's not just one person. It's a whole load of people.

:52:08.:52:11.

I had very talented sound artists who helped with the speakers and

:52:12.:52:16.

amazing planting team who helped to put this vision together. The brief

:52:17.:52:23.

was create a slightly sinister woodland. The time you have been

:52:24.:52:27.

able to do it, it's spectacular. The one garden I would see at Chelsea,

:52:28.:52:31.

it's this one. Thank you very much, that's sweet of you. With Jon

:52:32.:52:37.

Wheatley in his taste garden. This celebrates everything I love about

:52:38.:52:41.

gardening, it's something about the joy of it. I love the way that here

:52:42.:52:45.

we are at Chelsea, it's not trying to pretend it is anything else, it's

:52:46.:52:51.

a veg plot. That's right. It's my passion, as well. What is lovely is

:52:52.:52:55.

the colours and forms and shapes and textures of of these plants and you

:52:56.:52:59.

can eat them. You are a master, you were telling me you won over 20 gold

:53:00.:53:06.

medals. Why have you chosen the pattern you have, a lot of brassicas

:53:07.:53:12.

on that side. What I am intrigued by is that there is a mixture of old

:53:13.:53:18.

and new here. There is some very new, some interesting plants from

:53:19.:53:23.

China. The pak-choi and Chinese cabbage. We have done traditional

:53:24.:53:28.

old style lettuce and new ones and the texture and form as well as the

:53:29.:53:31.

taste of these plants is one of the things that we tried to demonstrate

:53:32.:53:36.

in the garden. I was thinking that olives, 20, 30 years ago if you saw

:53:37.:53:43.

an olive at Chelsea it was under canvas, or exotic thing, a

:53:44.:53:47.

Mediterranean plant. Yes, it was. We can grow these now. Climate has

:53:48.:53:52.

changed. I know that a lot are grown under glass, as well. One of the

:53:53.:53:57.

other things we have tried to do is not only look at the foliage and the

:53:58.:54:02.

root but also at the flowers. The pea flowers, and we have gone

:54:03.:54:05.

worldwide to research most of the work in here. Well, I know you have

:54:06.:54:09.

only had a short time, how long did you have to prepare? About 11 weeks.

:54:10.:54:13.

What was the toughest thing getting this ready in 11 weeks? Toughest

:54:14.:54:17.

thing was for my colleague who must take the credit for growing these

:54:18.:54:22.

fantastic vegetables, Terry Porter, to get them all to this pristine

:54:23.:54:26.

condition. What's been interesting is the public response and the

:54:27.:54:29.

passion that people have shown standing out on the edge of the

:54:30.:54:34.

garden. Is that young and old or old people like me who are used to it? I

:54:35.:54:38.

suppose both of us are of an age. But my passion is to get young

:54:39.:54:43.

people involved. Also the 30 and 40-year-olds that have small

:54:44.:54:45.

patches. They're going to come here and are going to love it and

:54:46.:54:50.

hopefully they'll go home and will grow some veg and will never stop.

:54:51.:54:53.

It's a brilliant garden, thank you so much. Thank you.

:54:54.:54:59.

The feel-good gardens were a great success. And a welcome addition to

:55:00.:55:04.

this year's Chelsea because there were only eight show gardens,

:55:05.:55:09.

instead of last year's 17. I caught up with Sue Biggs to find out how

:55:10.:55:13.

the week had gone and what she's planning next.

:55:14.:55:19.

Now, Sue, we are coming to the end of the week, which to be honest at

:55:20.:55:24.

the beginning some of us were feeling, not anxious about, but we

:55:25.:55:26.

knew it was going to shall a different week because the show is

:55:27.:55:30.

different. Yes, it is. How has it gone? It's gone brilliantly. The

:55:31.:55:35.

atmosphere on the show this year has been absolutely extraordinary. The

:55:36.:55:37.

weather, of course, has helped massively. Yeah. Couldn't have been

:55:38.:55:41.

better really. No, couldn't. But all the energy and the passion and the

:55:42.:55:45.

innovation here at this show, whether in the pavilion with the

:55:46.:55:50.

nurserymen or the gardens outside, all the different categories,

:55:51.:55:55.

especially the feel-good gardens and the beautiful artisan and one of the

:55:56.:55:59.

gorgeous Main Avenue gardens. Why do you think that is? What's great

:56:00.:56:02.

sometimes when you have a problem that you have to overcome it does

:56:03.:56:09.

spur on an innovation and new way of thinking about things and there's

:56:10.:56:12.

new categories as a result of this, more space has arisen in the ground

:56:13.:56:17.

that is easier for people to sit down and just stand and stare. It's

:56:18.:56:21.

great with horticultural too, rather than constantly on the move. Now

:56:22.:56:26.

what's next up? On 7th June this year we have the first ever

:56:27.:56:31.

Chatsworth flower Show, up in the East Midlands in Derbyshire, it's

:56:32.:56:35.

going to be the most amazing show, I think. What will make that show

:56:36.:56:39.

special other than the location? The location of course on the day, the

:56:40.:56:42.

house in the background, it couldn't be a better setting but the real

:56:43.:56:45.

theme of the show is design revolutionaries and what we have

:56:46.:56:48.

tried to do is take a step away from all the other shows, they're all

:56:49.:56:51.

different in their own wonderful ways, and there are gardens for

:56:52.:56:55.

example lieshg the free form gardens where there are no rules. We have

:56:56.:57:02.

show gardens up there, so some from here, but some is the most

:57:03.:57:07.

beautiful, the conservatory there, collapsed 100 years ago, we rebuilt

:57:08.:57:10.

it for the show. It sounds intriguing. We have had a great week

:57:11.:57:13.

at Chelsea. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

:57:14.:57:19.

Well, it has certainly been an extraordinary week. I think it's

:57:20.:57:21.

been a very good show, don't you? It's been a strong year, no doubt.

:57:22.:57:27.

What did you like best? I liked the feel-good gardens. Great quality,

:57:28.:57:36.

great range. I think Sarah's stunning. They have been 100%

:57:37.:57:42.

success. One thing I could take it would be Darren's gate. I agree. I

:57:43.:57:48.

love that gate. It's got my name on it, you can't have it! Really. He

:57:49.:57:55.

can make another one maybe. What about you? I got great pleasure from

:57:56.:58:03.

the boat garden. That's just about it from us at Chelsea. I will be

:58:04.:58:08.

back on Gardens World next Friday in the usual slot and I have a preview

:58:09.:58:16.

of RHS Chatsworth and Joe will be there and we will be at Hampton

:58:17.:58:19.

Court in July. Until then, goodbye.

:58:20.:58:25.

Monty Don and Joe Swift look back at the highlights of their week at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.


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