Saturday, 11 October 2008
Friday, 15 August 2008
My new client is no more. We have decided to abandon our attempt to create a garden together, mainly because I shall be going to work on a large garden in Iceland for the forseeable future. And after that I'm taking up cat breeding. Here's how the last (and final) meeting went:
Me: (Handing over a couple of outline proposals) I thought you might like to take a look at these. They're only rough ideas as yet but...
Client: Well I'm glad you dropped that water idea
Me: (Stunned silence)
Client: Anyway, I've been doing a bit of research myself. You know the Mail on Sunday?
Me: I don't actually rea....
Client: Well I really like that Tim Piggot-Smith's garden.
Me: The actor?
Client: Is he? I didn't know that. You read it then?
Me: No, I just...
Client: It's very famous. I'm surprised you don't know about it
Me: I can probably...
Client: I don't want those tin bath things though
Client: Baths, no. What I was thinking was, stainless steel would be much better. See if you could do that instead
Me: Instead of what?
Client: Well, tin, obviously. Oh and he had some of these round tree things. I'd like some of those too. They were really nice, very unusual. They were crowd pruned
Me: Crowd pruned...? (Brain finally catching up, breathless and incredulous) Was this garden at Chelsea?
Client: I don't know where he lives
Me: No, I mean the flower show
Client: I'm really excited about this. When can we start?
Friday, 8 August 2008
Friday, 1 August 2008
Anyway, things are thankfully getting back to normal...lots of gardening and pottering about the allotment, a fair bit of design work, and rehearsing for a play I'm in in the autumn, 'Stepping Out', which involves learning to tap dance! Now I'm no Cyd Charisse but I'm really enjoying the old step ball change and cramp rolls - even though it was so hot last night that we were all begging for mercy after two hours!
One more final pic of Lil and I promise I won't bore you any more. It's just so great that she's survived it
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
8 July: The show opens to the public today. God, I'm tired. It would have been great to have had a break after finishing the build just to get some energy for today, but we only just got it finished in time. Two weeks isn't long. Still, Wendy and I are really pleased with it. It looks absolutely lovely (a completely objective opinion of course). Click on the pic to see if you agree.
Monday, 14 July 2008
Anyway, on to RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. I tried to keep a journal each day and failed miserably, of course, but here are some of the scraps I managed to record:
23 June: Arrived at the site at about 7.30am having left home at 5.45. The RHS have removed the turf on our plot, but that's all. Just a 6 metre by 4 metre rectangle of bare earth which over the next two weeks will be transformed into our garden. By the end of a very hot and difficult day we had pegged the garden out, taken levels and started digging...
30 June: (Did I say I had diligently kept at record? No, I did not.) Up at 5.30am to hand over the plants I've been nurturing at home to Quentin (Stark, our brilliant nursery man) to transfer them to Hampton Court with all the rest. It's wonderful having the plants here now, although I think I've gone overboard on the quantities. The advice is to decide what you'll need then order another 60%, but I think I'll only use a quarter of what's been delivered.
The trees are in! It took a fork lift truck and 4 big, strong men plus Wendy, and God knows how we'll get them out again...but they are so beautiful. Slender and white stemmed, leaves trembling in the breeze.
It's now 8.30pm and I'm so tired that as soon as I get to Jodie's (my neice who lives about 2 miles from HC) I'm going to bed.
1 July: Spent the morning cleaning the three clumped birch trees. I've got one of those E-cloth things and it was brilliant at cleaning algae from the trunks and branches. Had to be careful not to damage their peeling bark and it took ages,but it was worth it. They have emerged even more beautiful than before.
Strangely, although I've been looking forward to it for ages, I was scared to start the planting. I kept finding other things to do to delay the moment. Finally, when I couldn't put it off any longer, I plunged in with a grouping of Veronicastrum, Sanguisorba, Orlaya and some catmint. I did prepare a planting plan, but I don't like to stick slavishly to them. It all depends so much on the individual plants that I prefer the freedom of designing as I go but with a rough framework provided by a plan. This is especially true of this garden. I really want it to look as though it hasn't been especially planted out but has just happened, in a very relaxed sort of way.
I didn't finish planting until about 8.30, then ate at Pizza Express in Hampton Court for the second night running, totally exhausted and glad to be staying with Jodie.
There is more to come, promise, if anyone's interested. Now the pressure's off and the show's over I'll update the blog more frequently. We still, however, have to break the garden up and leave the site as we found it, so back on the chain gang tomorrow!
Sunday, 29 June 2008
The reason for this additional post today is that after writing the first one, all jokey and upbeat, I suddenly felt disloyal. Isn't that stupid? So I thought I'd share this with you. She's going to be OK I think. She's had two operations, one to remove the stick and one to patch up the internal damage it had done. She's alert and drinking and eating small amounts, and I'm hoping to have her home some time next week. The moral of this story is 1) don't throw sticks for dogs and 2) there are more important things in life than winning flower shows
Anyway, here I am, one week into the build and I'm happy to report that it's going really well. The excitement of actually being there on Monday morning was tremendous. Everyone is really helpful and the atmosphere at the moment is quite relaxed. Of course, this will change as we near judgement day! At the moment we are concentrating on getting the hard landscaping elements installed to Wendy's satisfaction. She's project managing the build and is an absolute perfectionist (mind you, so are Russ, Liz, Neil and Nick too, so that's OK).
As expected, the planting is a bit of a movable feast at the moment. It looked like the Eryngiums were going to peak too soon so I sourced a substitute, Berkheya purpurea. But now, guess what? Berkheya has gone over and the Eryngiums are holding back, like shy virgins on their wedding night. My latest information is that they may be OK but I need to wait as late as possible to plant them. The grass is proving a bit problematic too. It was supposed to be long (15cm) and lush, but when it was delivered it was at least 60cm, flat from being rolled and rank at the base from lack of light. I've been frantically trimming, watering and raking (lightly with a spring tined rake) since Wednesday but it's still looking not so much lush and verdant as slightly apocalyptic (you know, the bomb's gone off and there's no-one left to mow the grass).
Monday, 26 May 2008
I also have my orders from our leader, the venerable Roy Hood. Tanya and I must allocate the even numbered ducks and Sean will do the odd. I'm not quite sure why this is, but orders are orders. Must leave now as I need to find my wet weather gear.