RHS Chelsea 2017 – Build-Up

The Sunday night before the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press Day means that everyone has completed their gardens. Our four fantastic teams have toiled away for the last three weeks, through persistent downpours. They have dug, levelled, chiselled, grouted, planted, polished and titivated! They have to wait until the Tuesday morning before they get to hear how they have faired and what award they have received, for those being judged.

For the Seedlip Artisan Garden Team, led by our designer Catherine MacDonald and foreman Will Gadd (a partnership from last years successful Hartley Botanic Show Garden), it’s all in the details. To create an enchanting garden where history meets science, the team overcame the challenges of working on a raised site and decided that the quiet charm of Ranelagh Gardens was a welcome change from build-up on Main Avenue. Copper details in the water feature, sculpture and structure are highlighted by the planting scheme which includes Geums, Plantains, and Irises. Finished off with new and old scientific accessories, the garden is a magical woodland laboratory.

Clockwise from top left: Seedlip’s Ben Branson in amongst the plants; the planting team of Sophie, Jo and Catherine hard at work; David Read working with oak; sculptor Rupert Till braving the rain to assemble the sculpture.

Only a short distance away, our foreman Ian and his team were building Fiona Cadwallader’s Artisan Garden – The Poetry Lover’s Garden. With dry stone walling, built on site by specialist Andy Loudon, four beautiful flat top Tilia x euchlora trees create the lime tree bower under which poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge composed his famous poem. With a bespoke metal water feature, chaise longue and an ornamental steel gate, the uplifting conclusion of the poem is offset by the rich and textured planting scheme.

Designer Fiona Cadwallader with Foreman Ian and his team

By the time, I got to site to see the gardens in progress – our Foreman Steve and his team had already finished on the Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden, designed by Tracy Foster. From a breathtaking illustration – Flamborough Head has been recreated! It’s no mean feat to create a temporary garden with a beach and a ruined abbey in it!

Foreman Steve and his team on the Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden

Our biggest team has been hard at work on the Greening Grey Britain Exhibit, designed by Nigel Dunnett. Led by our Foreman Rich, his fourth collaboration with Nigel, this urban community garden has so much to see, from habitat towers, to a wetland pool and street art.

Clockwise from top left: Mark Gregory, Taina, Nigel and Rich having a team talk; Nigel taking a moment to contemplate the planting scheme; habitat towers; Taina and Anne busy planting.

Nigel, Rich and the RHS Greening Grey Britain 2017 team

We will bring you photos of the finished gardens in the next blog, after Press Day and the Royal Visit.