At the end of every May, we always do a round up of our RHS Chelsea highlights. This year, however, has been a very special year for Mark Gregory and our Welcome to Yorkshire team.
After a smooth build for Mark and the construction team, followed by a sunny week of planting, we were thrilled first to receive an RHS GOLD medal, and then the award for Best Construction on Medals Day. Everyone, including the sponsors Welcome to Yorkshire, were “over the moon”.
The show garden quite literally put a slice of Wensleydale into the heart of Central London. Using stone materials on loan from the Bolton Estate in Yorkshire, Mark’s authentic design included drystone walls and a stone bothy. A fast flowing stream passed through the garden, weaving down from a woodland glade, through a meadow and past the vegetable garden by the bothy.
Mark said, “the devil is in the detail” and he wasn’t wrong. The woodland glade contained woven deer sculptures and the bothy had three woven mice in the rafters, all created by Yorkshire sculptor, Emma Stothard. The grassy meadow, supplied by Lindum Turf, had strategically placed cow pats to give that extra feeling of authenticity. Even the wire fence had sheeps wool caught in it, as you might find anywhere in the Dales. Nettles were included in the planting, the gate into the garden had a realistic squeak, conjuring something nostalgic and timeless.
It evoked strong feelings from the visitors to the show and we were all blown away by the joy it brought to people. It couldn’t have been a better week. Or so we thought.
On Friday of the show week, BBC presenter Sophie Raworth crept up on Mark whilst he was chatting to Joe Swift in the garden, an elaborate plan to surprise him – and present him with none other than the coveted RHS People’s Choice Award!
Later, when being interviewed by Monty Don for the BBC, Mark said; ‘It’s the one. It’s evaded me for 30 years – 97 gardens and I’ve never won this, and to win it on this particular garden, at this moment, is a big deal, a big, big deal.
“It’s the public vote that matters. I’ve won lots of gold medals but… I’ve had guys walking up [to me] almost emotional, people are just really resonating with it and I’m actually trying to work out what I’ve done to give that emotion…
“Creating this garden on behalf of my home county has been an absolute joy. To meet the Queen, to get the Gold and to get People’s Choice, it just doesn’t get any better than this! It’s been the perfect week!’
It truly has been a fantastic Chelsea for Mark, the Landform team and all the collaborators and people working to create the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden. We would like to thank everyone involved in the garden for their hard work and dedication: thanks particularly to the Bolton Estate, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Emma Stothard, Gaze Burvill, Green-tech, Hortus Loci, Johnsons of Whixley, Jon Wheatley, Lindum Turf, RLC Dry-Stone Walling Fairwater and Rolawn.
Here is a short time-lapse video of the making of the Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden 2018.
In our next blog, we will be doing a “round-up” for the Seedlip Garden.