I arrive at my garden at 7.30 am to discover to my relief that I have been awarded an RHS Chelsea Silver Medal. The rest of the ‘Fresh Gardens’ have been awarded 4 Bronzes, 2 Silvers, 2 Silver Gilts and 1 Gold which also got ‘Best In Category’. Looking around at the gardens I think that the bar has been set high but then this is the most prestigious gardening show in the world……
Later in the morning I am visited by an assessor and judge and given some ‘constructive critism’. I am told they would have preferred the seat to have had a better view into the garden, some of the planting was a bit dense, they thought the saplings would quickly out grow their spaces, the wall was a bit heavy and they didn’t like the double joint.
They liked the story I was telling, the sculpture, most of the planting and trees, the movement and rhythm of the as well as the path and design of the seat. I asked ‘how safe a Silver was I’ and they said the judges were ‘divided’ between a Silver and Silver Gilt. They also suggest that now is the time to look for sponsorship for next year!!!!! I think we all need a break first….
Glorious sunny weather! The RHS members and their guests start to arrive from 8 am. I aim to water every morning and evening to keep the garden looking fresh, as well as the odd bit of ‘dead heading’. I am joined by my young children and husband, but the heat and crowds are hard work and once the kids have seen my garden, the racing car made out of clipped topiary, the easy lawn covered cars, Gavin’s pyramid, and had an ice cream they’ve had enough and head off to Battersea Park!
I am joined through a very hot week by a host of friends and relations and as my garden is also being manned by Bradstone representatives I am able to catch up with them a little. By the end of the week I have swollen ankles and very sore feet from all the standing and walking in the heat, and after a restless night end up with a touch of sunstroke on the Saturday morning which prevents me coming in until late. On Thursday I am joined by a group of 12 lawyers for Royal Mail who have requested a small presentation about the garden.
On Tuesday the garden is filmed by the BBC. James Alexander Sinclair explains the energy expressed in the garden with a lot of energetic movement and arm gesturing. He does this about 6 times, I am asked the names of specific plants and then it’s a wrap! It goes on air on Wednesday lunchtime.
The garden is also filmed for the commemorative Chelsea 2012 video on the Sunday previously.
On the Sunday after the show, James, Andrew, Carolyn and I pot up all the plants and decide to donate a lot to the London based regeneration project ‘Ground work’ as well as taking some home. On Monday I return to London having spent my first night at home for 18 nights and check that the garden contractors are getting on with the knock down as planned and that the sculpture and trees are being safely delivered to the centre for wildlife gardening.
I return home, a bit bruised, very sun tanned, fitter, exhausted but pleased to be back. The garden at home has transformed from Spring to Summer and been well tended by the family.
A quiet walk in the woods with Molly beckons. Its good to be home!