Mrs Pettigrew did not live for another day as there was only one book without a sequel. The book by Winifred Watson lay almost forgotten for fifty years before becoming popular again. However we did live for another day as on Wednesday we (Sean & I) met up with Claire Potter, of Claire Potter Design and her partner Mark, for a lovely afternoon and evening looking at the finished Chelsea Flower Show. It was a great chance to look at the gardens complete and I have to say very interesting. When Claire and I went around the site the week before the gardens were part-furnished and we discussed at great lengths the merits, in our eyes, of each. Claire with her massive knowledge of construction pointed out many details in the finish of the construction work and gave me some great pointers of how to do it, and on some gardens how not. This was really interesting to me as I had a good chance to pick her fairly un-exhaustive brain over the details. For my part I hope I added something to our conversations. What I found really exciting about both trips around the gardens was how we interpret the spaces differently and coming from different view points how we saw the interaction between the plants and landscaping. I think its fair to say we both feel strongly about the role of plants in outdoor space and I really got a lot out of it.
Sean and I also enjoyed our discussions on the gardens and we spent the train trip back to rural Gloucestershire dissecting ideas which had come from the show. I really left the show with the overriding feeling that its not important if you like the gardens as much as the stimulus they provide to create ideas in your own mind about your own garden. These ideas can be really small like a plant combination, on the 'Dawn Chorus' garden Verbascum 'Helen Johnson' was planted with Aquilegia 'Ruby Port' which really brought out the dark centre of the verbascums flower. These little details are really clever and demonstrate the subtle plant knowledge needed to really combine plants to a higher level than just a pretty scene. Other larger ideas came to me from a garden I wasn't very enamored with but found the use of landscape material very interesting. I think with a little more work its an idea I will 'recycle' after all apart from selling your wares as a designer there is an element of idea 're-use' at these shows.