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Plant writings, gardening thoughts & observations of Paul Hervey - Brookes, Award Winning Garden Designer & Plantsman.
Visit Paul's Website: www.paulherveybrookes.com
www.boxcourt.co.uk

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Chelsea Flower Show 2010 & GoodBye

The Chelsea Flower Show was rather an amazing experience by any standard.  I was very lucky to be next door to some lovely people whilst creating the Biodiversity Garden for Bradstone which was awarded a Silver Medal.   The garden set about highlighting biodiversity issues whilst being a beautiful place to escape into from our modern busy lives.   Luckily for me this combination and some what simple approach was in tune with two lovely gardening television presenters from Australia and Austria who decided to do lengthly pieces on biodiversity from the garden.

The garden highlighted simple nectar rich flowers planted in shades of purples and yellows.  These colours are, through our eyes, particularly attractive to bees and pollinating insects according to research carried out at Universities.  The planting was also multi-layered as we know that different layers are in habited by different insect life.  Towards the rear of the garden larger foliage plants created dappled shade for small mammals and a Hornbeam hedge acted as the wildlife alternative to the motorway as a green corrider connecting the urban space back out to the countryside.   The garden also had decomposing log walls for stag-horn beetle and I designed the classically inspired portico which was bespoke made by Bradstone to encourage crevice nesting birds such as House Sparrow which has declined in numbers by over 70% in the last 20 years.

These messages were endorsed by the Wildlife Trust and Trees for Cities, two charities who are passionate about wildlife and the importance of urban greening.

One of the really important aspects of the garden for me was that it be beautiful.  In order that people looking at the garden were to go home and recreate some of the habitat spaces we were talking about I felt strongly that people would need to feel it was something they could live with and then almost by default the important messages would become second nature.  I really hope that idea worked and I would like to say thank you to all the well wishers and people who took the time to stop and be so lovely and encouraging throughout the show.

The Chelsea Flower Show also marked the end of my time as Chris Beardshaw Scholar and I  hope that Maria-louisa really embraces the opportunity and runs with it.  My year has been challenging, exciting and went very fast and I am intensely proud of it.  It is one of two very important mile stones in my horticultural life so far and the other caught up with me in the most unexpected way at Chelsea this year when I met George Anderson, former Head of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It was a sheer delight to be able to talk to him again, tell him what I have been up to these past years and simply listen to snippets of his incredible plant knowledge.

Now lastly I started writing this blog as a diary of my year as Scholar, it has actually turned into something very different, a diary of plant based thoughts, but now my year is over and my work load has increased so dramatically I think its a good time to call time on it.  I will still be writing for Garden Design USA as a guest contributor as well as a few other publications.  So thank you for following the journey, I hope it was an enjoyable read I have certainly enjoyed writing it.  Best wishes Paul.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Off to Chelsea


(Photo: Wormcast Garden, Chris Beardshaw) Well at last the day has come.  After spending a great deal of last night packing, after a very fun afternoon with the children who are creating a show garden based on Renoir's Umbrella's at Painswick Rococo Garden, everything is packed, wrapped and labelled stretching down the drive ready to go to Chelsea Flower Show.

Its been a bit hectic, Wednesday onwards I was a guest of the 3 Counties Agricultural Society at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show, where on Sunday I also was asked to do the afternoon slot in the Project Pavilion.  This actually was huge fun talking to gardeners about their gardens, plants and design ideas.  The afternoon was gone before I had even got comfortable in my 'experts' chair.  The new Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholar was chosen on Press Day and I think Maria will make a fantastic Scholar and she has a truly unique and exceptional year ahead of her.  I hope and I know she will seize the year  really gaining from the guidance and creative stimulus it provides.

Yesterday morning we spent a couple of happy hours wandering through a woodland on a private estate making our final selections of rotting timber for our decomposing wall and then the afternoon as I said with the children sowing seed and weaving willow.

Lastly I would just like to say to anyone planning to visit the Chelsea Flower Show it will be a privilege to meet you and say hello outside of the electronic world.

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