Another week and another fun trip to an RHS flower show, this time up in the north on the grounds of Tatton Park. While the weather may not have been anything to write home about, some of the gardens certainly were worth blogging about.
I made the 8 hour round trip partially to meet new designers and sculptors, but largely to witness 1st hand the gold winning medal of my good friend and outstanding designer Alan Gardener (I know, wonderfully appropriate name. Thank goodness his surname wasn't 'Murderer'). His garden, inspired by and representative of an orchestra pit, did not disappoint.
Tall spires of tubing exploding out from a sloped bed of vibrant colour, as the wind passes over the top the varying heights play a gorgeous melody, in tune with the gentle undulations of the grass planting. Squint your eyes and the sections of the orchestra are laid out in colour; the large base drums of the box balls, the delicate flowers of the string section and the high notes of the woodwind filling in the spaces. I love Ipe (sometime known as Brazillian Walnut) as a wood, the simple colour of the conductor's podium was a great foil to the colours of the planting. I thought that this was a wonderful interpretation of the brief and thoroughly deserved the gold.
This garden showcased Alan's playful sense of humour as well as his adoration and expert knowledge of plants while, at the same time, was confident in its simplicity and kept to a limited palette of foliage and textures. I cannot wait to see his next one!
There were also some great displays from the RHS' Young Designers category, I thought that all 3 were outstanding and learned that the difference between 1st & 2nd place was a mere point. My favourite (just about) was Katherine Wills' "A Prison Garden", shown below.
Gorgeous, great seating, geometric ground plan - this ticked a lot of my boxes and had the added bonus of an inspiring story (the garden was built by offenders, the colour scheme one used by institutions to calm aggressive behaviours). London-based Katherine was very unlucky to miss out on winning the Young Designer of the Year, though to be fair she was up against a worthy adversary in the shape of Tristen Knight.
His garden was based on the industrial architecture on brownfield sites in Victorian and 20th
century Britain. These sites, often neglected and unloved can be
transformed into gardens of great beauty and he reflects this in his
garden perfectly. 'Brownfield Beauty' was both innovative and attractive, with 100% upcycled furniture from Thomas Bramwell (whom we have the privilege of representing, more info to follow).
I didnt' see much in the way of sculpture that I fell in love with, but it's wonderful to see young British talent on display and, who knows, some of these designers may source Marshall Murray pieces in their future masterpieces?
Thanks to the RHS for the tickets (and the coffee!), especially to Rachel Horsely who organises a fantastic show. The show runs until this Sunday if you have the time.
Link to the RHS Tatton Gardens page