What Happens At A Chelsea Flower Show Garden Build?

 On site for The Greenfingers Charity Garden


Packing up the vans, grabbing all the coffee and Yorkshire Tea supplies needed (1000 teabags should do it) along with copious amounts of biscuits to get us through build-up is a time-honoured tradition and every garden for Chelsea starts the same way. Every year as we enter the show ground, the only feeling we can compare it to is not one of fear and trepidation but the warm fuzzy feeling of the familiar, akin to the return home from an extended holiday. Although the showground is a hard task master, demanding long days and sometimes nights, we only have affection for this epic British institution, the BEST flower show in the world!

That similarity between home and the showground may have something to do with the fact that the team practically live on site for approximately sixteen days before the show opens to the public. Those sixteen days are intense sometimes eighteen hour days. The team spirit keep you going and of course the immense pride we have for having the opportunity to build a garden on hallowed ground.

Week one has been full of adventure so far. Keith and Colin, our project managers, have pushed hard to keep the garden on schedule as much as possible. A great big Greenfingers GREEN steel structure has gone up in the first few days. This structure supports the upper level, extending the footprint of this 10m x 15m plot and creating a completely different vantage point of the garden. The second level is made up of planters, decking and a cargo net for further seating within the deck to add an element of fun. The cargo net (www.southwestplay.co.uk ) also offers a completely different perspective for the garden, you are able to look down on to the lower level taking a sneak peek at the contrasting shaded planting scheme from the upper level drought and pollution tolerant planting.

Although the garden is not for play, Kate has created a number of elements to keep children interested and engaged in the garden. The garden has spaces for quiet reflection and relaxation while families spend time together.

So, while some of the team have been decking out the upper level, building planters and fitting a glass balustrade, other have been decorating the garden with more ‘green’ this time in the form of bricks. The best team of bricklayers the world has ever seen has been creating amazing GREEN walls! Sam & Sam’s dad aka the Fairgrieves, give up their time freely every Chelsea garden build to create our walls and sometimes water walls. Kate has designed a stunning focal point in the garden which extends from the lower level right up to the second floor. Ibstock (www.ibstockbrick.co.uk) have kindly donated a selection of green and cream glazed bricks which Kate has manipulated into a pattern for a two storey feature wall, and single coloured green bricks give the lift system a back drop and also line the walkway from ground level.

Our trees for the upper level are now in place, thanks to Lynch as well as a fabulous Cornus on the corner of the garden which has kindly been loaned to us from Majestic Trees (www.majestictrees.co.uk). Still to come this week will be our lift for disabled access to the top level, our ‘waving hands’ water feature as well as all the planting and a gorgeous green apple swing seat donated by Linum Loom (www.linumloom.com ) The extremely talented and generous Emma Stothard (www.emmastothard.com ) has created matching green apple sculptures for the garden and we have to say, that we cannot wait for these to arrive along with soft furnishings gifted from Christopher Farr Cloth and The Outdoor Cushion Company.

Thanks to all our generous sponsors who have donated their time, skills and products to this amazing garden to help raise awareness of the good work The Greenfingers Charity have done over the years for children’s hospices around the UK.

Visitors to the garden at the show can expect to be able to take home lots of ideas for sunny roof terraces and overlooked balconies from the upper level of the garden and inspiration for shaded outdoor spaces, basement gardens or courtyard retreats from the lower level.

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