Nurturing the plants for the Show
I’m celebrating May Day today with the 8th blog in the countdown to Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliams Chelsea garden, only three weeks to go now and the Show will be well under way.
As you can imagine the plants are a vital part of a show garden, so I was happy to visit the nursery Hortus Loci with Andrew and Gavin last Friday to see how their plants are progressing.
Hortus Loci is run by experienced and knowledgable nursery men, Mark Straver and Robin Wallis who are supplying plants for many of the show gardens. They have the expertise and experience to know exactly how to nurture the plants and get them ready for that particular week in May.
Here’s one of the Chelsea poly-tunnels filled to the brim:
Andrew and Gavin have been visiting the nursery on a regular basis to see how all their plants are progressing and to monitor what will be ready for the Show.
Here’s Andrew a few months ago with Mark and Robin, you can see how tiny the plants were then.
and this is how much they’ve all grown since:
They went to Belgium with Mark Straver back in February looking for plants that would fit the requirements for the garden. Amongst other things, they specifically wanted trees with a rugged character and discovered some old apple trees rescued from an orchard that have the exact qualities and fit neatly into one of the main concepts of the design:
“always precious sometimes scarce”
The trees were shipped back to Hortus Loci and have been nurtured over the past few months. More recently they’ve been given a diluted organic, liquid feed every day and have now produced tiny clusters of blossom.
The trees may not be flowering for the show, but they will have that sense of character, and special shape that old apple trees take on as they age.
The rescued trees enhance the whole story of the show garden as a space that the owners have recovered from an unused, overgrown area of their garden. They’ve realised that the sun sets in this area and can be enjoyed in summer evenings with a glass or two of Cloudy Bay wine. Into this space the owners weave more delicate and colourful perennials and soft rustling grasses.
” Plants play a significant part in any garden design, they’re not an add-on but an integral part of the whole design, reinforcing it and enhancing the atmosphere. The same concepts and qualities apply across the entire garden.”
Visitors to Chelsea like to see different ideas and get inspiration for their own gardens, they’ll find some interesting plants in Andrew and Gavins garden. There was great excitement to see the Berberis temolaica shrubs doing so well and forming flower buds.
The shrub has an elegant shape and lovely glaucous leaves, here’s a close-up of it:
Gavin is usually behind the camera taking the photos, so it was good to get him in the photo this time, he’s on the right.
Next weeks post will be about building the garden
You can catch up with last weeks post here it’s all about how the particular materials were chosen for the garden.
images: Jill Anderson