Archive for the ‘General Banter’ Category

Do Not Adjust Your Set

Every time I come to write a new post for this site, I seem to start off apologising for not having done one sooner! And this time is no exception! I’m absolutely rubbish at finding the time to write, but that is no excuse for not keeping you informed of my latest crazy ideas….

So, what’s been happening since GW Live? Not a great deal really, but I look back on the time spent at the NEC and miss it sorely. It truly was one of the most enjoyable times i’ve had, the medal was the icing on the cake, but the whole experience was something I wish everyone could be a part of, and experience I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. The people you meet, the friendships you make, the build, the joy, the bad weather…wouldn’t swap it for anything. And I can’t wait to do it all again….

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Which brings me to my latest submission. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012. Yep, I was going to, then I wasn’t (that’s another story), but I decided that a kick up the arse was required. This is my passion, this is what I want to do…inflict another of my hare-brained schemes on the unsuspecting public, win, lose or draw; I’d kick myself if I didn’t even apply for space at another show. But Chelsea?

Well, Chelsea is truly the jewel in the crown when it comes to RHS shows; and it’s not an easy task to get space there. But when the RHS announced the new ‘Fresh’ Garden category, smaller modular plots which could theoretically be affordable without sponsorship (obviously depending on how many modules you choose!) then I thought ‘Why Not?’ – I have lofty ambitions as you all know, but it would be stupid of me to think I could waltz in there with a 22m x 10m ordering real viagra from canada Main Avenue design…and expect it to happen. That’s next year obviously! Haha

“Taking part in Chelsea has long been my dream, and this seemed the perfect way to get started on that very tall ladder towards Main Avenue.”

A small ‘fresh’ plot was just the answer. Logistically, Chelsea is the most difficult in terms of access, build space, storage etc…so why not submit a design for a small area, easy to handle in terms of access and storage, but at the same time get a feel for everything else as it happens – experience counts for many things at these shows; and to witness first hand how the larger gardens are coped with would surely be incredibly beneficial. Taking part in Chelsea has long been my dream, and this seemed the perfect way to get started on that very tall ladder towards Main Avenue.

Let’s not get away from the fact that i’m still very inexperienced, I never hide that fact, but I’ve said it before, i’m confident in my ability to deliver what I promise. Confident in the skills I do have. And no, I can’t think of any of them right now! So…what have I submitted this time?

You may be surprised to hear there’s no giant earthworms this time! But don’t worry, I have plans for them another time :)

Anyway…here we go…picture this. I had an idea many moons ago…and always thought it could be interpreted rather nicely in a small plot. It was linked to nothing in particular, but the idea of a television being dropped from a height onto monochrome planting (well, black and silver) and its ‘colour contents’ leaking out over the surrounding area..just seemed impossible to ignore. A potential for some striking sculpture…. some striking colour combinations in terms of planting…yeah, let’s pursue it.

Now, this idea had been rattling around in my head since before the GW Live one, but with a week to go for application deadline I wasn’t confident that I could put something together that I would be happy to submit. So I doodled…..

I knew I wanted something circular to balance the hard shapes of the ‘television sets’ so that’s where the circular nature of the perimeter came from. and in all honesty, it was beginning to work for me. So i doodled a bit more….

I wanted predominantly low planting, scandent/carpeting plants…to give the impression of the colour ‘seeping’ into the surrounding monotone planting, but that would have been boring – ; so some height had to be added; as if the colour areas had come to life and grown upwards. Not everywhere I hasten to add…some highs and lows were needed to retain the overall structure of the design; but those television sets…spilling out their contents…

So easy to picture in my mind, but difficult to realise? Hmm…. The original idea was to use actual televisions, but that just wouldn’t have worked. I wanted something sculptural, representative, something that worked with the colours of the planting, something that worked ‘against’ the softness of the proposed scheme. So the intention is to make the televisions out of weathering or CORTEN steel, giving that beautiful rusted patina, a complete juxtaposition to the curves and colours of the perimeter and the plants contained within. (And no, they haven’t been built yet!)

Time to draw it up properly…deadline approaching!

Okay, i’m happy with that…it’s looking pretty much as I had imagined. Time to colour it in! Originally I was going to use a limited palette of hellishly vibrant reds, blues, and greens; and nothing else; apart from the monochrome areas, but I felt this would have been far too overpowering for any viewer, in such a small isolated space. So I decided to look at a far softer palette, some earthier tones amidst subtler reds and blues. Ideally I would have like to put a lot more detail in this; for example the masses of low pastel pink and blue areas are  ideally going to be Thymus cultivars, but I really didn’t have time to draw masses of tiny flowers…this had to be submitted in a matter of hours!!

Anyway, the submission is in; safely received by the RHS, with decisions to be made early November as to which they accept for this new category. I’m sure they’ll have lots of questions to ask me about the design, and perhaps some tweaks will need to be made, but fingers crossed it goes ahead; to be a part of Chelsea in 2012 would quite simply be awesome,  even with such a small submission. The real difficulty i’ll probably have is convincing people that this is ‘not’ a commentary on the digital age in which we live, an age in which the once ubiquitous CRT television sets have been discarded; or a metaphor for the link between gardening and television; it’s purely and simply a bit of fun, a way of expressing a splash of colour onto a monochrome landscape. Or is it?  Am I trying too hard to avoid being representational? Am I subconsciously dreaming up ways of metaphorically presenting things? Who knows….

Btw…I have no idea as to the other entries in this ‘Fresh’ category, how other people have interpreted the application guidelines, I doubt even the RHS knew what to expect when they created this new area….but i’m looking forward to finding out even if it doesn’t happen.

Let’s wait and see eh?



RHS Autumn Show, 3 Men Went 2 Mow…and Topiary Scotty Dogs!

Well, it’s been a while since i’ve posted anything! It’s been a busy time, so not really had the chance to jot down my thoughts and recent escapades until now…

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Where to begin?!

Firstly I took a trip down to London recently, to visit the delightful RHS Autumn Show at the Royal Horticultural Halls. I’d arranged to meet up with some fellow horticultural cheapest viagra canada tweeps at the show; with a view to also visiting some other London highlights, particularly the Garden Museum or The Rooftop Gardens in Kensington. Hmmm…all did not go quite as planned, due to my extraordinary ability to remain disorganised at all times outside of the workplace! More of that later…

The show itself was relatively small, but was crammed full of some beautiful exhibits; and some ludicrously sized vegetables! Particular favourites of mine (apart from the Bonsai display) included the range of Aeoniums, and the grasses. Now, i’ve never really been excited by grasses, possibly because my cat likes to use them as a catalyst for vomiting (especially my Imperata Cylindrica ‘Rubra’)  but I have been thinking differently of late, and there were a couple that really caught my attention.

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

Stipa (Calamagrostis) brachytricha (the one at the back!)

Anyway, as I said earlier, I was also at the show to meet up with some very nice tweeps; I didn’t see them at all while I was wandering about, and having spectacularly failed to save any of their phone numbers (yes, yes, i’m rubbish), combined with being unable to trawl through my email archive, resigned myself to the fact that it was not to be, so began traipsing towards the River Thames to continue my day out alone.

Luckily, the wonderful @LazyTrollop was far more organised than my useless self, and phoned me to find out where I was hiding. @LazyTrollop, @MichTWheeler, @robstacewicz, and @HelenReeley had planted themselves (geddit?!) in a public house close to the RHS Halls, planning their next move, and so I made my way back to actually meet them after weeks of virtual conversation.

And what wonderful people they are! It was so lovely to finally meet a bunch of warm, friendly, very talented people that I had been conversing with via Twitter; but what we had failed to take into account was the fact that consuming alcohol early afternoon would disrupt further sightseeing! A mutual agreement was made, we would stay where we were, which was fine by me!

From left: Lazy Trollop (Barbara!) , HelenReeley , Rob Stacewicz ,  Michelle Wheeler

I’m sure you’ll agree, a lovely bunch of people! So… what else has been happening? Well, I also went to a talk by the talented trio of Joe Swift, James Alexander-Sinclair and Cleve West, collectively known as the hilarious Three Men Went to Mow. This took place at the beautiful RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate (although it was night-time so I couldn’t see any of the gardens), in the new and shiny Bramall Learning Centre. You may have seen these three previously in my gallery of Garden Heroes, so I couldn’t resist the chance to go along and join in the fun!

The madness is about to begin!

Three Men Went to Mow gave a thoroughly entertaining and lighthearted talk about their gardening experiences, and involved the assembled audience at every opportunity with humorous games and witty banter. What made the evening for me though was the chance to briefly talk to these fine gentlemen; I must thank them all for the words of encouragement they gave me, and also for gracefully accepting my gift of official #trainclub flapjack! If you get the chance to see them, then I highly recommend you do!

On another note, I started reading a rather interesting book on small gardens called ‘The City Garden’, and it contained some rather interesting information on achieving stunning results in small spaces. In amongst the little gems of information was something that every garden should have…and surely needs!

Every garden should have one!

That’s all to report today, but i’ll be back very soon with some news on my real ambition…which is slowly taking shape. I might even give you an update on Monty the Monstera if you’re lucky!


Borrowed Landscapes – Worldwide

Social Media in the Garden…continued

After thinking more about the idea of a show garden influenced by social media users, I began wondering about the use of boundary space in such an area, and combining that with the original notion of allowing the area to be influenced in real-time via twitter feeds (did I mention that last time?)…

It might help, for the unititiated, to point out that some ‘show’ gardens are just that; a showpiece, or if you like, a microcosm with a parent theme or purpose, often contained in an area only viewable from one or two sides. The integration of media (or even home appliances) into outdoor space is nothing new, but how about the integration of media into the visible area of the garden, as a backdrop to the planting, as the use of a borrowed landscape.

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What I have in mind is not a borrowed landscape in the usual sense, e.g. a way of integrating surrounding views or features into your own garden; but a way of displaying images/landscapes on a boundary wall in one of two ways; either at the discretion of the garden user, or randomly via a twitter feed reacting to certain keywords. It’s an intriguing possibility, but would it work?

Certainly for the average homeowner, (and for myself I might add) suggesting something like this would likely result in a verbal door slamming; but in the realm of a show garden, or more realistically a ‘conceptual’ show garden, hmmm…it can have a place. For the purpose of the Social Media garden idea, the wall, or walls would be comprised of modular LCD screens, in themselves quite monolithic in nature when joined together, an appropriate backdrop perhaps as they are….but then you switch the things on….

How bizarre would it be to be able to select any backdrop you desire to complement your planting scheme; to suit any time of year? I say ‘bizarre’ because I have no idea whether it would work, but then that herbal viagra negates the whole point, this is still a concept. If I took my typical Saltaire backyard as an example; I can imagine it would be an incredibly strange sensation to have a rolling landscape suddenly appear on three sides, but what exactly would that sensation be like?

I’m probably concentrating too much on this particular application; for it to work in the social media garden, it’s got to display a twitter feed; relevant images, and perhaps even text tweets. In a nice way of course. This is where the ‘worldwide’ borrowed landscape comes into play, anyone can play a part as long as it’s relevant, no matter where they are in the world. Somebody posts a pic of their garden, or plants via Twitpic or similar, and it is fed to the social media garden wall; a mosaic of images, a mosaic of contributors…and that is the very essence of what i’m trying to achieve.

In terms of a ‘conceptual’ show garden, what more can be asked for? The feel of the garden is immediately influenced directly by people worldwide, in real-time…continually adapting….now surely that’s worth tweeting about.


Social Media with a pinch of Salt

So, my friend Ashley and I were partaking in a cool beverage or two (or ten) yesterday evening in Saltaire, and we began discussing my plan for The Chelsea Flower Show.

The original idea for my intended show garden was to promote mobility difficulties, or rather to highlight areas in which an existing garden could be redesigned for persons with limited mobility, and/or other physical impairments. The RHS were keen on this initial idea, but after visiting Chelsea earlier this year, and seeing Jo Thompson’s beautiful ‘Unexpected Gardener’ garden, which approached from a similar theme, I started to think of other possibilities. This original idea has somewhat veered towards a more general theme, reflecting the ethos of the financial sponsor of this garden, a theme based on freedom and strength, a celebration of overcoming difficulties. While still a possibility, and I shall continue to pursue this; I am not at this point one hundred percent certain that this will actually happen…

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“After visiting buy viagra order Chelsea earlier this year, and seeing Jo Thompson’s beautiful ‘Unexpected Gardener’ garden, I started to think of other possibilities.”

Which brings me to the second idea I had, a self-financed smaller show garden reflecting the place I live, Saltaire. A World Heritage site, Saltaire was founded in 1853, by Sir Titus Salt; a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. Salt built neat stone houses for his workers, and it is in one of these houses that I live. The streets of Saltaire consist of neatly arranged terraces of these houses, with the streets named after members of Salt’s family. All the smaller terraced houses are essentially the same, with similar back yard areas; consisting of a paved area, low surrounding stone walls, and outhouses.

While there are some residents of Saltaire that have transformed their outside areas, the majority remain pretty bare, save for a couple of pots here and there. While there are limitations on what can be achieved in a small space such as this, in a World Heritage Site, I wanted to explore the possibilities of the typical Saltaire back yard, with traditional materials…and bring ‘A Pinch of Salt’ to The Chelsea Flower Show.

“Imagine a social media garden; ‘generated’ and created by Twitter users, their images adorning the garden, for they have brought it to life.”

But I digress! With the beer flowing last night, and proving an incredible catalyst for ideas…up to a point…we began talking about the influence that social networking, in particular Twitter, has had in bringing people together, creating micro-communities, but at the same time creating ‘anti-social’ networking – proved by the fact that myself and others were regularly checking updates via mobile devices!

Twitter has played a large part in the Garden Hero story so far, without it I wouldn’t have the opportunity to partake in everyday banter with people I admire and perhaps may never meet, and where else would I be able to send James Alexander-Sinclair a picture of his garden overrun with birthday camels?

Which brings me to another idea for a show garden, the one i’ve been trying to tell you unsuccessfully about throughout this post! What we came up with was a rather intriguing way of creating a ‘social media’ garden, the purpose being to a) highlight the communication achieved through current social media portals, and b) bring the ironically ‘anti social’ social media portal into a social environment.

I’ll keep it short, can’t tell all right now…but…Imagine a social media garden; ‘generated’ and created by Twitter users, their images adorning the garden, for they have brought it to life. And what better than some tweeting birds letting you know that your next message is waiting; and what about a screen displaying incoming tweets, or latest twitpics?

There’ll be more to come on this, but i’d love to know your thoughts. Together we can create a 21st Century outdoor area through tweeting! Stay tuned…..



Welcome to Garden Hero!

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This site is devoted to all things gardening, and especially online drugstore without prescription those people who we all consider to be a ‘Garden Hero’.

I’ll also use this site to keep you all up-to-date with my dream to create a Show Garden for The Chelsea Flower Show 2012, and my progress in making this a reality.

Feel free to comment, suggest, elaborate, and more importantly nurture absolutely anything to do with gardening….

….and cats…and daleks.