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?



9 Responses to “Do Not Adjust Your Set”

  1. Fantastic idea, GH. I look forward to Monty Don getting all metaphorical about it on Gardeners’ World. Best of luck.

  2. Neil says:

    I look forward to not seeing it on Gardeners’ World – they’ll ignore all the good stuff just like they did with Gardeners’ World Live.

    But at least we’ll get to see all of Monty Don’s rose beds. Again.

  3. cp53a says:

    Simon! Remember the conversation we had in Bath last weekend? Obviously it’s not your idea behind the design but I just can’t get that image out of my head – do you mind? Whatever – I love your design and if you get accepted there’s got to be another tweet-up. xxx

  4. DublinBay_Rose says:

    Looking good GH! I have everything crossed for you. Surely RHS Chelsea would not pass up the honour of hosting a Garden Hero design? :)

    The suspense is building already…

  5. Alison says:

    Great to see the evolution of your design – really hope you get to build it at Chelsea – what an ambition to achieve!

  6. Erica Ward says:

    How dare you! Tut Tut Neil! My garden was on GW Live and it wasn’t all that bad!

  7. TimMH says:

    Loving the concept Simon, i think that your design should go down well with the RHS. Here’s hoping that you make it to RHS Chelsea and come away with a deserved placing… :o) well done

  8. Gardening says:

    very interesting…. if you need plants, give us a shout…. Chris – Gardening Express

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