Water, water everywhere

RHS Hampton Flower Show Garden 2012

So the build has begun.  And what a wet start!  It seems water is following me around on this project.  It also means that unfortunately Leigh Lovely Legs hasn’t been able to show off his best feature yet much to my Mum’s disappointment.

It’s very different this year.  The build is three weeks long and when we arrived the show site was almost completely empty except for trackway, some rather wet looking contractors and queues of artic lorries going to rather muddy looking patches dotted along the route.

First off I thought I should introduce some of the guys making this garden happen.  We have four landscape contractors (from Neale Richards Gardens Ltd) working on this project – Leigh (Lovely Legs), David, Nick and new to the Hampton Court experience is Christian.  We also have a water consultant, Tony Harragin in charge of the water feature.

Day 1 of the build

Behind the scenes, there are several people working tirelessly.  My Mum, Dad and husband Hugo have been my sounding board and Dad has been making many posts for the garden.  My mum, cousins – Michaela and Allie are on twin duty.

Then there are two other suppliers who are working tirelessly behind the scenes.  David at Meadowgate Nurseries, who is supplying the plants and Angus and his crew at Scotscape who are supplying the green wall are doing their darndest to make sure the plants look the best they possibly can.

I have to say that the team is absolutely amazing, they are really behind the garden and it is a pleasure working with every single one of them.

This week on the build, is all about creating the main shape of the garden.  Digging out and creating the pool of water and building the bridge.  The garden is taking shape already so you really start to get a feel for what it will eventually be.   Today the massive liner from Gordon Low Products was laid by Tony and the crew.

I realise that I haven’t said much about what this show garden is about which is rather remiss of me.

A birds eye view of the garden would perhaps look more akin to a giant plaster over a gaping wound. On closer inspection, crossing a large desolate expanse of swirling whirlpools, a bridge rises out of the water filled with beautiful feathery plumes of trees and a bright explosion of exuberant planting. Stepping onto the bridge, from the darkness into the light, the planting changes from darker to lighter tones and steps appear floating, creating a heavenly feel, as you cross the bridge. Words of real patients, expressing their feelings of relief having received treatment, are inset within the paving.

Bridge over troubled water is a show garden inspired by the relief that patients feel when they have received treatment for their problem, specifically, bladder problems. The bridge is a metaphor for treating the problem.  Typically, people don’t talking about such medical conditions and often people live in discomfort not realising that there are treatments available that could radically improve their quality of life. Beyond this specific theme, it is also hoped that the design resonates with all its visitors in some way. We nearly all experience harder times and this garden reminds you how gardening and having a closer relationship with plants, can be a tonic to some and as much as a lifeline to others.

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