What a great time we had at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2018!
Exhibiting a show garden is a military operation and a team effort. The logistics of getting yourself, plants and materials to site takes some organising!
I was lucky to have a generous sponsor in Beehive Toys based at Lopen. Dayspring Plants supplied the plants, the quality of which was commented on by the judges, so well done Peter and the team, and Big Fish Landscapes built the hard landscaping on site to my design.
The centre piece of the garden was a willow mermaid made by the fabulously talented Elaine Marks of Martock. The mermaid was a real talking point, and I lost count of how many photographs were taken of her!
Allgreen Group of Yeovil kindly supplied the wooden posts that I used. They used a process to give them a weathered look, just right for a beach theme!
Paul Trick of My Alfresco Art provided the stunning stained glass panels. These looked perfect in the garden amongst the planting and represented the colours of the sea.
And a special thank you to Arthur Guppy, a friend of my parents who donated the old padlock for the treasure chest and the metal rings for the posts to add detail.
We arrived on site on Saturday 9th June. A good friend of ours, Richard Pitman kindly delivered and collected us from Birmingham to keep the cost of the hire vehicle to a minimum.
The landscapers had already constructed and painted the fence for the garden, and had put in place the wooden border to contain the planting. We immediately started work shifting 1 ton of pebbles to make the beach for the design. The weather was extremely hot - 27 degrees and it felt like being on a real beach in the Caribbean not Birmingham!
On Sunday the plants arrived on site and Andrew, my husband, and I started to plant up the garden. We finished planting in the tropical conditions on Tuesday evening, tired but happy.
Wednesday was judging day. The panel of judges included this year's Chelsea Flower Show, Best Show Garden Award Winner Mark Gregory who designed the 'Welcome to Yorkshire' garden and Kate Gould who is also a winner of multiple gold medal awards at Chelsea, so no pressure!
We were awarded a Silver Medal for the garden. I had great feedback from the judges, who were very complimentary on the planting scheme, my choice of plants and excellent use of colour, and what a fantastic opportunity for me to discuss my design with people who are at the top of their game.
No doubt the most admired plant I used was the Erygium Picos Blue with its ultra-violet stems. I mixed these with Stipa Tenuissima, Salvia Caradonna and the silver leaves of Artemsia 'Valerie Finns'.
The show opened to the public on Thursday till Sunday with a record attendance of 103,000 people over the 4 days. We even had time for a chat with Joe Swift and a photograph with Adam Frost which made all the hard work worthwhile!
No time to rest on our laurels, we are doing it all again at Taunton Flower Show on 3rd and 4th August so why not come and take a look?
Until next time Julie