Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chelsea flower show

RHS Chelsea flower show, 19 - 23 May 2009

GARDENS with recycle/reclaim themes
Hot topics are of course reclaim/recycling, eco-friendly and some of the gardens have this theme, such as The Overdrawn Artists Garden which is a light-hearted look at a garden designed and built by Sarah Eberle. Sarah has used her imagination with materials sourced from the local scrap yard where the paving is constructed from steel grids over which she has ‘drawn’ an abstract urban rooftop scene, using gravels, sands and crushed CDs - the free ones from newspapers!

The Ace of Spades is another, using old motorbike parts as supports for the stunning, dark planting scheme using old tyres feature as containers. Alien-like tables and chairs have been formed from bike parts with a unusual backdrop, a wall of old spade heads!

The Key garden, created by the Eden Project working with homeless people and those who have been in prison, and symbolises a journey from darkness into light in which old keys are used as mulch on the paths.

Giles Landscapes garden portrays the lifestyle of a Fenland dweller and has been created using reclaimed, recycled and discarded materials whilst promoting native plants in a domestic landscape.

The central idea to the Future Nature garden is water and its preservation in the changing climate. It incorporates storage of excess rainwater via storm water planters where the planting will tolerate also drier conditions, the use of green roofs to act like a sponge in absorbing rainfall and vertical tower to maximum space and provide shelter using reclaimed building items as homes for insects and wildlife.

Finally, the most unusual of all the gardens has to be the Paradise in Plasticine created by James May with help from the likes of a Teletubbies designer and some of the brains behind Wallace and Gromit.

Whilst many of the gardens use minimum colour, this garden operates at the other end of the spectrum! Like it or not, so much work has been put into it - by schoolchildren who made the daffodils, Chelsea pensioners who, of course, made the poppies, some sunflowers and the cake for the picnic by Jane Asher. The overall scene is highly colourful, if not garish, but also intriguing and attracted a huge amount of attention from the public. The garden will feature in the upcoming BBC Two series, James May’s Toy Stories.

Salvo at Chelsea

Salvo code dealers Architectural Heritage’s stand generated much interest and picture-taking with the striking Horse of the Moon contemporary piece by Nic Fiddian-Green, made from beaten lead over a resin carcass and alluding to the facade from the Parthenon which is now in the British Museum. Whilst early days in the show, Alex Puddy reported lively interest.

Triton UK Limited, Salvo code dealers also, again had a striking marker to their space with the one of the striking gryphons from a recent commission for Castle Oliver in Ireland carved out of Portland Stone. Also launched at the show is the new Commemorative Bench reproduced from 1860’s bench ends from a hotel, recovered from a reclaim yard. The seat uses reclaimed oak beams.

Chi-Africa imports from South Africa recycled metal sculptures from steel factory waste remnants and other reclaimed metal. The butterflies originated as oil drums and some even have the code number stamp as part of the design! The small birds were once fuel cans (the spout is the underbelly!) and have you ever wondered what happens to the centre cut-out when making washers?? An owl of course!

RHS and show waste
The RHS has introduced a new waste disposal policy at the show aiming to achieve a recycling rate of over 80% in its first year. Construction/general/co-mingled recyclable/non-recyclable waste will be removed from site and locally processed and sorted. Non-recyclable waste will be chipped and turned into a fuel for waste to energy.

The RHS encourages the gardens to live on after the shows and some gardens are relocated in their entirety - these include ‘The Marshalls Living Street’ which is to be donated to the Living Streets campaigning charity aiming to improve streetscapes across Britain

Ranelagh School ‘Learning to Grow’ garden will be relocated to the grounds of the school, whilst Birmingham City Council’s ‘Credit Munch’ will sell off perishable plants at the end of the show and remaining plants and materials will be rebuilt at the Horticultural Training Centre in Birmingham.

During the run-up to the show, materials not needed for exhibits were placed in the ‘Materials Swap Shop’ for use by other exhibitors if needed.

During the break-down of the show at the end of this week, the RHS is working with the London Community Recycling Network (LCRN) offering a re-use scheme for unwanted materials from the show. One participant of the scheme is to be the Tutu Peace Garden to be built in Chinbrook Meadows Park, Grove Park, Lewisham, London.

A series of designers at the show have agreed to donate parts of their gardens to be used in the Desmond Tutu Peace Garden which is being created by Chris Beardshaw and involves five schools in the local area along with design students from Hadlow College. Suzannah Clarke lives in the house in Lewisham that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop who played a major role in the end of apartheid. lived in in the 70s. She has secured funding to commemorate Tutu with a peace garden with plants from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Funding has been received from The National Lottery towards its creation in time for the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s return to the area in July.

Show statistics
- It takes 800 people just over 3 weeks to build the show
- It takes 3 weeks to build a show garden
- 10 days to build a small garden - but both come apart in 5 days!
- the Great Pavilion is 12000m sq - the size of two football pitches
In 2008:
- 5564 bottles of champagne were drunk (mmm..)
- 53,680 glasses/1,160 jugs of Pimms were served (lovely!!)
The show recycled
- 12.8 tonnes of glass,
- 17.4 tonnes of plastic bottles/cardboard

Chelsea flower show

Full details of the show gardens and awards

Architectural Heritage


Where the gardens go after the show

Desmond Tutu garden

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