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RHS Flower Shows

Behind the scenes information from our flower shows

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  • RHS Malvern Flower Show - Solar Chic Update 1

    Posted by Pip Probert on 21 Apr 2013 at 12:42 PM
    Well, we are finally on site at the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show! It is a great set up and a very friendly show, with beautiful surroundings. So far we have only had two days on site and they have been fairly cold and a bit wet at times. Most of what we have done is marking out and setting up the items that were made in advance, so lots of prebuilt wooden planters. I love it when all the materials arrive, it is like emptying a box of jigsaw pieces and starting to put them in piles ready to begin! So far we have the lush ivy panels on site, all our building materials and the beautiful Digby Stone Solar Granite. There are still a few more pieces of the jigsaw to arrive, but we are ready to move forward quickly when we get to site in the morning. Just a short post for today, as I have only come home for more tools and we are heading off back down to Malvern this afternoon! Keep looking out for more posts as we build are 'Solar Chic' Show Garden at #rhsmalvern.


  • Year In The Life Of A Garden Designer - March 2013

    Posted by Pip Probert on 05 Apr 2013 at 07:30 PM
    Well March was a very strange month for us, as it was for most people! With lots of onsite work we were hoping that Spring might have arrived early, but sadly not. This time last year, we had glorious weather and we were making the most of it before the 'never ending' winter set in about May/June! We are getting much busier again now after the winter months and are working on various private gardens doing all sorts of jobs. This ranges from a 'Spring Makeover Day' which we offer to customers who have had a complete garden transformation built by us. Through to planted borders, ponds, sunken gardens and terraced patios… all sorts of different styles, which is why I love designing private gardens! Each customer wants a completely unique space that reflects them, their house and their hobbies. Some of my designs may have a similar feature or material from time to time, but each one so VERY different! I am also designing various planting schemes for all types of areas, shaded, coastal and aquatic which again gives lots of room for researching new plants to add to my 'inbrain database'. I love designing for a bog garden, as there are so many plants can be used that many people don't think of. Also with the coastal borders, it is quite a challenge to create a beautiful scheme with lots of interest that will withstand the harsh winds! I have also been spending a lot of time with Hazel at Allturf, Allostock as we look at renovating the 'Green Garden' at Liverpool Hope University. This large grassed area proves to be a challenge in many ways. Surrounded on all sides by the library, offices and lecture rooms. All the materials, turf and plants will need to be transported via the beautiful building with its wooden corridors into the internal quad. Yet we are confident it can be done! As the time has been flying by, I have also been writing my schedules and course notes for the New Garden Design Diploma at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The course is due to start in September 2013, and so all the finishing details are going into putting the course together. I have spent my time relearning everything I was taught when I was studying - You can never be over prepared. I think the hardest part is to remember the things that you personally take for granted, that other people don't instinctively know until they have been taught. If you are interested in learning more about the Garden Design Diploma, there is an Open Evening where you can discuss the course with me and the other lectures on the 16th April. (So check out the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website for more details) It's hard to believe but we are also starting on site at the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show in a weeks time!! This month has seen the completion of all risk assessments, forms and details in preparation for the show. We also took a trip down to Digby Stone to collect some samples of the gorgeous Solar Granite Paving that we will be using at the show. I think we are virtually ready to leave now, and move into our lovely cottage for a month whilst we see the show through. Although I feel prepared in one way, I am worried sick about the plants! We are including various different plants in the scheme, but the tulips are scaring me the most! Fingers crossed, they will be flowering ready for all the visitors coming round the show (oh, and the judges!) All that's left now is to collect the new uniforms and pack the van! Although the weather has had a massive knock on effect for our work, you can't help but love the snow! I was very honoured to have a private sneak peek around Ness Gardens and I got the chance to take lots of amazing snowy photos of the gardens along with my 'Making Waves Garden'… which looked great with its white frothy peaks! Now I have a wide select of snow pictures, I have to request that we move onto Spring so that my tulips are flowering in time for Malvern. (Totally selfish, but it is very important!) If you would like to see some pictures of my garden at RHS Tatton Park 2012, you can pick up a copy of the New Digby Stone Catalogue. It has lots of images from last years garden 'A Taste of Ness', and also the much admired Polished Sandstone Patio! Look out for my Show Garden Blog Posts, as I am going to try and keep you all up to date with what's happening on site via Blog, Twitter and Facebook. There should be lots of photos to see to!


  • A Year In The Life Of A Garden Designer - February 2013

    Posted by Pip Probert on 28 Feb 2013 at 04:06 PM
    Well, it is the end of February and it is still freezing cold! It has been an eventful month working with lots of new people and things are already getting very busy. Early February saw my first tutoring weekend at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. My Short Course was called 'Design Your Dream Garden' and allowed the students to learn the basic principles of garden design, and also how to start planning their plot. We covered various styles and themes, available materials and how to put their ideas down on paper. We then went on to design their individual garden spaces. All the students had great ideas for the different plots they were working on, which really varied! We also had time for a quick wander round the gardens, with the snow covered peaks in the distance, along with Edinburgh Castle. You can find more details on the RBGE website and even book onto next years courses. Also we have started planning the NEW Garden Design Diploma for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which we will be able to give more information on at a later date. So keep watching! I have also given a few talks at various events, including Ness Botanic Gardens where I enlightened the Friends of Ness of the trials and tribulations of building the 'Making Waves Garden'. February has also brought further changes at Ness and I am looking forward to seeing the garden evolve through the year! We have been working on the entrance to the new Library at Liverpool Hope University, which is based on the Moeraki Boulders found on the Koekohe Beach, New Zealand. We have sculptures from the David Harber collection and box balls of all sizes to represent the boulders. This is one of many projects we are working on at the University and so with the new month we move onto a new project. Also this month I have visited the Malvern, Three Counties Show Ground and the Gardener's World Live, NEC to see our plots for the upcoming shows. We are all very excited now, as we are only 6 weeks away from going down to Malvern Flower Show with our sponsor Digby Trading. We are currently starting to build certain features ready to take down with us in April. With various private garden projects on the go we are moving quickly into early spring and look forward to March!


  • Year In The Life Of A Garden Designer - January

    Posted by Pip Probert on 13 Feb 2013 at 04:24 PM
    After the interesting year we had in 2012, I thought I would write something every month to describe what we are up to and the new, exciting projects we are working on. January has been a strange month for us a landscapers. The weather effects so many people in lots of different ways. If you work outside you will know exactly what I mean. The jobs we have been working on this month, both private gardens and public spaces have been greatly effected by cold, wind, rain, sleet and snow! What a start to the year! Even smaller jobs have taken a long time to complete, waiting on the correct conditions for putting turf down, planting and even pointing up paving etc. My men and I have worked through the terrible conditions to finish the jobs, even though it meant wearing a few layers of thermals! Site work aside, I have also been working on various designs for the RHS Shows. Working closely with Digby Trading, we hope to be at three shows this coming season. The first being RHS Malvern, which we are currently planning and arranging ready to start work in April. We haven't built a garden at the Malvern Show before and so this will be a new experience for us. We also hope to be at Gardeners World Live and RHS Tatton Park, and you can see my designs on my Outer Spaces website. January also brought lots of preparation work for my short course at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 'Design Your Dream Garden' will be teaching students what needs to be considered when putting designs together and how to draw up the plans. I have boxes of material samples from paving stones to gravel all ready to take up to Edinburgh. Im very excited to start at the Botanics and hope to see some of you up there! Well that was January! February will no doubt bring lots more preparation for the show gardens, so watch this space for the update!


  • Wrapping Up The Summer At Ness Botanic Gardens!

    Posted by Pip Probert on 04 Sep 2012 at 08:41 PM

    I never did get round to writing that last post to sum up our Ness Gardens journey. This weekend brings an exciting event to Ness and so it seemed like a good time to reflect. Read More...

  • A Taste Of Ness - Show Garden Update

    Posted by Pip Probert on 15 Jul 2012 at 10:31 PM
    As usual I have forgotten to keep on top of my blog, but I am hoping that I can be forgiven with some of the problems we have been dealing with. When we started on site at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show a few weeks ago, things started really well! The holes were dug, the ground levelled and our circular, steel pond was built on site. Friday (day 5), brought terrible rain which seemed to put many people off. We had various jobs we could do under cover and so decided to brave the weather. It is a good job we did!! It was raining so heavily that the steel pond was lifted out of the ground by the excess water, totally dislodging the rest of the construction work we had completed. Thinking that we had no chance of completing the garden in time, we soldiered on! When problems happen over the weekend it is very hard to put them right until Monday morning. Come Tuesday, we had managed to get back on track with the paving and the decking, with the odd dry hour here or there. Followed by our turf wave, which is now the seventh, and probably the last turf wave we will be constructing for a while! I completed the planting today and we have a few odd jobs to sort out tomorrow, but overall things are on track. We have the assessors visiting tomorrow, for their preliminary marking and of course a chat with the designers! Fingers crossed, and wish us good luck for Tuesday Judging.


  • A Taste Of Ness, Show Garden

    Posted by Pip Probert on 05 Jul 2012 at 07:53 AM
    Now we are on the finishing details at Ness Botanic Gardens, Making Waves is looking fabulous! The top layer of hoggin will be going on this week and the last piece of turf put down. Every garden takes a little bit of time to adjust, and Making Waves is filling out beautifully. We started on site at the RHS Tatton Park Flower show last Sunday, marking out the plot and most importantly our pond. The weather has already been against us, and the tent has come in handy for sheltering from the rain. We have made the circular, steel pond liner which is now ready for an extra layer of sealant (just to be safe!!) and then painting! The pond is a large part of the show garden, as it symbolises the water on site at Ness Gardens. Today we start on the frame work for our decking which surrounds the pond. If you would like to see what 'A Taste of Ness' is going to look like, you can follow my twitter photos or even the Ness Botanic Gardens Facebook page. You will find lots of pictures of the 'Making Waves' garden, which 'A Taste Of Ness' is sampling for the visitors of the show. It is to give people an idea of what to expect when visiting the evolving Ness Botanic Gardens.


  • Making Waves Garden - Ness Botanic Gardens

    Posted by Pip Probert on 28 Jun 2012 at 08:31 PM

    Well, we are nearly finished on site at Ness Botanic Gardens, and it has been pretty hard going!  The weather has really pushed us and the materials to the limit.  The ongoing rain has proved very difficult when planting, moving soil, creating levels, and most importantly forming our turf waves!  Another problem we have incurred on site has been the rabbits.  They have been eating things as quickly as I have planted them.  Apart from the natural problems, we are more or less finished.  The turf waves are being completed, and the hoggin path is going down.  So feel free to visit Ness Botanic Gardens and see the new Making Waves Garden over the next few weeks.



  • Making Waves - Half Way There!

    Posted by Pip Probert on 14 May 2012 at 07:36 PM

    Start of week three and we are finally coming at of the ground here at Ness Botanic Gardens.  Due to the design being based on spirals and every line a curve, it has taken us a while get everything set out, post lined up and levels set.  Today the deck has started to take shape and the soil levels have been raised ready for the planting to start.  It’s all very exciting, and the curvaceous nature of the design sparking off lots of interest with the visitors.

    Things will change quickly this week, and I am hoping to start the planting very soon.  Also our turf features are slowly emerging from the ground, with the internal supports going in today. Read More...

  • 'Making Waves' Garden Build

    Posted by Pip Probert on 03 May 2012 at 08:15 PM
    We are four days into the build at Ness Gardens, and things are going very well. Last Sunday I looked out the window and thought that the rain would never stop. Monday morning proved difficult with our plot being submerged in water. Even the ducks had settled in the puddles formed by the tracks of our digger! After sorting our levels and marking out the design we were ready to get working. The digger dug out the pond and started to form the pathways, along with lots of earth movement which is typical of the early stages of a build. Today, our pond is really taking shape as the block work goes up, and the unusual shape is starting to cause a stir with the visitors. Our deck has been marked out, and the posts set. Although it is still early days, it looks quite different to the grassed area that we found on Monday morning! We are hoping that tomorrow will bring more shape , as we finish our deck posts and start the path edging. You can visit Ness and see our progress, and if you go on Bank Holiday Monday there will be a plant sale for the people who can't resist a plant bargain!