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  • The first look of the garden...

    James Wong on 10 May 2010 at 11:35 PM

    Well still not quite a 'garden', but on our 6th day on site the basic structure of the design is definately emerging - as the comparison between our computer model and this photo we took today shows.  It's really reassuring to see that we seem to be nicely on schedule!



  • First day on site

    James Wong on 06 May 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Phew! What a whirlwind couple of days.

    So, this morning was the day of reckoning - the first day we had access to the site. It was great to see our plot on the end of Main Avenue, sheltered on three sides by pavillions and giant London plane trees. One of David and my key concerns has always been the wind and sun damage that our spoilt, greenhouse-grown tropical plants could be susceptible to once planted out, and thankfully it looks like we have one of the most sheltered locations of the show


  • Only a few days left!

    James Wong on 28 Apr 2010 at 01:20 AM

    Well, the moment of reckoning seems to be well and truly upon us, with exactly a week to go before the start of the build, the pressure really is on!

    Again apologies for the lack of daily updates, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of trying to gather up a hundred and one loose ends to make sure that the imminent build goes as smoothly as possible. Here though is a full update on what we have been up to over the past few weeks


  • Back to reality...

    James Wong on 30 Mar 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Apologies for not being back for an update so long, I have just arrived back after a long trip to Malaysia looking for plants for the garden and filming an exciting new documentary following all the trials and tribulations of our search out there.

    It was an amazing experience going back after such a long time away, strangely it was half like no time had passed since I left, and yet also as if I was visiting for the first time. I suppose as a designer it's a real advantage to be able to see things from both perspectives, getting back into "the zone" walking in stunning oldy worldy kampungs in downtown Kuala Lumpur and seeing some really crazy plants that until now I had only known from photos I had drooled over in dusty academic journals


  • Off to Malaysia on a plant hunting mission!

    James Wong on 26 Feb 2010 at 04:33 AM

    Begonia pavoninaSelaginella wildenowiiSelaginella wildenowiiSelaginella wildenowiiSelaginella wildenowiiDesigning gardens can seem like an incredibley idyllic job, visiting exciting new nurseries, toying with cool computer models and  generally concocting up strange new ideas. All this may be true, but when it comes to Chelsea there is an awful lot of hard graft too!

    It's 4.30am right now, and I don't think I've been to bed earlier than this for the past month - and the show still isn't for months to come. The reason is when you are working with Malaysian nurseries (where we hope to get a small collection of truly wierd and wonderful plants) you need to be up for the Malaysian working day. The tricky thing is you also need to be awake for your UK-based builders, plant sourcing team, materials suppliers, etc - and these factors conspire to create a pretty heavy duty sleep deprivation - so I do hope you excuse the inevitable typos


  • The White Bat Lily: an amazing new plant at Chelsea - if only we could find it!

    James Wong on 21 Feb 2010 at 10:51 PM

    Tacca intergrifolia

    So it's almost 11pm on a Sunday night and I am at my wits end, having spend all weekend desperately trying to track down a "make or break" plant for our garden


  • Malaysian Minister for Tourism to open the Malaysian Garden!

    James Wong on 19 Feb 2010 at 06:00 PM

    Who would of thought it? 

    I got a phone call today to say that the Malaysian Minister for Tourism will be opening the garden at the show. It is really great to see such high level excitement about the project. Looks like I might need to ditch muddy T-shirts and grass-stained jeans for one day at least


  • Backstage pass to building a garden at Chelsea

    James Wong on 18 Feb 2010 at 09:09 PM

    In just 95 days the ribbon will be cut on what will be the first-ever full size tropical show garden in Chelsea's over 100 year history - and my design partner David Cubero and I are incredibly excited to have won the contract to design and create the ambitious new project- which to be honest is exciting and daunting in equal measure!

    "The Tourism Malaysia Garden", designed to give visitors to Chelsea a taste of the spectacular landscapes, bizarre flora and vibrant, modern culture of the Malaysian Archipelago, will cover some 220 square meters and is inspired by lush rainforests and traditional Malaysian village gardens - albeit interpreted through a cool, ultra modern lense. Being part Malaysian and having spent a huge amount of my childhood there, this is a really personal journey for me, and with stiff competition & having set ourselves a rather ambitious brief, it should be a pretty eventful journey