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Philippa Pearson

Behind the scenes diary for The Victorian Aviary Garden at Chelsea Flower Show and The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010

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Nice and easy does it

Posted by Philippa Pearson on 29 Mar 2010 at 03:17 PM

 When I tell people that I'm doing two show gardens this year, Chelsea and Hampton Court, the usual reaction is 'you must be mad!'. This statement is usually accompanied by a great rolling of the eyes, gasps of hot air, wild arm gestures and an intense gaze that makes me feel that maybe I've said something to upset them. I normally smile delightfully back in the hope that I have convinced people that I'm not mad (honest) and that I'm fully in control of all my facualties. Convincing myself is, however, another story. I know Tony Smith did three show gardens last year in a row, good chap, and has lived to tell the tale so it can't be all that bad, really, can it? (And he's doing two this year, as well).


So, here's the knowledge for the show garden techies among you, deep breath...

I was selected to do design the Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden for Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last July, fresh from dusting off the Breakdown dust from my safety boots. What an absolute treat to have more than two weeks to design a show garden! We've just had the official 'OK' from the RHS (can't believe how many tweaks they wanted to the original design submission) so it's chocs away and all systems go for getting plants and features grown and built. Think fun and colour with some rather nice garden design details here and there.

Four weeks after accepting the Girlguiding UK commission, Jonathan Denby asked me in late August 2009 if I'd like to be co-designer for a Chelsea garden. Well, you try turning down the opportunity to be at Chelsea?! We found out a week before Christmas we'd got in (can't believe how many tweaks they wanted to the original design submission - have I said that before somewhere?). The Victorian Aviary Garden blends traditional Victorian features and formality with modern colourful planting. I met Jonathan at last year's Hampton Court Show, he with A Beekeeper's Garden (with Nicola Hills), me with The Sadolin Nature To Nurture Garden.

So, how am I coping with doing two show gardens in a row? As you'd expect - early starts, late finishes, not enough sleep, not enough food and plenty of Touche Eclat from YSL to patch up the blossoming dark circles under my eyes. Haven't quite resorted to too many convenience foods for the hungry hoards of teenagers that keep invading the house, have managed to get some ironing done, taken the dog out for long walks and I even mowed the lawn yesterday. Not too bad, then!


Tony Smith said:

Hi philippa. I think you probably are mad, but I hope in good company!

Good luck, see you at Chelsea.

Tony Smith

on 29 Mar 2010 at 09:42 PM

Philippa Pearson said:

Ha ha! Where's the best bacon butties on site then?

on 31 Mar 2010 at 08:58 AM