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Sally Court

Sally Court

  • Date Joined: 30 May 2008

National Year of Reading courtyard garden

Posted by Sally Court on 30 May 2008 at 10:21 AM

As a designer who has had a long association with creating show gardens at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, imagine my delight when I was appointed by the National Year of Reading in February to create their garden at this year's show.  Although I am used to creating gardens for shows in a relatively short time this one was a real challenge as our garden plan had to be submitted to the RHS panel by the end of February.  The garden, with only a couple of small modifications, was accepted (see the garden design below) and we have been allocated a wonderful site with the Palace set behind us.  You can't beat this setting.

Click on the design to view a larger picture.

Creatively this garden has to be very special as it has not only to attract the garden fraternity who are already on our side but also has to appeal to a young audience and potential readers.  The design is based on the pleasures of reading with many tall tales woven throughout the garden.  I decided that the entry into the garden would be through a "bedroom", where many of us have happy reading memories, leading down through the planting, much of it quite odd and out of context, past a pool and up out through a thicket of ferns.  The inspiration came from my own eclectic reading habits, from bedtime stories when I was little to what intrigues me in adulthood.

I know there are lots of other projects going on all over the country for the National Year of Reading. Click here for more information.

I can't believe that we will be on site in less than 9 weeks and there is still so much to be done.  I started to relax a little as my contractor, Les Hewett, has had great experience in building show gardens and the nurseries that I have been contacting are more than used to being asked to supply the unexpected.  The trees have been tagged, the herbaceous plants are growing, the carnivorous plants sourced, the ferns are OK but the salad leaf lawn?  Now that has been an on-going concern.  One supplier promised that this would be no problem but here we are now at the end of April and they still have not confirmed that they are able to sow in time for the show!  Help.  I've got fed up with waiting so I've contacted and old friend, Bob Shearman, at Garden Organic and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he can come to my rescue.  Then I wake up at night wondering if the slugs and snails at the Palace will find my tasty lawn..... or whether the weather will be kind to us to allow us to construct our straw bale walls and not wash off the special render...oh there is still so much to do!

Next time, I'll let you know how things are going with the salad leaf lawn(!), as well as giving more about what inspired the garden.

Sally Court, Courtyard Garden Design

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