Tag Archives: Chelsea Flower show 2012

Video of the slide down from the Westland Magic garden at Chelsea Flower Show (that big pyramid thing)

I can only apologise for the terrible witch-like cackle at the beginning and end of this video. However, I did come down from this enormous several storey garden in a metal slide. he poor chap at the end is just a random person who happened to come down after me.







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To get up there, first you queue – unless you are a celebrity in which case you queue-jump – then you go up a few floors in a lift. The queue is long.  I probably wasted an hour of garden exploring but figured it would be worth the wait. Goodness only knows if they will be opening up on public days – the queues will be enormous.

Inside is a LOT of scaffolding, but also a lot of plants. And planters. And trees, and a greenhouse, and a shed. It’s an extraordinary thing Diarmuid Gavin has created.

Once out of the lift there are two very steep, very rickety wooden ladders to climb to get the view from the top. Then you have to navigate them backwards to get down to the top of the slide (there are more ladders if you want to descend by steps or you can wait for the five-person lift).

The slide is the easiest way to get down, and it is fun, although you do go very fast.

Is it a show garden? Yes of course it is. And worth it just for the inevitable headaches it will have given Heath & Safety officers.

All words and pictures © Northamptonshire Gardens


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Diarmuid Does it Again: Show stealing pyramid dominates press day at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Diarmuid Gavin’s big slide

IT’S that time again, garden designers and plantsmen are in a state of panic as Chelsea Flower Show press day arrives.

An strangely subdued air to this year’s build-up – there are 16 large show gardens and Main Avenue seems somewhat empty.

Brewin Dolphin

But what is there is pretty spectacular. On the first corner as you come in from Garden Gate past the Royal Hospital is Cleve West’s Brewin Dolphin (that’s a company by the way) garden.

Next is Joe Swift’s Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust garden. The designer was banned from presenting the BBC’s usual nightly coverage this year, as were all the presenters who are exhibiting, on the grounds of impartiality. (They are probably quite busy and knackered too.)

Thomas Hoblyn’s Arthritis Research Garden has some impressively tall skinny cypress trees as its backdrop.

Joe Swift for Homebase

Andy Sturgeon’s M&G garden comes next, with its copper rings coming out of the water feature. Lovely planting though.

Arne Maynard has returned to Chelsea this year after a 12 year absence for Laurent-Perrier, and although the pink punctuation is gorgeous, it was looking a little floppy on Monday morning.

Sarah Price’s Telegraph Garden next door is quite muted, but again the plants are the star.

Across the path is the RBC Blue Water Garden (which I read as the BBC Blue Peter Garden on first glance), by Olympic Park designer Professor Nigel Dunnett, with a distinctive conical-roofed seating area.

Joe Swift, in there somewhere

Don’t miss Jo Thompson’s gorgeous Celebration of Caravanning garden on the opposite side of the run, with so much delicious planting crammed into the space it seems Doris the caravan might never actually hit the road.

Across from Jo is Adam Frost’s Land’s End: a Rural Muse, which apparently draws inspiration from Northamptonshire’s own 19th century wandering poet John Clare.

Coming down to the end of Main Avenue all eyes shoot upwards. You simply cannot avoid the ridiculously huge and rather scary-looking pyramid offering from the ever-adventurous Diarmuid Gavin. Which has a slide from the top. It simply has to be seen to be believed, the scale of it is so enormous. I feel slightly sorry for the Quiet Time:

DMZ Forbidden Garden which is simply dwarfed on what is usually the key site.

Thomas Hoblyn for Arthritis Research


All words and pictures © Northamptonshire Gardens

Jo Thompson for the Caravan Club

Telegraph Garden

Arne Maynard Laurent-Perrier

M&G garden by Andy Sturgeon

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