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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd May 2015, 1:00 pm

Had a long day wandering around at Chelsea flower show on Wednesday.  TBH, it is more Mrs C-H's scene than mine, but I've not been before so thought it would be interesting.  We also need to rework our front garden, which is a sort of semi-natural dandelion lawn Wink, and a bit of the back garden which, if we proceed with our building plans,  will end up with  quite a level difference.  So I was looking for inspiration.

I'm not quite sure I found what I was looking for.  I did, however get a reconfirmation of what I like (and don't !).  I love the more naturalistic style, and for me The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden was clearly deserving of its best in show.  I also liked the L’Occitane: A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse.  The little group of olive trees with a table and chairs amongst it really made me want to go and sit down for a while.  Which brings me to gripe #1; I felt like I was an outsider, peering over the wall into a garden when I really wanted to be in amongst it.

What I didn't like so much are the gardens with too much unnatural hard landscaping, bizzare sculpture etc.  I also can't quite break free of the practical voice inside me that says things like "do you really want to clean all the perspex in that water feature when it turns green" and "what will that look like when the wood has faded to grey with the sunlight" and "How will those cacti survive the winter outdoors ?".  It seemed to me that many of the gardens were obviously designed for the week, not for the rest of a lifetime.  Maybe the sort of people who have these gardens re-work them every other year ?

Anyway, a personal favourite here.  I looked at this garden, and decided that perhaps I don't have to rework my garden much at all !  I mean, wild flowers - check.  Shave horse - check.  Wood shavings - Oh yes.  Half finished woodworking projects - check. Log pile - check.  I can leave it just as it is Laughing  Well, maybe.

Chelsea 2015 Trugsh10
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Post by Dandelion on 23rd May 2015, 9:42 pm

That's a lovely picture CH.

Was musing a bit today about lawns (as we passed a beautiful uncut area of grass in Ledbury, full of dandelions and buttercups looking beautiful.) I'm sure there a class thing involved: great houses of the 18th and 19th centuries had rolling lawns neatly tended, because there was money to pay for the manpower. Somehow this became a target for everyone to aim at; borders around the edge of a patch of lawn with razor sharp edges, and pin stripes running from one end to the other. Think of Metroland, and Percy Thrower. These were the thoughts running through my mind as i hurled the mower over the lawn at lunchtime (no stripes anywhere to be seen!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 24th May 2015, 2:06 pm

I have only been to Chelsea once but, like you CH, was disappointed that I could only look over the barrier and not wander through. On the subject of lawns, our bka had a talk recently on planting for pollinators and we saw some lovely pictures of flowering lawns (still under development). The areas were covered with low growing flowering plants that could withstand a hammering, not a blade of grass in sight. They looked beautiful and only needed cutting once a year after flowers had set seed.
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Post by Ploshkin on 24th May 2015, 2:11 pm

Just found this - hope link works
http://www.grassfreelawns.co.uk/
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Post by freebird on 24th May 2015, 3:11 pm

Just had a quick read of that link, Ploshkin. That looks MOST interesting. I'm heartily sick of some of the areas of grass in my garden, mainly because they harbour some very pernicious varieties that spread all over the place. I've been pondering various solutions, and this might provide at least some of the answer. I've never been in favour of a lot of hard landscaping, so didn't want to go down that route.

Another here that was disappointed by Chelsea, when I went many years ago. My main complaints were how small a venue it turned out to be, and the crowding. I'd only ever seen it on gardening programmes, so like you CH, was terribly disappointed when I couldn't walk through the small gardens - after all, the TV presenters did.

If I do anything similar, I tend to go to Hampton Court. Same idea, bigger venue.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th May 2015, 10:24 pm

I'm sure those nicely mowed lawns would have been quite a status symbol in the days it had to be done by manual power with the scythe. My friend Simon likes to demonstrate that he can mow faster with a scythe than a machine (and has managed to get over 2000000 hits for his YouTube video by simple expedient of doing so in shirtless Poldark style Rolling Eyes ) but I don't think you could work at that rate for long !

Anyway, back to Chelsea. I've seen a few of the BBC programmes, and the coverage seemed not at all bad to me. Anyway, at the end of the last programme I saw, Monty Don made a few comments I agreed with very much; firstly he picked the same two gardens I mentioned above - the Chatsworth and Perfumer's gardens - as favourites, but the other comment was that they really need to find a way of allowing visitors to walk through the gardens. I don't really understand why they don't introduce timed tickets for walk through presentations of the gardens by a member of the team who designed / built them.

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