Chelsea Flower Show 2014 | Love The Garden

Chelsea Flower Show 2014

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru

Show dates Monday 19 May to Saturday 24 May

FOUR Learning Journey Gardens in the Grand Pavilion 
OVERALL THEME for 2014 – Horticulture in Education.

There will be two gardens featuring plants grown and props made by Primary Schools. See details below.  
There will be one garden featuring plants grown and props made by Secondary Schools, Academies and Colleges.
The fourth garden will feature plants and props created by a Horticultural College. 
To encourage research and creativity each garden will be an interpretation of a book, play or poem.  The notes below give details of the three schools’ gardens.

N.B. Please don’t be frightened by this briefing. No school is expected to attempt more than one or two items, although there are some who will try many. Primary schools will be able to submit crops for both the flower and the vegetable garden. Nothing is compulsory and your involvement will depend on your resources, time and available effort. This brief is comprehensive so that we have detailed ideas for all gardens, but this framework doesn’t exclude you from finding your own plants to grow and your own prop to create. We aim to provide help with seeds and compost and perhaps plug plants and rooted cuttings later. 

POTTING - Each plant should eventually be in an individual plastic plant pot suitable for its size. Spindly plants such as poppy and sweet pea could be three of the same variety. Like this we will be able to combine flowers of similar colours and height more easily. Large containers are to be avoided.

CONTAINERS - If you find or have an idea for an interesting container please send us a picture or drawing of what you imagine with approx size marked and the decoration you plan to create. Remember the bigger the container the heavier it will become.

BACKDROPS - We are looking for designs for the backdrops to each garden. The scale is 4m wide by 2m tall. Your ideas as A4 drawings will be viewed by the end of the year and we will then consider how to use these to produce the final back walls most economically.

DIVIDING WALL, FENCES - The dividing barrier between the two primary schools needs to be decided and constructed. First suggestion is for a school or a partnership of schools to build a new coloured pencil fence similar to the one from 2012 between Primary schools flower and vegetable gardens. Any ideas for division between Vegetable patch and Romantic? 

Garden 1. Primary Schools 

Alice's Adventurous Flower Garden 

Show dates Monday 19 May to Saturday 24 May  FOUR Learning Journey Gardens in the Grand Pavilion  OVERALL THEME for 2014 – Horticulture in Education.  There will be two gardens featuring plants grown and props made by Primary Schools. See details below.   There will be one garden featuring plants grown and props made by Secondary Schools, Academies and Colleges. The fourth garden will feature plants and props created by a Horticultural College.  To encourage research and creativity each garden will be an inThis wonderland flower garden will feature colourful blooming plants in all colours of the rainbow. To make growing much easier we will attempt to obtain seeds and rooted plug plants of biennials and perennials that can be sown in autumn this year or grown from small plug plants on windowsills and in polytunnels so they should flower by May 2014.  We will be approaching plant suppliers and seed houses for suitable material. In the meantime you could find suitable material yourselves and start to grow now or early in September. Think about obtaining seeds or plug plants of pansies and violas, colourful sweet Williams, foxgloves (especially the new ones such as Illumination Pink), wallflowers (Sugar Rush is an interesting new  one), sweet peas, lupins, larkspur, godetia, bellis, aquilegia, aubretia, geum, scabious and polyanthus should be suitable. Delphiniums, phlox and hollyhocks may not flower in time.
Bulbs planted in September such as Camassia, allium and tulips could easily flower in May. Cuttings of some perennials and shrubs could also provide interesting foliage and flowers e.g. Sambucus Black Lace, photinias in pink and red, pinks (Dianthus) and border carnations.  For the adventurous you could beg some cuttings of fuchsias that could be overwintered on windowsills and encouraged into bloom for spring.  Or even split large clumps of decorative Heuchera into individual plants.
As soon as they are available in the new year, we will also try to source plug plants of tender annuals that you may be able to encourage into bloom for May.
We will also like to display a miniature tea party scene in the centre of a lawn, so children should research characters that would fit with the Lewis Carroll flower garden. If you are prepared to build your character, chair, bench or table (to fit characters of maximum height or length 60cm – 2ft) please send in your drawings by the end of November. We will judge from drawings and ask you to complete by the end of March. 

Garden 2. Primary Schools

Mr McGregor's Vegetable Garden

Mr McGregor's Vegetable GardenProductive and decorative garden complete with figures from the books of Beatrix Potter. 
Planting to be rich in all types of lettuce, especially red, frilly, bi-coloured, plus butterhead, cos, little gem, loose leaf and other salad leaves. For extra interest we will also source herbs. Most of these can easily be grown from early spring seed sowing. All other vegetables will be in background. 
We will attempt to source vegetables and fruit that can be successfully planted in autumn e.g broad beans (e.g. Aquadulce Claudia), peas, cauliflower, onion, garlic, spring cabbage (e.g Hero) and spring greens. We will also use some flowering plants from Alice’s Flower Garden above to ensure that Mr McGregor’s garden is also colourful.
We would also like to feature characters that would fit with the vegetable garden. If you are prepared to build Mr McGregor or a rabbit character, (Mr McGregor should be life size and rabbits not bigger than 45cm (18”) tall. Please send your drawings in by the end of November. Remember to include details on the back of each drawing showing character title, name of school and name and age of artist) We will judge from drawings and ask you to complete your character by the end of March. 

Garden 3. Secondary School 

Miracle-Gro'wers Romantic Garden

An interpretation of a Romeo & Juliet Garden. Enclosed garden with background house and balcony. Contrasting left and right sides of the garden will show the feud between the Montague and Capulet families. One side white and yellow flowers and vegetables – the other contrasting with plants in red and mauve. Shape of beds and perhaps figures to show animosity between the families. Towards the back and centrally will be a heart-shaped bed in frothy pink flowers and whispering grasses will show the combination in love of Romeo and Juliet. 
Flowers in white, yellow, red and mauve and pink will be needed in profusion. In the autumn you could start into growth seeds of Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila) godetia, clarkias, pansies, sweet Williams, or buy plug plants of lupins, foxgloves and tiny violas. Not sure how it grows in pots but I would love to see some pink and white Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) for the romantic garden. The books just say divide clumps in autumn without breaking the brittle roots. Let’s see. We hope to produce the light frothy look of the pink bed with the use of decorative grasses. Clumps of Stipa grasses (tenuissima and calamagrostis) would be ideal, but there are other short and whispy decorative grasses that could provide a similar look. I have some ‘black grass’ plants (Ophiopogon) and will pot up a dozen or so in autumn that may be useful for a dramatic edging to the red and mauve section.
Some vegetables can be started from seed in the autumn. For example Broad bean ‘Rubra’ is red flowered and will contrast nicely with white-flowered ‘Aquadulce Claudia’. 
We will attempt to obtain plugs of bedding plants in the new year for you to grow on. Hopefully these will include Geraniums, petunias, verbena, dahlia, You could try to grow red-leaved shrubs.  Loropetalum chinense ‘Hines Purple Leaf’ or L. ‘Rubrum’ will flower in May or perhaps small plants of Photinia ‘Red Robin’ or P. ‘Pink Marble’ will have attractive spring foliage. You can easily root cuttings of old herbaceous plants like Heucheras (see ‘Propogating Heucheras from old plants’ on U-Tube. We would also like to see pots of Thrift or Sea Pink (Armeria) for display. This can be found as white (‘Alba’), red (‘Bloodstone’) and pink (‘Vindictive’). Try to find an established clump, dig it up and pull the roots apart to make lots of new plants. 

4. Horticultural College 

Capel Manor College, Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, Middx

 To maintain literature link the college will base the garden around the novel by Joan Hessayon called ‘Capel Bells’.
College staff and students are to design the garden, grow or obtain the plants and develop their story. This could show a garden of 1900’s (the time of the novel) and feature the wide variety of subjects taught at the College - arboriculture, garden design, animal welfare, horticulture, floristry. They hope to feature a fuchsia called ‘Capel Bells’ within the garden.

John Clowes

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