During the summer holidays Jane Hartley and I have been working hard with ideas for the four Learning Journey Gardens that are planned for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014, fine tuning the concepts and sounding out the views of many of the interested parties.
We have had a meeting at the head office of the Royal Horticultural Society in London and discussed the new concepts with the Show staff and our designation within the different categories of exhibits. In the past we were classified in the ‘Gardens’ category, but as all the other exhibits were outside and we didn’t want to move (too exposed to wind, weather and frost-bite) the RHS have said we should be judged in the ‘Educational’ category and moved closer to others in the Grand Pavilion.
The change of category will not affect our chances of medals - a different set of judges can still present awards from Bronze, through Silver, Silver-Gilt and, of course, the ultimate accolade of Gold. So fingers crossed. We still have to submit our ideas to the judging panel before we are officially allocated space, but we hear that our ideas sound spot on.
I have posted the schools brief on a separate page and you will see detailed ideas on the four gardens. With an overall theme of Horticulture in Education we plan to build two gardens using plants from Primary Schools, one garden by using plants from Secondary Schools and one from a Horticultural College of Further Education.
Each of the gardens will reflect ideas from books popular with each of the age groups. The Primary schools will be dressing Alice’s Adventurous Flower Garden surrounding a traditional tea party tableau full of suitable characters. Next door will be Mr McGregor’s Vegetable Garden complete with plenty of furry friends and of course plenty of lettuce to feed the visitors.
As the age group changes garden number three will be dressed by Secondary schools who will provide an interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet setting depicting the conflict between the Montagu and Capulet families that culminates in the resulting love between the two leading characters. Called Miracle-Gro’wers Romantic Garden it will provide a great theme with magical impact.
The last garden will be designed and grown by Capel Manor Horticultural College and be an interpretation of a novel by Joan Hessayon called Capel Bells. The author based her novel in the main house of the college and imagined how its tenant, a florist, used the grounds and its staff to further her business. It is hoped that Capel’s Chelsea Garden will also reflect the wide variety of subjects taught at the College - arboriculture, garden design, animal welfare, horticulture and floristry.