Update on Chelsea Flower Show exhibit 2014 | Love The Garden

Update on Chelsea Flower Show exhibit 2014

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru

Show dates Monday 19 May to Saturday 24 May

Here’s news on how things have developed over the last month or so on the Chelsea Flower Show 2014 plans. Jane and I have been working hard negotiating with the RHS over our plans and proposals and have finally submitted our final ideas to them this week. We look forward to hearing if they need any further changes.
Basically the RHS want us to move to the new Discovery area where education is the key element to all displays. If we get allocated a space, fingers crossed, it is scheduled to be in the same place on the north wall of the Giant Pavilion.

CompostingWe plan to have three different areas – the first one is a flower garden that will describe and show the difference between home-made garden compost for soil conditioning versus composts you buy inbags for potting on container growing plants. We will be asking Miracle-Gro’wers to do experiments with growing plants and to test composts, to see if plant growth varies. The big legend for this garden is “COMPOST makes a difference”. We will still be showing a small tea party scene in the central lawn area so keep thinking about your Alice characters.

On the second garden of Vegetables we will be showing how plant growth can vary depending on the feeding of those plants. Most of these plants will be grown from seed and we will send these out at the beginning of 2014. The legend for this garden is “FEEDING makes a difference” and we would ask Miracle-Gro’wers to grow these vegetables in ordinary garden soil and do experiments to show how different types of feed make a difference to the colour, size and tastiness of the final plant. Due to copyright problems we will not be able to show rabbits that are dressed or resemble characters from the Peter Rabbit stories, including Mr McGregor. As a replacement however, we will display ordinary rabbits, hedgehogs, pheasants, quail and other animals that could be found in a country garden. These will be displayed on the central lawn area.

The third area, mostly grown by secondary schools and colleges, will feature a colourful Romeo and Juliet garden of lovely flowers. The red flowers for the Montague family, sharply divided by the white of the Capulet family will merge in the centre with a heart shaped bed filled with pink flowers from the Miracle-Gro Flower Magic range of seeds. Here the legend of “LOVE makes a difference” will be explained by boards that tell how talking to your plants is important and how your watering regime, the temperature and light provided, make a difference to plant growth.   

Primary Schools

Young plantsWith Flowers test different composts. If you receive flowering plants, cuttings or seeds we would like you to grow them on and when they need potting on to pot some of them in good potting compost,some of them in a not-so-good compost (perhaps find some well rotted material from a garden compost bin) and some plants in ordinary garden soil. Keep them all in the same sort of growing environment e.g. all outside, or all in cold greenhouse or all indoors on windowsills.

In this way you will have some plants that are big and strong and others that are not so vigorous. That’s what we want. As with all scientific tests you will need to take photographs showing that the plants started out looking similar and more photographs to show how they finished up. Please label each plant pot so you know how to treat that individual plant through its life.  If your pupils can write a diary of the results and possibly even create a video diary this would be great.  We can use this material on our website, the stand and in any of our marketing literature.
 
With Vegetables test different feeding regimes. Most of these will be started from seeds in a few months time and they should be germinated in a seed and cutting compost. When big enough to handle pot up all plants in the same medium. To show the benefits of feeding use ordinary garden soil but vary the feeding you give different collections of say 6 plants. You may like to add a Miracle-Gro Continuous release plant food to the soil before you start and water them with a Miracle-Gro liquid feed in the spring when they are growing fast. With cabbages and other greens you may like to feed some with a high nitrogen feed such as a Miracle-Gro lawn food. Have fun and see what works well, you may find that if you over-do the feeding your plants will not look happy – that shows the perils of overfeeding. You get the idea.  Again a photo or video diary would be great.

Secondary Schools

In early 2014 schools will receive Miracle-Gro Flower Magic seeds for immediate sowing and growing on. We need to grow the majority of resulting plants as well as for the heart-shaped bed in the centre of the stand, butwe also need to be able to show some plants that have been neglected, so the public can see the difference between LOVE and neglect. You are free to do your own experiments to see what happens if light is poor or overly generous, perhaps compare over-watering with under-watering, or even grow neglected plants too cold or too warm. You will see how the environment and plant treatment changes the growth. 

Early in spring we will also hope to provide you with seeds to grow some exotic and highly unusual plants, together with rooted cuttings of red and white bedding plants to continue with your experiments. 

We will still need a life-size Romeo figure and attractive Juliet to dress the third garden that is entitled “LOVE makes a difference”.

John Clowes

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