A Chelsea Show Garden - build week
It's week two of Chelsea build up and I've relocated from Suffolk to the RHS Chelsea showground for the duration. It is not because I have become intolerable at home or am not wanted in my posh barn conversion office that overlooks an orchard and wildflower meadow....well, that's not strictly true. I haven't moved down here because my contractors need pushing.
Far from it; they are getting on splendidly and are bang on schedule and I would even go so far to say, they would probably prefer it if I wasn't here. No, I am here because there is nowhere else to go. As with all the designers here, I am living and breathing Chelsea and certainly, no good to man nor beast elsewhere. This is my baby, a year in the making, and I want to be here to see each stone put in place, each sheet of glass craned into position and each barrow load of soil removed.
This is my fourth year at Chelsea and one would think it possible to become a little blasé about the whole thing. Yes I am more relaxed about the build: when a chip of granite breaks off my beautiful granite pool edging, I know that we have some re-constituted granite for repairs such as this. When my amazing pavilion roof was lifted in at the weekend and found to be 25 mm out, thus skewing each of the pillars by a few millimetres, I knew that we could accommodate this discrepancy within our precision cut granite floor.
My office is now a ten foot garden shed in the middle of the Chelsea showground.
In four years we've learnt so much: expect the unexpected and always have a back up plan. We still get let down though: this year it's our glass roof company, amongst other things, they forgot to send down graphite washers to attach the roof to the ring beam and the poor chaps are having to come all the way down from Wakefield to put them in today. But at least we now know which companies to work with in the future.
We have learnt to make our site as comfortable as possible and keep morale up. Gone are they days of camping out under a cheap gazebo eating hideous, overpriced food from the burger van. Now we have a ten foot shed, decked out with shelves, electrical sockets, coat hooks, two desks, a microwave, fridge and hot water boiler. It has the best view across my plot too. I love my shed...and the garden is beginning to look pretty good too. Roll on planting week.
Tom Hoblyn's debut at Chelsea in 2008 resulted in a gold medal, followed by a Silver medal in 2009 and silver Gilt in 2010. Follow the ups and downs of the creation of his most ambitious Chelsea Show Garden to date on this blog in the coming weeks.
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