A Chelsea Show Garden - medals
Last Tuesday, the day I have been waiting for, for the last six months finally came around - Chelsea Medal Day. Just after dawn, the RHS run around the show ground dispensing medals to the sea of anxious designers and exhibitors; not a shiny-Olympic-pendant-variety I might add, but a printed card in varying shades from Gold to Bronze, that is displayed at the side of your garden.
Joe Swift presents a piece from the show garden
Like an Oscar-nominee, I couldn't bear to look and decided to arrive at the garden a little later than normal. As I turned on to Main Avenue from the Royal Hospital Road, a sparkling Gold emblem is what I yearned to see winking back at me. Only the day before fellow-designer and veteran Chelsea Gold medal winner Andy Sturgeon said 'You've cracked it' and a little bit of me hoped I had.
Unfortunately for me this year, that wasn't to be. I learn that I was only one tiny little point away from reaching the Gold -so it is another Silver-Gilt for me this year. I'm gutted, disappointed, tired and emotional. It is hard to bear.
Later that day, Joe Swift arrives on the garden to do a piece to camera to accompany a pre-recorded film the BBC did with me in Cornwall a few weeks ago. It is going out that evening and he wants to know how I feel about my medal...I need to pick myself and dust myself down.
"In quieter moments I take refuge in my pavilion"
From here on in it is a whirl of sponsor dinners, tours of the garden and all the general meeting and greeting that comes with Chelsea.
In quieter moments I take refuge in my pavilion. From here I can hear visitors talking about the garden. They love the pavilion, are delighted to see Rhodos back at Chelsea and are a full of praise for my granite water rills. There is nothing like the great British public to lift your spirits.
And hang on; this is the world-famous, world-class Chelsea Flower Show. A Silver-Gilt Medal is a brilliant achievement and a testament to the hard work of everyone who help me get here.
I'm already toying with the idea of coming back next year...but don't tell my wife.
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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