Yes: RHS eat your heart out. This is the one they’ve all been waiting for. It’s time for….
The Constant Gardener Awards Malvern 2011
More categories this year than last year, mainly because it was a really very good show and I kept coming across things I liked. So… without further ado…. let the ceremony begin!
Planting Scheme I’d Most Like to Take Home
The Parterre from Lady Alice’s Garden (Silver)
Mainly because I’ve got a couple of terraces crying out for a parterre.
I particularly liked the way this one wasn’t fully enclosed: so the diamonds created little open planting pockets at the edges. The planting inside was lovely too in silver and mauve: aquilegia, lavender, sweet rocket, alchemilla and artemisia, with foxgloves at the back for height.
Sculpture of the Year
Avon Bulbs (gold)
The runaway winner: quite, quite exquisite, especially the way they picked out the colours in the planting. Avon always do a fabulous display, but this year I thought they excelled themselves.
Water Feature of the Year
I so totally covet this spiral rill, invented by one of Chris Beardshaw’s would-be mentoring scholars.
Hedge of the Year
The Atomic Journey (Silver)
Well, not so much a hedge as a garden sculpture: a sensuous, sinuous bubble of a centrepiece to Becky Hand’s garden, again for the Chris Beardshaw scholarship.
The Morgan Garden (Silver-gilt)
Actually I couldn’t make up my mind whether I liked this properly or not, but I think the combination of textures from the yew and box was interesting – and softening it with tiarella and verbena was a lovely touch.
Nickable Idea to Take Home
The Rain Garden (Silver)
This bug hotel, built into the end of a wall in Rhea Lyn Parkes’ garden, was super-smart and just goes to show that wildlife gardens don’t need to be hairy. Another Chris Beardshaw Scholarship hopeful (they should pay these people by the idea, you know).
The Shepherd’s Garden (Silver)
I felt a bit sorry for this garden, tucked away behind the Floral Marquee: and it had some nice little touches, such as these home made and rather charming plant labels (would have been better with full and correct names, mind you…).
Spurious Celebrity Photo of the Year
Bizarre Sight of the Year
This busy little pair were there for the rather lovely box gardens created by the Care Farms movement – of which, I hope, more later. They even had flowers painted on their backs….. awwww…..
Plant that Really Shouldn’t Exist
It’s a two-foot high Wisteria floribunda. It’s 40 years old. It was on Pinewood Bonsai (Silver-gilt) and rather fascinating, in a shuddery, mutant sort of way.
I’ve said this before… but sometimes, breeders just don’t know where to stop.
Bonkers Idea of the Year:
In Pursuit (of the Heart of the Matter) (Silver)
These caused terrible problems if you’re a journalist – I kept having to edit myself after writing ‘hairy balls’. They’re planted with turf and the occasional bit of wildflower – things like achillea and clover. And lettuce. Why lettuce? There is a serious point – something to do with the melding of science and nature – but actually, they’re just so wierd they’re good.
Artist's Garden said:
Love your awards!Interestingly the Lady Alice's Garden is the planting I liked least – but I am with you on most of the others, I did however have to resist whipping out my clippers and giving the "hairy balls" a quick trimK
Elephant's Eye said:
Any idea where that Avon Bulbs sculpture is going after the show? I love that the flowers are 'real', and the bee and the butterflies!
The Constant Gardener said:
Thank you both!I know what you mean about the planting Karen – it was lovely enough but quite lightweight and not necessarily the bit I wanted to nick 😀 And I'd love to have seen the designer's face if you gave his hairy balls a short back and sides… oops, there I go again…EE – no that's a really good point. Next time I'm talking to them I'll ask them – the nursery is just up the road from me here in Somerset. Will let you know just in case you can put in a bid!
I also have a picture of the ghastly lupin blob bonsai. It seems to totally defeat the point of bonsai'ing something. Agree about Avon bulbs display and loved the sculpture too.If you were around when the sheep were around then I was around too – shame I missed you.
Arabella Sock said:
OOps JD is me Arabella Sock in case you were wondering… forgot to sign in as AS
The Constant Gardener said:
Ah that makes sense now! Well actually I did see you across a crowded showground… but you were stalking Matthew Wilson at the time so I thought I'd better not interrupt ;D
re: the bonsai wisteria. So glad I'm not the only one who doesn't feel comfortable with these. Always seems so ruddy cruel – there you have a plant which is desperate to grow and do what nature intended and some vandal keeps coming along and mutilating the roots . . .