What does it take to get a gold medal at Chelsea? If it’s a show garden the going rate is half a million pounds and a top designer, although that’s no guarantee of success, as several of the sponsors found at this year’s show. My only experience is in the show garden category , where, whatever the budget, the teams (which may comprise 30 workers) toil flat out for three weeks constructing the gardens.
I was intrigued to talk to one of the exhibitors in the Grand Pavilion, where it’s a different story altogether. He looked with envy and disbelief at one of his neighbours who had turned up on the Sunday evening (the day before judging) and put together their stand in a couple of hours. They were one of 50 (including my friend, I’m pleased to say) who were awarded a gold in the Grand Pavilion. As it happens, the stand in question was that of the Palm Centre, with their display of bamboos. The Palm Centre supplied many of the plants for Yewbarrow House, when I was first getting going and they gave me the very valuable advice to use Phyllostachis Bissetii as the ideal bamboo for a hedge. Their advice was spot on and the resultant hedge still looks splendid, ten years on. That’s worth a gold, of anyone’s money.