Going Behind The Scenes At The Chelsea Flower Show!


World Vision contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in shadowing two garden designers as they prepare the first World Vision show garden for Chelsea. To do this I must, unfortunately, go behind the scenes and rummage about to bring you the full story. It will involve visiting nurseries and horticulturists, I will have to don a high visibility vest and steel toe capped boots, I will be forced to look at plants closely and follow their progress from tunnel to show. I am grinning broadly!

This is by way of an introductory post. I’d like you to meet the key players, the people and plants I am going to be spending a lot of time with over the next eight weeks. My role in all of this is to raise awareness of the work World Vision does and if you think that they are the people who send spectacles to developing countries then you are not alone! World Vision have a fantastic child sponsorship programme working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice in almost 100 countries worldwide. Sponsoring a child is like dropping a pebble into a pond as it enables World Vision to work to improve things for a whole community.

So, here is our first player. The garden. At its centre is a pool representing that ripple effect of sponsoring a child.

Award winning garden designers Sim Flemons and John Warland are now facing the daunting task of transforming this beautiful drawing from paper to plants. They won Gold at Hampton Court with last year’s World Vision Garden so the pressure is on as they tackle their first Chelsea Flower Show…they appear remarkably relaxed, especially since Sim’s wife is expecting their third baby in Chelsea week, which adds a bit of unpredictability and excitement to the proceedings!

I spent much of last week visiting nurseries where the plants for FlemonsWarland‘s design are being lovingly nurtured (I know, terrible hardship :-) ) I found out a lot about tree ferns from the man with the best name in horticulture, Dave Root of Kelways plants in Langport. This is a man who really loves his ferns and they are amazing things, growing about an inch a year – these beauties are about one hundred years old. Dave is growing plants for 11 Chelsea gardens as well as preparing for his own peony exhibit, he’s a man on a mission!

Also in the mix are Hillier’s Nurseries (yes, I had to go there too) who are storing more tree ferns and the box hedging and Hardy’s plants who are growing a large number of perennials for John and Sim. Both Hardys and Hilliers have a formidable Chelsea record and it was amazing to stroll through acres of tunnels and see horticulture at its finest.

It is a mammoth operation and I am so looking forward to seeing these little plants in all their glory in seven weeks time!

And to watching these fronds unfurl and cast their gorgeous shadows on this inspiring garden

Look, right in the middle, can you see the frond all curled up ready to go?!

Finally today I want to introduce you to one of the people we have in mind as we embark on this project. This is Ronald, he lives in Bolivia and he is sponsored by Sim and John. Sponsorship has had an incredible impact upon him and his community and I will be sharing his story with you shortly.

Picture courtesy of Jennalise Photography and World Vision

The work I have done over the last year, helping to raise awareness of developmental issues around the world, has inspired my family and has ignited a desire in us to do as much as we can to help. It seems only right that Thinly Spread (both blog and family) should sponsor a child. So, not only will I be writing about the progress of this garden, I will be writing about the progress of our sponsorship with World Vision. We are hoping to be able to sponsor a little boy who is the same age as our Bonus Boy and that you will be as interested as we are in seeing how we get along.

If you have any questions about World Vision’s Work or about how a show garden at Chelsea Flower Show is put together pop them in a comment and I will find a person to ask! I am intending to blog at least once a week in the run up to Chelsea about this project so do keep visiting for updates and please help spread the word!

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19 Comments

Filed under Gardening

19 responses to “Going Behind The Scenes At The Chelsea Flower Show!

  1. World Vision UK

    Fantastic post Chris, looking forward to the Chelsea journey over the next couple of months!

  2. wow what an exciting project. I will be reading with interest, and btw my husband (a very keen gardener) is a little green eyed.

  3. Awesome!! We sponsor a child with World Vision and they do brilliant work. Looking forward to your regular updates x

  4. Liz Scarff

    Look forward to the pictures of you in high vis! Great post – can’t wait to see the final garden – the greenhouses look amazing – and what a brilliant picture of Ronald.

    Lizx

  5. Pingback: Grown in Chelsea – introducing the RHS Chelsea World Vision garden « World Vision UK Blog

  6. What a fantastic experience Chris and right up your Garden. I will enjoy following you on your journey

  7. Wow, what a great opportunity. I was going to say lucky you – but luck has nothing to do with it, you’re perfect for the role.

    And I bet it’s now only a matter of time before you meet Monty ;0)

  8. What a wonderful project and how exciting for you to get to visit at this stage. Look forward to following .

    LOVE you photographs.

  9. What a wonderful project and I love this post. Your enthusiasm for this new adventure is just bursting off the page. It has made me grin widely. Also it’s nice to see you capture your garden designers in the very famous gardening posture of thoughtful planning & pondering.

  10. Chris, I’m so excited for you over this. What a wonderful opportunity and for a great cause too! We sponsor a child and I’d like to think it gives my kids food for thought about the luxuries they take for granted. Look forward to following this. Cx

    • World Vision UK

      That’s wonderful, a lot of parents sponsor a child a similar age to their own kids for that very same reason! Where abouts is your sponsored child from?

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