Show gardens take an awful lot of work behind the scenes. You know that every choice you make is going to be scrutinised by the judges and to a certain extent the public. The hard landscaping materials – things like gravel and stone – need to work in harmony and do the job as well as looking fantastic. Take the paving for example, we wanted to have a grey toned stone which you might think would be a simple choice. We spent hours at Mandarin stone discussing with them how the stone would look if it rained, how we would cut the edge and how we would lay it. We wanted to make sure that we got the right stone so that it would be in keeping with the feel of the garden and work with all the other elements.
We always struggle with the boundary of the garden. It is not usually an element with a wow factor, very few people visit a show garden and get excited by how the designers created a boundary (except maybe other designers who have struggled themselves). It matters because it frames the garden, get the boundary wrong and it draws the eye away from the rest of the garden - this doesn't just apply to show gardens and deserves some thought if you're planning tour own scheme - It can niggle if it feels like an afterthought.
But boundaries are difficult, they are longer than you think and they take up more of a budget than you expect. We wanted something that had some height that fit the style of the garden, was narrow and was easy to install and look good in a short amount of time. We choose to use ivy screens (or ivy fedge – there are quite a few terms for them) from Hedera screens. We can create the boundary that we want, a neutral green backdrop which will feel lush and green with the added bonus that it can be taken down and used again which is an important consideration for us with show gardens, the less that is wasted after the show is over the better.
We're transporting plants in the cool of the night – arriving on site at dawn is as magical as it is tiring – tomorrow we'll have some colour!