Posted In Horticultural Shows, RHS Chelsea

Two weeks until kick-off

This is a tricky blog to write: I don’t want to appear optimistic and I certainly don’t want to be pessimistic, but there’s a whole tempting-fate thing going on, and I somehow I feel this is just going to be rather a factual entry, kind of in the vein of Children’s News (‘This weekend we went to….’)

The trees  for RHS Chelsea were selected and tagged a long time ago; the plants are a different story. The flexibility of the plantlist has certainly been useful in the last few days: plants that should have been fine seem to have caught a bit of a cold over the winter and are not doing what they are supposed to be, whilst others look set to out-perform even our highest expectations. After visits to the nursery and trips to Gloucestershire to see the rill and impossible benches, I had the best night’s sleep in weeks. Carmel Meade‘s beautiful textile work continues to amaze us on every visit.

There was a really touching ‘Surprise Surprise’ moment this week when  my lovely translator Yuko from the Gardening World Cup in Japan, announced that not only was she coming as planned to be  the right hand girl throughout the construction of the Caravan Club garden, but that my contractor Taka Nakamura, who built the garden at Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki, is also flying over with two of his employees to help during the last few days of planting. A real gasp-of-surprise moment.

Filming is taking place again next week: the son is delighted that he’s  still (yes really STILL) on holiday and wondering how he can persuade the BBC to feature him. I couldn’t understand why he was so keen to cut the grass and take part in other horticultural pursuits which have previously held little attraction, until I realised the draw of a chance to show off in front of the camera.

I was told I was completely mad to take time off at Easter, but it was much needed. We were a bigger party this year on the annual visit to our secret bit of Cornwall: I think our little village on the banks of an estuary was the only place to have no rain at all for the week. It was perfect: no telephone  or internet signal or reception is a jolly good thing.

Projects in London, Kent and Sussex are being gently left in the capable hands of Chris and Fiona, and we welcome aboard the fabulous Jez, who hasn’t yet realised what he’s letting himself in for (no weekends till October). Melissa stands at the helm, dealing with marauders with her virtual cutlass.