Final preparations for Chelsea

Posted: Thursday 17 May 2012
by Andy Sturgeon

As I write this, it is Monday, the 13th day of the build of my 2012 Chelsea garden. Has it been going well? No, it hasn’t.

Early stages in the build of Andy Sturgeon's 2012 Chelsea garden

As I write this, it is Monday, the 13th day of the build of my 2012 Chelsea garden. Has it been going well? No, it hasn’t. Rain makes everything muddy and dirty. It crushes morale and makes everything happen at half speed. Plants refuse to flower or are half the size they should be. Is everyone in the same boat? I think so. I suppose I even hope so, if that doesn’t sound too mean? Construction, which should be finished by now, is four days behind and planting at least one day behind.

But of course all this is no excuse, we just have to get on with it. But boy, do we moan. During one of many bitching, moaning and whingeing sessions with a clutch (for that is the collective noun) of other designers, a passer-by happened to comment that we were like a bunch of old women. There were no women present incidentally (they just seem to get on with it).

Competitiveness will ramp up towards the end of the week, no doubt. But for now, the clutch are all getting on pretty well; in fact many of us are pretty good friends, brought together over the years by adversity.

I haven’t slept properly for weeks. I’ve found this year far more stressful than normal because of the worry about plants, although I’m sure it’ll be alright in the end, and writing this blog is my therapy.

Andy Sturgeon's 2012 Chelsea garden being built

The Ilex crenata has been a triumph, and everyone has been admiring my gigantic balls, which contrast with some quite soft and almost meadow-like planting.

I was banking on some towering angelicas, but these haven’t performed, so I’ve begged some from the wonderful Jekka McVicar. Jo Thompson, designer of another garden, has gifted me a wonderful peony called ‘Claire de Lune,’ which could end up being the star of the garden. A last minute purchase of Trollius chinensis ‘Cheddar’ has also been something of a success, and so has a terrific Polystichum, which was another late arrival at the party. All of them work brilliantly with the yellowy tones in the limestone paving and walling. I may just sleep tonight.

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Talkback: Final preparations for Chelsea
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Marinelilium 17/05/2012 at 19:46

Good Luck & Sweet dreams. (Your gigantic balls may leave me a little restless though!)

dawn 18/05/2012 at 01:54

good luck Andy keep going you are doing a great job,the garden is looking great

Wintersong 18/05/2012 at 09:49

Best of luck!

garden cook 18/05/2012 at 12:39

Be calm my friend and the plants will love you and bloom exactly how you imagined.

Evilstampywoman 18/05/2012 at 13:30

I am sure 'it'll be alright on the night' as they say. good luck and sleep well.

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