Friday 22 March 2013

@The_RHS Chelsea - Talking Sculpture

The grim weather certainly makes Chelsea seem a long way off; only a week of March left, then Easter, and just a few manic weeks of last minute preparation.  Although it seems as if I’ve done very little about the Show, it’s surprising how many things have fallen into place, even if I haven’t written about them here.Tom Stogdon has already come up with some amazing sculptural creations in steel and slate, but up until last week I hadn’t caught up with Mehrdad Tafreshi.
His work has featured on the Hillier exhibit many times. Remember that amazing glass sail he made for Sail for Gold? Or maybe you remember the aqua glass and copper that rose out of Venetian adventure in ‘Adventures in Gardening?  He’s perhaps best known for his weeping trees. I used them in ‘Planting with Trees’ and also in ‘A Music Lover’s Garden’.  It’s difficult to remember which came first but them I found some old pictures of A Music Lover’s Garden from 2004. 

That was the first year that we were back on the Monument, when it was incorporated into the central atrium of The Great Pavilion for the Bicentenary of The Royal Horticultural Society. I remember the bell tower, centrepiece of In a Monastery Garden was one of our toughest builds, but it was a show stopper. As ever, I wish I could take another look at the real thing. I also remember that weeping tree in Walk to the Paradise Garden. I remember how the light caught it amidst the jewel colours of the rhododendrons.

 Anyway back to Mehrdad. We eventually got together last Friday to discuss centrepieces for my two contemporary pools. These are sleek, smooth and sophisticated. I had a vision of glass crystals rising from the pools through gushing fountains. As it happens we seem to be thinking along the same lines. The realisation of the vision will tell if we are, however neither of us will see what it really looks like, until we drop Mehrdad’s sculptures into those pools at Chelsea. Risk? – No, never; Trust!  I know he’ll produce something that’s just amazing.  To reassure myself I took a look at the piece he made for the centre of Grand Designs….

 Had my first meeting with the Chelsea construction team.  Neil, Nigel, Steve and Luke seem as laid back as ever, which is just as well as I still haven’t done a plan – next week I promise.  I suppose the main concern all round is the weather. This prolonged, cold weather is not coaxing planting into growth; most of the show plants still tell me it is winter.  There is still plenty of time, and we certainly don’t want to be cold storing things for too long, but we do need to see some movement.  Interestingly enough 2004 was another cold spring.  I remember doing a pre Chelsea tour at the beginning of May and the Music Lover’s Rose, which we launched in association with Classic FM wasn’t even in leaf. However despite its reluctance, it made it for the show. Mother Nature and the Gods are always in control!