Wednesday 15 May 2013

@The_RHS Chelsea - Wednesday Plants a plenty

Wednesday - First day for staging team on site. Polar conditions. I had to go over the the Lloyds Building in the heart of the city for a photo shoot with two lovely young ladies.
Chauffer driven over there by Mark in the Beazley S Class Mercedes - time to thaw out.  The girls were frozen but we warmed up with a few star jumps an managed to loo cheerful.
Great progress on site - ace team.
I asked Gillian to write a few words about the experience:

It is my very first day as part of the Hillier staging team reporting for duty at 8am bright-eyed and bushy tailed.  The rest of the team are slightly delayed in traffic so I have the chance to take in all the prep work that has gone beforehand.  I am in awe of the size of the trees – the tallest gracing the top of the pavilion:  wonderful structure and height, already softening the monument and the hard landscaping.  I also have the chance to talk to the build team about the Breeze blocks and rendering for the wall and put into action the theory learnt on my design course at The English Gardening School.  Hopefully, I am doing my lecturer proud.

The team arrives and I am immediately welcomed although I know that I will forget names or, worse still, rename some!  It is a sea of high-vis vests and the first of three lorries arrive.  The lorries are packed with trees and shrubs (more lorries to come tomorrow!).  It’s a high spirited atmosphere with wonderful camaraderie, friendly banter, gloves and secateurs at the ready.  All systems go as we unload the plants and try our best to site them where they may be needed later.  The word of the day and no doubt for many days to come is ‘turn’.  ‘Can you turn that Betula pendula just a bit?  No, no, the other way.  That’s it but just a little bit more.  Now move it out a bit. No, actually, move it back a little.’  There is no moaning.  No complaints.  We all understand that it has to be just right.  It’s like readjusting a crooked painting only it’s taking seven strong and fit men to move it.  This is the perfection; the standard that is set by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the Hillier team.

 I am sitting at a make shift table nearing the end of the day under the canopy of trees and the scent of the Syringa x josiflexa ‘Bellicent’ would be a perfumer’s delight.  The guys are working around me and the electrician wants to disconnect me so he can carry out tests.  They are also watering around me.  Water, electricity…hmm.  I know the theme is ‘Risk’ but do we really want to take it that far?  Actually, Health and Safety is paramount. 

I have learnt quite a few more plants names.  Retaining it will be the trick.  Andy McIndoe has been a gem with his design ideas.  They are pulling the chair out from under me.  Time to go.  Should sleep well tonight with a few aches and pains in the morning.

Here's Andy's video blog of the day:

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