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Chelsea Flower Show Garden Nears Premiere

Chris Beardshaw is gearing up for his RHS Chelsea Flower Show reveal. On the agenda: turn a bare patch of earth into a stunning botanic retreat. Here's an update from the designer himself ahead of the work.

As I write this we are on the brink of the garden works commencing at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and after all the months of preparations and discussions we are all raring to go.  We only have 17 days to create the entire garden - from a bare patch of earth to the final touches ready for show day and judging - so the schedule is incredibly busy. There are some very long days ahead of us, and no days off!

The past few weeks have been spent checking the production of various materials and items that we are using to create the garden.  One feature is a series of bespoke timber structures that join together to create shelter and seating from which to view the planted garden.  This is being built by an old school friend of mine based in Herefordshire, and we are using solid French oak beams and posts of generous proportions to create something in keeping with our woodland-stye garden.  These structures will house seats made with specially approved hospital-grade fabric so that they can be part of the garden’s legacy at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  Some of the seats will show off the wonderful artworks created by the patients, which have been turned into a pattern and printed for us.  They are a fantastic reminder of why this garden and its long-term enjoyment is so very special.

Chris checking the trees in Bedfordshire in late March

Chris checking the trees in Bedfordshire in late March

Marriage of Gardens and Artwork

Much of my time has also been spent checking the plant material to see how it is progressing and whether it will be in top form for show week. The winter didn’t get particularly cold but it has been a very slow start to the spring, and the forecast continues to be on the cool side.  Often the trees and hedging come into leaf tantalisingly late, so I just keep visiting and working with the nurserymen right up until they are loaded onto the vehicles and brought to the showground in Chelsea.

As many of you will know, I enjoy the marriage of gardens and artwork, and I am thrilled to be showcasing two beautiful sculptures in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden. One is by Jilly Sutton, who has not exhibited at the show before, and another is a brand new piece by Jon O’Connor, inspired by the garden design.

As we near completion of the show garden, we will commence work at Great Ormond Street Hospital, so that as soon as the show is over we can immediately rebuild and recreate the garden in its long-term home.

I will be posting photos and updates on social media so please follow the progress of the garden and catch television coverage on the BBC.

Read more articles and blogs about Morgan Stanley's Chelsea Flower Show Garden for GOSH.

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