Well that was hard work!
Many visitors to our ‘Live Garden’ show garden at RHS Tatton Flower Show 2017 commented that in fact we’d built the equivalent of a small house in 16 days – it certainly felt like it a times.
First we dug out one hell of a hole (about 200 tons of finest Tatton Park soil), to create our basement level garden. That took a couple of days – with the help of some serious earth-shifting machinery!
Once we’d made the hole safe, using a timber frame to create inner ‘walls’, we were able to bring in Linlok Ltd and ST Construction with the steel frame that would create the upper level garden
It was nerve-wrecking watching those steel girders swing into place, but all went pretty much according to plan, withe the tiniest of tweaks here and there.
Once the balcony floor was in, we were able to look out over the Cheshire countryside from the first floor – it felt very satisfying! Soon we were able to start on building the double-height ‘plant walls’ and cladding the surfaces with composite materials from Ecoscape.
Meanwhile Elite Outdoor Living were busy putting the bespoke glass and steel balustrade and staircase panels together, and installing the QwickBuild deck frame and composite decking for the top level
Whilst all this was going on, down below in the underground garden, we were building our water feature, and electrician James from Fusion Electrical was creating some seriously sexy moods with his ‘wall of light’.
Once the paving (from Stonemarket UK) was laid on the ground floor we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Bespoke timber seating, fold-away table, drop-down cinema screen, solar panels and a stunning sculpture from Ian Marlow provided the finishing touches. At last, after 14 solid days of toil in which every member of the Dreamscape team (including apprentice Kyle who is writing up the story of his Tatton experience as part of his college course) had a part to play, we were ready to create the flower beds and start planting.
The minute the plants arrived on the truck from Brenmo, (there were several plants of each of more than 100 varieties, plus a couple of tree ferns and a specimen tree) we sorted, checked and watered them and then spent the next 24 hours frantically placing them according to our original plan….shifting just the odd one or two for maximum impact.
The entire garden had to be ready for first-stage inspection by 1pm on Monday 17th July (show press day and judging day was on Tuesday 18th, with the show starting properly on Weds 19th July) so of course we finally finished sweeping, tidying and dressing the ‘set’ at about 12.45!
Judging: The team of RHS judges spent more than an hour examining every square inch of our three-storey ‘Live Garden’: they considered in great detail the planting, the design, the build, the materials, the ‘ambition’, the scale – and awarded us a bronze medal. Which to be honest we were a little disappointed with, especially since Sue Biggs, the DG of the RHS had earlier told us she thought our Live Garden was very exciting! We were delighted however that the RHS selected our garden to broadcast its BBC TV show from on several occasions. In fact it was flattering to see our work on the TV more than once that week – the BBC even broadcast their weather forecast from our roof-top garden!
Was it worth it? Yes…an amazing experience on every level (three in fact!). The Dreamscape team did us proud, putting lots of extra time in to get this show piece as good as it could be. Designers Dan and Martin were thrilled with the way their dream became reality. Will we do it again next year? Ask us nearer the time!
We’re going to Tatton!
The RHS (Royal Horticultural Flower Show) has been running at the beautiful, iconic Tatton park since 1999, and 2017 will be the third year we’ve exhibited there.
With our first appearance at RHS Tatton in 2015 we won Silver Gilt for our Aurora Arbora garden, inspired by the Northern Lights, and which celebrity gardener Joe Swift described as ‘An instillation, an art piece – that’s why I like it” when being quizzed by Monty Don about what had caught his eye in the show.
In 2016 we opted for a much smaller exhibit, winning Silver for our entry based on the plight of coral reef (a particular passion of mine), this time inspired by mine and my children’s hero, David Attenborough. I wanted to illustrate with plants the life and tragic death of coral in our oceans, and why it’s so devastating for our delicate eco-balance.
But in 2017 we’re going for a full sized show garden at 80M2 with our ‘LIVE GARDEN’ in the ‘Future Spaces’ category.
Our entry is an innovative and exciting, ultra-modern garden project built on three levels, showcasing futuristic materials and technology.
When RHS judges, who awarded us £10,000 towards the cost (one of only three grants awarded per year), approved our proposal last month, they commented that “it will certainly provide a wow factor at the show”!
What’s our inspiration?
Times are changing. Natural resources are running out. We need to look for new, more environmentally sensitive ways to create the living spaces we desire. 21st century families want different things from their gardens than previous generations did. We need to be ever-conscious of time constraints too. All of which means we wanted to create something which made best use of limited space. Something which made best use of up-to-the minute alternative materials
These show gardens take months of effort, planning and of course lots of money.
Because of its innovative design our ‘Live Garden’ is particularly challenging, involving structural engineers and lighting specialists at every stage.
Since 3rd July we’ve been very busy on the build: we have 15 days to create the garden, to be ready for judging on 18th July. We hope to welcome you to RHS Tatton from 19-23 July
For a comprehensive plant list, please see attached: tatton-plant-list-final-190617
Suppliers who have helped us by providing materias at much reduced rates are:
- All Turf Ltd – wildflower ‘mat’
- Ashley Plant Hire – Plant/aggregates/sand & gravel
- Brenmo Plants – Plants and trees
- Ecoscape – composite decking
- Elite Outdoor Living – glass balustrades, composite decking for the top level and QwickBuild deck frame
- Fusion Electrical – lighting/electronic controls
- Ian Marlow Sculptor – bespoke sculpture
- Impact Cotton Trading – Branded tee shirts
- Landscapes Plus – lights/accessories/pumps
- Rolawn – Turf
- Stonemarlet – Paving
- Linlok – Steel
- ST Construction – steel construction
- Fallowfield Timber – Joinery services/timber