Looking onto my terrace on a warm summer’s day, it feels good to relax for the first time in weeks. I do have to apologise, I normally come to this blog to speak about my wonderful allotment plot.
I have, alas had very little time to enjoy this treasured space over the last month as I took on both the Malvern and Chelsea flower shows. Although this has not meant my entire absence from Barrowell allotments, it has been a lesson in how nature moves on, without mercy and without the gardener being there to be a part of things.
First let’s start with the tour of two very different flower shows. My Blue Peter garden at the Malvern Flower Show was a real privilege, as was the chance to speak there about organic gardening, heritage seeds and the work of Garden Organic. I was incredibly privileged to meet the one and only Valerie Singleton and what a pleasure that was. A charming lady who showed genuine interest in both the garden I had created but also all the children’s gardens, built at Malvern on an annual basis. These gardens, I may add are created entirely from recycled materials, home grown plants and not a pesticide in sight. Well done to the kids of the Malvern school gardens and brilliant to see and meet the great Valerie Singleton.
My favourite part of meeting her though, had to be the chat about Blue Peter. Ms Singleton was a very accomplished journalist, presenting PM on radio 4 for years, my background was Botanic gardens, Japan, Westminster Abbey and of course the great Garden Organic and yet somehow, we both felt there was no escape from the might of Blue Peter, a brand that truly leaves its mark on all that sail in that ship.
So on to Chelsea, what a crazy game that is. I’d like to start by saying that the standard of horticulture at Chelsea is just unbelievable. It is a fantastic showcase and puts all gardening in the window, if only for a week. It is personally, an exhausting experience building a garden at Chelsea, even a small one. The ‘Great Escape’ was designed and built in conjunction with the horticultural trade and I’m proud that Garden Organic were represented in this garden. The Orb, a huge part of the design, was planted along with the direction of the GO gardeners and supported by the GO executive. Those of you that read this, will be glad to know the whole narrative and the Orb was incredibly well received by the general public, of all ilk.
For me, it was a truly exhausting experience (A young man’s game!) but I like to think the ethos of natural gardening was an important part of that Chelsea garden and was well represented.
Then it’s back to my poor, neglected allotment, overgrown like you would not believe, its back to the grindstone, back to hard core elbow work. My heritage runner beans, melon and lettuce all march on beneath the onslaught of bindweed and horsetail. I will however once again win and the fresh taste of organic produce will once more grace the Collins kitchen.
So, until the next time, happy gardening