Sunday, May 1, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
We have been so fortunate these past few weeks. The weather has been absolutely fabulous. up here in Devon, the sun is shining but the wind is a bit strong, so I have not been out in my shorts just yet. I am spending the Easter at Tim's parents, and the past few days we have been trying to fill the ponds with aquatic plants and learning all about iris. I have always loved Iris, and whilst walking around Rosemoor garden for Tim's birthday (22nd April), I saw many of the irises are in bloom. That gave an idea to use irises in my pond. The problem is, it is not the season for irises to bloom. So it has been pretty frustrating to locate those that would be in flower for Malvern. The challenge is to find them in North Devon. Although this is a rather rural area, there are not many garden nurseries specialising in marginals over here. So at the moment, the idea is still just an idea...
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
This week marks the beginning of show garden constructions at Malvern for the Spring Gardening Show. Due to work, I was not able to be present on site at Malvern for this occasion, and Tim and his dad had to start the construction of the garden without me. It was very nerve-wrecking to be absent on site for the construction of my first ever show garden, but I had no choice.
We prepared and planned as much as possible, but being a complete novice, both Tim and I had no idea what to expect. Tim helped tremendously as he is more gifted in working with his hands. I tried to explain and described what I wanted as much as I could. Last Saturday, we packed up the es
tate car and he left for Devon where he will pick up his dad before making their journey to Malvern the following evening.
On the first day of the build, everything went fine according to Tim. I was very nervous at work, checking my emails and phone every now and then.
The first task was to check that all Bradstone products were delivered. Most of the stuff I ordered turned up, but to our great surprise, nothing was marked. All the products were delivered in bulk, and the contestants were expected to pick up the things that they ordered. It was quite confusing not having the materials labelled. Luckily, Tim was always present when I made decisions to order the products. So he was able to verified and checked my orders, based on a list that I provided him. All was well, except the rockery stones. There were a few crates on site, and none was labelled. I order Powys Green, but the relevant crate was already marked by Kasia (another contestant). This was confusing as the other crates bear no resemblance whatsoever to what I ordered. This got sorted by a couple of emails eventually. I was also relieved that most of the hard landscaping materials we transported two weeks ago were still there and intact.
Tim and his dad managed to get the wall up, as well as the circular display. Day 1 completed, Tim and his dad headed back to their hotel.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I would just like to bring to your attention a small news. In this month's RHS Garden magazine (April 2011), the editorial board of the magazine chose to use my show garden as a news piece to front an update about the Malvern Spring Gardening show! Please see scanned pages for the magazine. I'm chuffed to bits.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Cheesy title, I know. What do you expect when you just finish watching another episode of Glee :-) Anyway, back to business. The garden continues to progress. Over the weekend, Ian (Tim's dad) has managed to complete the circular display that will be placed at the bottom of the garden. As you can see in the picture, it looks pretty impressive. I am very impressed with the quality of work by Ian. All the components of the garden look fantastic, often better than what I was expecting. My only worry now is to how they will look like when they are all pieced together, as well as how to transport them in one piece to the show ground. Any ideas on how to transport a wall measuring 3.5x2.5m?
I have also managed to borrow some “suiseki” inspired stones from British Bonsai that will be placed on the display. I say “suiseki” inspired because they are not suiseki stones per se. They are slates that have been modified to look like mountainous mountains in China. I think they look slightly more dramatic than most suiseki stones. Real suiseki stones require a more intimate setting than an open garden. So I think the stones that I have will provide the necessary atmosphere. I have taken a few snapshots of these stones for you. In relation to this, I was also wondering if I should include a bonsai in the circular display. I initially only wanted suiseki stones in the display, but now that I have thought about it a little more, I would like to include a bonsai in the display. The trouble is, I don’t have any show quality bonsais that are of “chuhin” size (about 25cm or more tall). I have put out a request to borrow one from British Bonsai today, so let’s wait and see if Ian from British Bonsai would be interested.
Talking about transportation, I have also managed to rope in some help from Rebecca and Simon. Rebecca is Tim’s cousin and Simon, her partner, would be able to provide some help in transporting the components. Simon and his dad run a dispatch service in the West Country. This has yet to be confirmed as it depends on whether their route on the days that I need them would match. But I am hopeful.
Today I have also received a list of plants that 3 Shires would be able to provide me. It’s a slightly different from my original plan. So I will try to revise my plant list tonight, to see how to swap those I previously wanted with what is available. I have to factor in many parameters, but it is a thoroughly interesting process. I would need to consider what kind of plants they are, when do they flower, what colour flower, and how to grow them. From the list, I managed to pick one very interesting alpine. Further details will be provided in the next update as my commute is nearing its end.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
It has been ages since I updated the blog. I do apologise to those who; actually follow what I write here :-) The usual excuses for the lack of updates, full time job rendering Keni useless during the evenings.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
For this update, I have created another video blog. I managed to find an application that allowed me to show a presentation/image whilst I speak (called Manycam). Please check it out. In this video blog, I am talking about the choice of bamboo that I will be using in the show garden. These are varieties of Borinda, Fargesia and Semiarundinaria. It's a bit long, so I promise that next time I will try to be brief and get to the point. I find myself yapping endlessly sometimes. Hope you enjoy it, and please comment. As comments might help me make the videos more interesting and less boring :-)
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Tout d'abord, je voudrais vous annoncer une petite nouvelles. Je viens de recevoir un email du patron d'une chaîne de pépinière anglaise concernant la possibilité d'un sponsorship! Rien n'est certain, mais c'est un début.
Bon, on commence par une discussion de l'évolution de mon design qui a été évoqué dans la communiqué datée 31 janvier. Sur la première image que vous voyez ci-droite, on peut constater qu'il y a des jardinières rectangulaires par terre. Ces jardinières seront construites en bois, peintes en blanc, et elles seront remplir par 3 'petit jardins' (jardin sablé, jardin alpines et jardin galets/caillous). La hauteur de ces jardinières seront irréguliere, pour donner une impression d'être dans un térrain montaigneux... j'espère en tout cas :-) Apart ça, il n'y plus beaucoup de changements. Je vous montre une autre image qui montre comment ces jardinières sont étendre au fond du jardin aussi:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Sorry for the lack of news these past weeks. The day job has been so busy and frustrating that it has been impossible to do anything else other than to come home, plop down the sofa and watch the idiot-box. A real 'metro-boulot-dodo' (French for tube-work-sleep, literally) life I lead... But my spirit has been lifted tonight after re-watching the very funny French film, 'Le diner de con' on BBC 4. Hopefully this show garden will be a life-changing experience!
Anyway, back to the show-garden. We have some development on the design front. Due to difficulties in obtaining and sourcing funds for the construction of the garden, the design has been amended and simplified to fit the small budget. The sketch above shows the front of the garden. This has not changed much. But one major change has been the rock boulders at the bottom of the garden, which has been replaced by a circular display for 'suiseki-inspired' rocks. Suiseki, for those who are curious, is an art form originating from China, where rocks are appreciated for their form and beauty. Other major elements of the garden have been conserved, such as the pond and the major plants (bamboo and irises).
Moving to the main garden (see sketch on the right), the glass platform has been omitted as well. Quotes that I've obtained from suppliers showed that I would need about £5000 just to purchase all the materials without labour cost! That is just too much, and it has unfortunately had to go. As such, the main garden's level has been brought to the same level as the courtyard garden. The main change is like what I mention above, is the circular display. There is also an inclusion of a bench. The first pond has also been re-designed. It now doubles as a water fountain, where the source will be embedded in the middle of a circular stone slab. Water will then flow over the surface of the circular slab, and flow via gutters, into the main pond. Stepping stones will pave the water fountain, giving the visitor a sensation of walking above water.
So these are the major changes to the design. Please leave any comments or questions you may have on the new changes. The changes have been accepted by the organising committee and surprisingly, they are still pretty impressed with the simplified design. What do you think?
I am still trying very hard to find more funds. Writing emails to possible sponsors and calling them has been all that I have been doing the past weeks. It is quite disheartening sometimes, but I guess I just have to keep on hoping. At the same time, I am also right in the middle of planning the construction, figure out how much of the hard landscaping materials that I need, choose them, order samples and hoping that they will arrive!
On top of that, the most nerve wrecking thing must be sourcing the plants. The moss-lawn is proving VERY challenging to source. Anybody knows where I can find three varieties of mosses in the UK? My visits to Saihoji in Japan has been so inspirational that I have to recreate my own 'koke-dera'!
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I am pleased to let you know that you can now place your donation via the PayPal button that you see on the right of this blog. It's pretty easy to do, just click the button and put in your PayPal account details. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also use the button and pay using your credit/debit card.
This blog will now constitute my journey for the construction of my garden design for the up and coming Royal Horticulture Society's Malvern Spring show. The computer simulation you see here is the winning design that I submitted a couple of months ago. I have less than 4 months to build it from scratch with whatever money that I may have.
Via Facebook, I have set up a groupe where I am pleading and begging all my friends to spread the word around our community so that I could find someone kind enough to donate some cash to my cause. Every little helps! So, if you are feeling kind and generous and you love my design and wants it to be built at the prestigous show, please help contribute. I would put your name(s) in the acknowledgements and if it is built, you are all invited to come and celebrate with me and rub shoulders with the English gentry. SHARE this!