Meeting 9 May

Our guest speaker, Anne Luder the recently retired Lecturer from Capel Manor College delivered an interesting talk with slides on Capel’s show winning gardens over the 30 years of her involvement at Capel Manor.

Many of the show gardens at Chelsea and Royal Hampton Court return to Capel Manor for students to learn and acquire the many techniques necessary in the design, construction and plant implementation of winning show gardens. It is also an opportunity for the general public to get up close and personal with gardens they may have seen and admired from a distance at Chelsea. Many of the gardens are adapted on return from shows such as Chelsea to make them more people friendly.

Designs for Chelsea need to be submitted for approval 18 months ahead of the show. Some of the more famous designers, however, do not always meet the deadline!

One of the popular attractions at Capel Manor is ‘Sunflower Street’ a series of front gardens where over the years students are involved in updating each one to reflect the changing influences  and fashions year by year.

Currently a diverse range of gardens can be viewed and enjoyed at Capel Manor including a Artisan Garden, Fresh Garden, Courtyard Garden, Natural Dry Garden,  Minimalist Garden, Low Allergy Garden and a Be Safe Garden.

The most unusual ‘garden’ is a load of 66 old fridges piled high on top of each other which to everyone’s surprise won a silver medal at the Royal Hampton Court Show. Not sure in which category though!

The cost of exhibiting show gardens at Chelsea has increased significantly over the years resulting in fewer each year. Sponsors need to be found to help fund the exhibits. Many of the larger show gardens have budgets in excess of a £100,000.

One of the most expensive show gardens at Chelsea in 2016 was the gold winning design by Dan Pearson whose homage to Chatsworth House involving a series of massive boulders had to be rearranged 3 days before the show opened as Chelsea and Kensington Council discovered the huge boulders were placed over a sewer pipe which could have caused an unprecedented disaster during the show had there been a problem!

Capel Manor is open to the public 7 days a week from 10.00am-5.00pm.


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