The Perennial Sanctuary Garden Blog will track the progress of Tom Massey’s show garden for Perennial up to and including the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July. Tom will write regular instalments with details of the garden’s latest developments, supplier visits, garden team meetings and plant progress.

June 2017

Sunday saw a great turnout at Hortus Loci for the Perennial volunteers briefing – over 140 people attended the event. The volunteers will be helping out on the garden during show week and at the plant creche (also organised by Perennial) at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The show garden volunteers will be helping guide one way traffic through the garden and talking to the public about the design, the planting and the work of Perennial.

The day involved a hearty lunch (provided by the brilliant onsite cafe the Hobo Co.) and a welcome by Peter Newman, Perennial’s new CEO. This was followed by a talk from me on the garden’s concept and theme followed by a Q&A session. 

 After my talk I spent the rest of the day on the nursery playing around with planting combinations and getting a feel for the plants that are being used. It really helped to set out a section through the garden to see how everything was coming along. Some plants are a bit behind but Hortus Loci have plenty of suitable substitutes around the nursery. The final decisions on planting will be made at a final visit to Hortus on Tuesday 20th June. Build starts on the 19th, not long now until we break ground! 

April 2017

March was a fairly quiet month for the Perennial Sanctuary Garden. Hortus Loci potted up the plants, allowing plenty of time for growth between now and the show in July, and the Yorkstone paving was ordered and confirmed by London Stone.

On the 3rd April I attended a site visit to Hampton Court Palace. This was a good opportunity to discuss logistics with Laura from Perennial who came with me and also allowed me to discuss the garden with the RHS show organisers. The day is designed to generate a bit of excitement ahead of the build-up and to give everyone a chance to meet other designers exhibiting at the show. There is a great sense of camaraderie, with everyone very willing to help each other out and share information and advice.

It was a beautiful sunny day at Hampton Court last week, reminiscent of mid-summer. We all agreed to keep our fingers firmly crossed that the weather during the show week (and build-up) will be just as pleasant!

I know that Perennial is still looking for volunteers to help on the garden during show week. If you have availability from 4 – 9 July and would like to help out, please email us or call Perennial on 01372 384059.

March 2017

In preparation for the Perennial Sanctuary Garden volunteer briefing event in June, Sue and Sammy from the Perennial Development Team visited Hortus Loci in Hook, Hampshire last week. Volunteers will be invited to visit the nursery to learn about the garden, how Perennial helps horticulturists and see how the plants for the garden are coming on. Tom Massey will be there to speak to volunteers about his design and Jamie Butterworth will conduct a tour of the nursery before volunteers enjoy some lunch and get to know each other.

We are still looking for volunteers to help on the Perennial Sanctuary Garden for the week of the show. We need people who can talk to visitors about the garden itself – answering questions about the plants used in the design and the concept behind it all. Volunteers will also be asked to manage the queue of people waiting to walk through the garden and to tell them about the work of Perennial as the only UK charity dedicated to helping all those who work in and are retired from horticulture.

We will provide all the information and training you need. If you love gardening and visiting flower shows and would like to help us at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July, please email us or call Chris Crooker on 01372 384059.


February 2017

February was a busy month for pre-show planning; on the 8th we got the whole team together for a meeting at Perennial HQ in Leatherhead. Attendees included Mark Gregory director of our contractor Landform Consultants, Jamie Butterworth from Hortus Loci, the nursery growing our plants, and Jules Warnes of London Stone who are providing us with bespoke Yorkstone benches and Yorkstone setts for the paved centre of the design. The meeting was very productive with lots of enthusiasm and excitement around the table for the design and the great team we have assembled to deliver it.

The garden was launched at the RHS press event at their flagship garden RHS Garden Wisley on the 11th February. It was well received by the journalists in attendance. I conducted an interview with Hannah Stephenson of The Press Association which has gone out to local and regional news outlets across the UK with mentions of the garden starting to appear in local papers such as the Shropshire Star and the Surrey Advertiser. Hannah was particularly interested in the use of colour in the design, and how the different bands of colour will affect visitors’ mood at the show.

As well as the RHS press event, I also attended the Garden Press Event at the Barbican Centre in London. I spoke on the Perennial stand to a number of journalists about the design who all expressed excitement to see the real thing at the show in July.

Other developments in February included the design of two bespoke Yorkstone benches. London Stone are fabricating the pieces at their yard near Heathrow with their CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) machine. The benches are 1.8m wide, with the seat cut from a single 10cm thick piece of Yorkstone.

Finally the RHS released the site location – we are in a good position outside the front of the Kings Food Court, on the south side of the show ground near the Thames Gate. The first official site visit will take place in April.

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