Hello and welcome to the first edition of our blog recording our run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011. This blog will be providing regular updates of our progress from design through to build – and we’ll include gardening tips and interviews with top growers along the way.

We are excited to be working with Jon Wheatley, Mary Payne and their team as we produce a 1940’s style garden entitled ‘The Bulldog Forge Garden’. In this first video Mary and John discuss the final designs, the planting and how we are going to go about creating Chelsea Flower Show ‘wow’.

The story of Chelsea 2011 began at Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 as we continued our partnership with John and Mary. They designed and built a ‘Grow Your Own’ garden, and the garden was built from start to finish using Bulldog Tools, some of which you may have of seen displayed within the garden itself. ‘Grow Your Own’ is something John and Mary are very passionate about, and all the flowers and vegetables were grown in Britain. The exhibit was designed to show how easy it was to produce your own vegetables and cut flowers in any space you have. At the end of the show we discussed with them the idea for a garden at Chelsea 2011 to develop the twin themes of British manufacture & horticulture; forging a partnership together.

Our garden will feature a small replica forge and tell the story of a self-sufficient blacksmith who makes his own tools and grows his own vegetables and flowers. To give their team a feel of the forge, we invited Jon, Mary and a couple of their team up to our forge in Wigan; Clarington Forge. As our forge is over 230 years old there were plenty of things to choose from to feature in the garden!

Some examples are; the lamps which will hang from the roof of the forge are original lamps from the forge in Wigan; the granite setts which will be used to lay out the path running through the garden are exact replicas of the setts which still exist in some parts of forge grounds; an anvil from the assembly shop; and part of the clinker garden is from material produced in the first process in the manufacturing of spades. To see how a smaller-scale forge may have looked, Mary visited a National Trust forge down in Devon. Best of all – the spades and forks in the garden were made by Bulldog many years ago – our tools are built to last!

With the forge designed, the planting followed. Mary and Jon really came into their element as they described an ornamental planting area; featuring the dahlia ‘Bulldog and Ian Hislop’, Geraniums, lupins, Iris’ Salvia, Delphiniums and many more. The vegetable patch will have rows of rhubarb, cale, cabbages, leeks (check back for episode two for more information on this), onions and many more edible delights. The clinker garden will feature Alliums, Aceana, Eschscholzia, Heucheras. Whilst the wild area will feature, cowslips, Arum italicum and Prunella vulgaris.
Now that the garden is designed, the planting list is finished, the materials chosen and all the forms filled in; it’s time to let our plants grow and start putting things in place. Stay tuned for regular updates on our progress.

Ed White

p.s. this blog will run alongside our RHS video diary and we’ll also post updates on Twitter – follow us at twitter.com/bulldogchelsea

Posted in Chelsea 2011, Exhibitions By Ed White On 2nd February 2011

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