Monday, 21 June 2010

that was the week that was...

Last week was pretty hectic here in the studio. there were a series of deadlines, a juggling of projects, an award to be awarded and two out-of-the-office trips.
It started relatively calmly, creating the outline concept for a new urban front garden for a gentleman on the sunny south coast. minimalist, lots of hedges and a variety of textural grasses and clipped forms. At the end of my scribbling I realised that it looked just like a screenshot from that good old '90's wonder, Tetras. I liked it very much. Fortunately, so did our client, so we are now pressing on with constructional drawings.

Next, we had to make an award. Not to go on our shelf you understand, but to be awarded to a graduate on the University of Sussex Product Design degree show - to the person, who, in our humble opinion could wear the badge of 'Best Eco Design 2010'.
We looked around the studio and found some bits and bobs and assembled this:

Made from recycled plastic with bank notes in, a hugely water damaged book, some screws and threaded rod and an old set of printers blocks. We were quite pleased with the finished effort.

So we then had to decide who was going to receive our assembled award, so I trundled up to the Falmer site of the University of Sussex to view the Innovate 2010 show.

I was blown away. The quality and range of projects was truly excellent and after much umming and aarhing I whittled it down to four very notable eco designs. And after even more umming I finally selected the winner.......(to be continued...)

Thursday found me whizzing up to Birmingham where the ever eclectic Gardeners' World Live show was squeezed into the stale halls and concrete expanses of the NEC, which has to be one of the most depressing places in all of the UK.

Once I had parked my car (to the tune of £8) and reminded myself that I was not in some technicolour 80's theme park I started to enjoy the show.

I loved the Girl Guides garden - there was something about the repetitional structure of the quote sticks against the waft of the wildflowers which particularly drew me in. Other lovelies included the rose Re-Bound garden by Andy Tudbury where I was allowed to sit on the pristine white bench and take in the scent that was captured in the space. The dappled shade on the hedges was lovely and the lawn was so flat you could have ironed a perfect crease on your trousers using it as a base.
I also caught up with Tom and Malcolm at Hooksgreen Herbs, and I was over the moon to hear that they were given a Gold medal for their exhibit. I was chuffed to bits for them and got a very stern look from the BBC film crew when I squealed with delight at the news.

Inside the sheds I found the fantastic James Alexander-Sinclair, who was working harder than a donkey on Blackpool beach in summer in the darkest corner of the NEC you could possibly find. Not the most inspiring of places, but James was lighting up the bleakness with his bright and sharp wit so no head torches were required.
After battling my way out of the car park I rumbled diagonally down the country to the lovely little market town of Bromyard where I was staying for the night before my Friday at the Three Counties Show.

The little sections I did see of Bromyard were lovely, which included my lovely little room in the beautiful Bay Horse pub on the High Street. A stunning oak beamed 16th C coach house, The Bay Horse was so full of character you could make a fortune bottling it and selling it to tourists. Everything was wonky, crittall windows creaked in the sun and it oozed history. Coffee in hand, I sat down and watched Gareth at Glyndebourne (which took me back a few years to when I was at music college) and relaxed for the first time in an age.

Breakfast was excellent, with a no-fuss vegetarian option and nice toast in a beautiful section of the dining room downstairs. Thank you to all of the Bay Horse - I can highly recommend it for a stay if you are around those parts...

A mini rally drive down to Malvern and I was at my second home, the Three Counties Showground for the Three Counties Show in watery sunshine.

I headed straight for our 25th Anniversary Garden, which had been developing over the last 5 weeks since it's first outing at the Spring Show. Like a proud mother hen, I clucked around the space, smiling at how lovely the Stipa tenuissima looked, how the fennel had developed into smokey bronze clouds and how the spots of alliums drew the eyes from one section of the garden to another.

Today, Monday the 21st June, it will be dismantled forever.

But, that is what happens with showgardens, they are fleeting.

After taking far too many photos, I wandered around the show with a massive handwoven willow dragonfly I had bought as a Father's Day present for my Dad and eventually met up with the beautiful and fabulous Nina Acton and the very lovely Mark Diacono who I had met a bit before. We all continued around the show, tasting some lovely beer, talking about yellow courgettes and buying more huge dragonflies made from willow. It was grand.

The drizzle signalled my departure from Worcestershire and after shoehorning the dragonflies into the car I whizzed back down south, with a brief delay on the ever predictable and accident laden M25.

What a week.

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