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Credit Crunch Chelsea


rhs, chelsea flower show

The Overdrawn Artist’s Garden, The Off-Shore Garden and The Banker’s Garden make up The Credit Crunch Gardens at the 2009 RHS Chelsea Flower Show to provide some light relief and demonstrate how to create entertaining, environmentally responsible gardens on a low budget.

The Credit Crunch Gardens idea was stimulated when Fleming’s had to withdraw its 20m by 10m show garden due to the bushfires in Australia in February. Bob Sweet, RHS shows organiser, explains: “Chelsea is the showcase of the horticultural world and highlights topical issues affecting us today. We filled the space with a relevant feature, but with a humorous approach as plants cheer people up and these gardens aim to help us retain our sense of humour during an enormously challenging time. “The gardens are a superb way to highlight some great ideas to recycle and reuse materials in the garden and demonstrate what can be achieved on a low budget, in a short space of time.” The RHS approached one of the world’s best designers and 2007 Chelsea Best Show Garden winner, Sarah Eberle, to create the three garden designs. Sarah has since been foraging in scrap yards and borrowing plants to create the gardens on the lowest possible budget. The Overdrawn Artist’s Garden is an eclectic garden designed and put together by an artist on a low budget. Hard materials, furniture and features are made from items found at the local scrap-yard. The paving is made of steel grid panels filled with sands, gravels and crushed CD’s to form an abstract urban roof scene. Planting includes fruit and vegetables - excess is, of course, for sale to passers by. The Off-Shore Garden belongs to a man who likes to protect his space and his assets, and becomes a water feature with three large concrete slabs as stepping stones. He is a good eco-warrior has and collected rainwater from his and his neighbour’s roof; but do they know? A storage system and tank allow the garden to be completely flooded to prevent access and a remote controlled boat allows the owner to while away his time when away from his tax haven. The Banker’s Garden is owned by a banker and designed around a well known board game with features that include ‘jail’, ‘Electric Co’, ‘Water Works’ and ‘Free Parking’. A Community Chest holds all the game pieces and dice and shaker double up as furniture. Environmental messages in these gardens include water harvesting and urban drainage. All urban greening is important to wildlife, as is water. The RHS Chelsea Flower, sponsored by Marshalls, is the ultimate event in the gardening year, showcasing the very best in horticulture. The show takes place between 19-23 May and tickets always sell out. All day tickets for Tuesday 19 May SOLD OUT. Book now to avoid disappointment - www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows.

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