Cleve West returns to RHS Chelsea this year and luckily I've had the opportunity to interview him before the build starts later this week. Cleve is well-known for his bold and successful designs and this year he's chosen to present a contemporary paradise garden for M&G, the show's sponsor. So no pressure then ;)
In the introductory blurb I was given, Cleve says:
"I was inspired by the idea that the ancient gardens of Persia, Greece and Italy
|Cleve at Horatio's Garden in 2012|
How long will it take from M&G commission to Chelsea Press Day? [19th May - Ed]
Around nine months.
What brief did M&G give you for your design?
They were reasonably flexible about the brief but we both agreed that it should be a garden that should reflect the values of M&G in standing the test of time.
A lot of your last show garden for Brewin Dolphin was donated to Horatio's Garden and the one for BUPA was transferred to a care home. Any similar plans for life after Chelsea for this garden?
The yew hedging is being donated by M&G to a new Maggie's Centre I'm working on that is being planned for the Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff.
When does the build commence?
And how many are in the build team?
6 construction and 6-8 planting.
You've previously introduced Chelsea to the delights of Dianthus cruentus and allotment parsnips in flower. What is your star plant for this year?
I think my trees are going to be the stars - Zelkova serrata. Oenothera odorata 'Sulphurea' maybe, hopefully some interesting bulbs like Fritillaria persica 'Dark Purple' and Tulipa acuminata, but much depends on the weather.
I see you're also acting as advisor to the Chelsea Fringe. What does this involve?
I haven't had time to really get involved this year on account of doing Chelsea.
[NB I hope I can help out a little there as I'm aiming to get Cleve and his team to pose for a Shows of Hands for my Chelsea Fringe project.]
Thanks Cleve and good luck with the build! I look forward to seeing you and the result at Chelsea next month :)
NB Mark and Gaz also interviewed Cleve here. They've delved more deeply into the Paradise Garden aspects of the design - I'm so glad I saw this before I asked some very similar questions.