ABC Wednesday 4: T is For...

...Terrific or Tacky?

I couldn't really go to Chelsea and not talk about that garden could I? Of course it's not really a garden at all as even the soil's made out of plasticine - 24 colours of it in fact. It really proved to be a marmite moment: you either loved it or loathed it. My friend H wouldn't even look at it whilst I was taking this photograph. I loved it.

Should it be at Chelsea? That's a toughie. Strictly speaking the show's all about horticultural excellence, so a garden without any plants doesn't have a place at all. BUT in a year when lots of show gardens had to pull out due to the economic climate and the RHS had space to fill, why not? It put a smile on lots of people's faces and there's just so much detail. Shhh, even an RHS banned garden gnome was sneaked in there! Lots of people were involved in its making and I hear it will be going on to cheer up the children at Great Ormond Street hospital afterwards.

The garden's part of a TV series about encouraging children to get back to real toys and being more creative in their play, so it should be applauded for that. I'm glad it's puckered the faces and raised the eyebrows of a lot of the gardening establishment too. It's good to see the RHS can have a sense of humour for a change - something sorely needed if it's going to attract more people like me as members in my view. They awarded it a gold medal* - in plasticine of course. And naturally, all that TV coverage and column inches in the papers won't do either the TV programme or the RHS any harm either.

Is it Terrific or Tacky? What do you think?

* = it was not judged alongside the real gardens. In fact it got a Special Letter, which might be code for got a b*ll*cking!

For more Terrific posts, do visit the ABC Wednesday blog.


  1. Ha!!! Tackily terrific, of course!

  2. I agree with ben. first prize for "tackily terrific"

  3. I loved it. It was a bit of fun, a distraction from the doom and gloom of recession and got a lot of people talking about the show. Plasticine rocks.

  4. IK did go so I didnt see it. I think it is fab!

  5. TERRIFIC! i love it! It took so much time, and look at all that detail!

  6. As long as the idea doesn't spread to knitted gardens, macrame gardens, pottery gardens, embroidered gardens, Mr Potato Head gardens, humans-standing-around-pretending-to-be-plants gardens . . .

    And I hope the mention on Esther's Boring Garden Blog
    is ok. If not, let me know and I'll change it.


  7. I thought it was fun, but I agree with Esther - I wouldn't want to see that sort of thing every year!

  8. while it certainly is a fun 'garden' to look at, the material it is made out of gives off fumes that are toxic to me. that is, provides horrid headaches, sore throat, & a tight chest. so no matter how fun, it wouldn't be an area which i could venture into (i can't even go into 'dollar stores').if chelsea is going to allow displays like this on a regular basis, i hope they will post warnings.

  9. I wouldn't want a garden like this in my own yard, but why not as a play garden? I can see kids enjoying it, and I'm not surprised it brought some smiles to adults' faces.

    Scrolling down through your previous posts, I am kicking myself now for not taking some pictures of street and curbside plantings while in Chicago this past weekend. Downtown Chicago has the best public plantings I've seen anywhere!

  10. I'm with Ben, tacky but why not.

  11. I've commented on this elsewhere, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself. I thought it was great: I thought the involvement of someone like James May probably got more non-gardeners interested in Chelsea than almost anything else this year. I couldn't believe how po-faced so many people were about it. There was no attempt to say that Plasticine flowers were better than real ones - it was just a very genuine tribute to an invention that has helped millions of children develop their creativity. Oops, now I'm sounding po-faced! Ironically, the WV is 'eliter'!

  12. It is certainly different. I kinda like it. It is so colorful and I bet kids love it. It looks like a fun place.

  13. Tacky!! appalling, no I don't think it's fab.

    T as in Tyra

  14. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It was so fun to see on the television and a great way of breaking the slightly stuffy image of the RHS. So much detail and all in the aid of kids, what is not to love. It's going to be bright, colourful all year round and basically I want it! Love the every season on the one tree idea too.
    Hoorah for the Gold Medal and to everyone who (still) make me smile when I see it.

  15. Rubbish is my only sentiment.

    But I appreciate all your other post on Chelsea VP.

  16. Despite my initial reservations when reading about it before the event I thought it was totally terrific. So much thought had gone into the detail and just as much love as if the plants were real. Good on the RHS especially for the plasticine medal.

  17. I vote for terrific. Looks great in the picture! A sense of humor is handy in today's economic climate.

  18. Terrifically tacky, but I love it! It is the perfect antidote to blossom overload at a show. The last 3 words are crucial.

  19. Hi everyone - I see you have very different opinions on this one, just as I found on the day :)

    Esther - I think the knitted garden's been done already - by Kaffe Fasset no less. Thanks for the mention over at your place - I have a completely different pronunciation for Zantedeschia BTW!

    Petoskystone - that's a good point and something I hadn't considered. As this was outside would it still give you problems?

    Rose - I hope another Spring Flinger will now take pity on my and post what you've seen in Chicago! We desperately need some good examples of public planting to counteract the bad ones.

  20. if the exhibit is outside it would pose less of a problem. days where the air hangs heavy & low to the ground keeps car exhaust & other such fumes close to the ground, making everything worse.

  21. Petoskystone - we've had a lot about that on the news recently and the effects it has, especially on children, who of course get more of it being that much closer to the ground. Hope things aren't too bad for you down your way.


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