Melissa Jolly Garden Design

Melissa Jolly Garden Design
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Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Show is Over....

The RHS London Plant and Design Show is now over and I am very happy to have a relaxing day at home, catching up on a few jobs and not having 16 hour they have been for the last 5 days.

I was awarded a Silver-Gilt medal - a step up from my Silver last year - so heading in the right direction - but God...I would have liked a gold! I didn't feel so bad about feeling this way after chatting to Tony Smith - who, having 5 Gold medals to his name and a few silver-gilts, told me that you're never really happy unless you get a gold...that's just the way it is!

I am now starting to plan for my conceptual garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this summer and getting back to work as normal with some exciting new design projects.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Nearly there

London Plant and Design Show - Build Up:

Just finished 2 days of building - yesterday started early and ended very late - thank you to my brilliant husband and fantastic builder for all their hard work.

It's Exhausting!!! Everything always takes longer than expected - loading and unloading the van took the majority of the first day and we did not even start building until 3 o'clock.

However, everyone worked hard and by the end of today I am at a fairly good stage. I still have a few things to do tomorrow to finish it off before the 4pm deadline - normal life still goes on, so I can not get up to London until after the school runs. I have a schedule for the next three days stuck to the fridge - so that the kids know who's supposed to be where, when and with what!

I've had no time to prepare a talk for the London Plant and Design show and was fairly relaxed until I heard that John Brooks (MBE) - ..."most influential designer in the 20th Century" will also be speaking - I am now wondering why on earth I volunteered to speak.

However, I am really looking forward to this show. I have not visited it before, and it looks like it will be a very intimate and friendly affair - and also over pretty quickly. Plans are already well underway for breakdown on Wednesday. After two and a half days of building we have just 4 hours to get it out of the halls - sounds like a tall order to me.

So, I am well into my second show garden and I realise that I do really enjoy them - I like the buzz, the event organising side, the number of people you need to be in touch with - and seeing a project come together from design to build in such a short space of time. I just wish I could finish our own 'building-site-of-a-garden' to the same discerning standard. Seems a long way off right now!

End Of Day 2....getting there

The Martha Schwartz lecture on Thursday night inspirational - her projects were immense and dynamic and I feel like Garden Design might be the tip of the iceberg...perhaps a further career in Landscape Architecture awaits...More on that later.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


It's about now that the pressure of a show garden really builds...everything is being delivered over the next few days - artwork came yesterday, leaflets arrived today, planters and furniture arrive tomorrow - so it's all go and the adrenaline has started to work it's magic - in that I seem to be able to survive on very little sleep!

My plants have arrived as well which is very exciting - for the middle of February I think they're looking pretty good. The frost has got to a few of them, so I have been meticulously snipping off each and every damaged leaf...a therapeutic process but one that does produce the occasional... "Why, on earth, I am doing this?"

I had a call from my furniture suppliers today and there has been a mistake with the delivery...not the best news I had all day, as the manufacturers are in Denmark. After establishing that it was pretty improbable that we could get the correct piece of furniture here on time, I have realised that I will have to work with what I have. I'm giving a talk on Show Garden Building at an RHS seminar on Wednesday (yes...the same day as the show is on, nothing like piling on the work load) - and I have included in my talk a section on the fact that mistakes happen and you just have to solve the problem the best way possible. So, I am adamant not to get stressed about it.

We have started to construct the garden so that all is ready for the 2 and a half day build that starts on Saturday. Here is John-William, my trusty builder, steadily cutting the porcelain tiles - not an easy job.

I'm having an evening off tonight and heading up to Oxford to listen to the eminent Landscape Architect Martha Schwartz, and to catch up with some of my college friends who I haven't seen for ages - can't wait.