Charlie Albone reflects on the Chelsea Flower Show special.
Firstly, I would like to thank everybody who tuned in to watching my Chelsea Flower Show special. It was a great experience and one I will cherish for my whole life. I was so pleased to be able to share the experience with you all and have had great feedback through social media.
One question I have been asked a lot is, ‘What happened to the garden after the show?’
Well, all the show gardens are broken down and the site is returned to grass in readiness for the following year. It’s not a simple task when the majority of the garden has come from the other side of the planet! The garden took 21 days to build and three days to pull apart.
It all starts in the final hour and a half of the show when a loud bell rings to call in what’s known as ‘the sell off’. This is where the public can buy the plants they see in the gardens, and some of the plants we had to offer caused a real stir. The process is a funny one where buyers walk up and point at a plant they want and then haggle with you until you agree on a price. Once agreed, you simply rip the plant out of the ground, shove it in a pot or a plastic bag and off it goes home with its new owner - on the tube!
The funniest sale we had involved an eight-foot tree fern that would have weighed 60kgs that was ripped out of the ground stuck on a wobbly kneed mans shoulders and off home five stops on the underground it went.
Sadly, there is a lot of waste in the garden with gravel, pipes, plastic and timber all going in the bin. We did recycle the concrete and the stone paving (which couldn’t come back to Australia due to quarantine issues) and sold the stone for the walling along with some of the larger trees. We donated what we couldn’t sell and did some bartering with the other trade stands on site.
I couldn’t leave my wife and kids in England so shipped back the fire pit, sandstone columns, bench seat, sculpture (which will be on display in Sydney shortly) and water feature holding tank. All to be reinstated in my own garden... When I get a few days spare to do so!
You leave your site as a hole in the ground for the show organisers to refill and turf and head off with a head full of fantastic memories and the experience of a lifetime. Special thanks goes out to The Husqvarna group and Gardena in particular, Marie Najjar, Stephen Clarke, David Boyd, Jodie Hancock and Vienna Spence who allowed me to build my dream garden.
This garden couldn’t be made possible without the help of the following contributors and dear friends of mine:
Conway Landscaping, ME Lighting, Australian Plunge Pools and Capricorn Sandstone Quarries – Thank you all.