M&G Investments

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

20-24 May 2014 at Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

'The M&G Garden' Blog

Keep up to date with the latest developments on 'The M&G Garden' and other preparations
in advance of RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014.

Wednesday 25th June

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 - So how did we do?

by Cathal Dowling

How that the dust has settled and the famous Royal Hospital grounds is once again back in pasture, it gives us a chance to review this year’s show. 2014 marked M&G’s fifth year as the title sponsor of RHS Chelsea and our fourth Gold Medal at the Show.

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Ursula Nicholls 4 With Padding

Wednesday 21st May

Visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show?

by Cathal Dowling

Don’t forget to visit the M&G award winning Garden, designed by Cleve West Cleve is known for designs which combine the classic with the contemporary and in his plan for the M&G Garden he used the ancient elements of water, shade and planting to create a paradise garden fit for 2014.

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Helper on Garden Resized Padded

Thursday 15th May

Leaps and bounds

by George Frost

Since my last blog the M&G Garden has come on leaps and bounds and as you can see from the latest photos, the sun has started to shine, which has made life a little easier for Cleve West and all his team who are working on the garden.

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Fountain in Build 300 x 200

Wednesday 14th May

M&G Garden - Update

by George Frost

Hard to believe when you look at these photos, but 'The M&G Garden' for RHS Chelsea 2014 is starting to take shape! Cleve West and his team have now been on site for almost a week and the foundations of the garden are now all in place.

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Rainy garden in build 300 x 200

Tuesday 13th May

The M&G Marquee

by George Frost

The shell of the M&G Marquee for this year’s show is now in place. Looking at the attached photos it's hard to picture how this will turn into a state of the art hospitality area, but in the space of seven days this area will see about 3,000 people pass through its doors.

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Marquee Build Resized

Monday 11th May

An English Conversation

by Cleve West

On the train up to the show ground on Saturday I had some time to reflect on how much the weather affects the Show each year. Despite all the rain over the winter months that had us sailing to work in some instances, the warm spring has given us a wonderful choice of plants to use in comparison to last year.

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Rainy garden in build 300 x 200

Friday 9th May

The challenges of a landscape designer

by Cleve West

The anxieties that fuelled the words of my last blog post have now subsided a little. We’ve made reasonably good progress and we’re beginning to get a sense of what The M&G Garden is going to look like, or rather, what it’s going to feel like. Visuals are great for conveying an idea but feeling it, is another thing altogether. So you really do have to hold your nerve. The yew hedging is now in, and already lending atmosphere to the space, as are the trees.

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Garden in Build with padding

Thursday 8th May

Design for Chelsea

by George Frost

The M&G Design and Print team are working flat out in the final weeks in the run-up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The number of projects we are working on has increased this year with the introduction of the M&G Little Garden Awards which has been added to the long list of projects we undertake for the preeminent flower show of the year.

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Chelsea Taxi 300 x 200

Wednesday 6th May

Sleepless in Chelsea

by Cleve West

1 comment

I've taken part in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show enough times to know that sleepless nights are part of the course, but I didn't bank on them starting on day one of the build. At three thirty this morning I woke and immediately felt that familiar irrational dread that is difficult to ignore.

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Thursday 1st May

M&G Chelsea Flower Show Marquee

by George Frost

As the building work starts on site we are finalising the look and feel of the M&G Chelsea Flower Show Marquee. The team is working hard to decide on everything we will need for the interior of the marquee. With so many carpet samples, wall finishes, tables and chairs in the print and events room at the M&G offices it’s starting to look like a department store!

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George Blog 3 Padding

Wednesday 16th April

The beauty of Persian gardens

by Cleve West

I’ve been involved with some more filming with the BBC this week. This time for material to be included in the Show’s coverage, focussing on the inspiration behind The M&G Garden. There were some worried faces when I told them that the ancient gardens of Persia inspired this garden. “Don’t worry” I said. “We don’t have to go all the way to Iran to do the filming, the Alhambra in Southern Spain will do nicely.”

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Wednesday 16th April

Going for Gold

by Cleve West

It’s the finest of spring days and I’ve just got back from a spot of filming with the BBC at RHS Wisley. This will form part of the BBC’s Red Button coverage, which allows viewers to vote for their favourite garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as part of the People’s Choice Award. Inevitably, one of the questions was: “What would it mean to you to win the People’s Choice Award?” I had to be honest in saying that my main focus is on winning an RHS Gold medal. Beyond that, anything is a bonus.

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Film Crew Resized 2

Tuesday 8th April

It’s time to salsify

by Cleve West

I’ve already hinted at the conflict of interests between creating a Show garden for RHS Chelsea and keeping an allotment. Building the garden as well as attending Chelsea during Show week keeps you occupied for the whole of May - a crucial month in the vegetable grower’s calendar in terms of watering, weeding and handpicking slugs. The last time I was at Chelsea, it took the whole of June to knock the allotment back into shape. Slugs had flagrantly taken advantage of my absence and stripped almost everything to stumps. There wasn’t much of a harvest that year, and that made me think about giving it all up.

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Tuesday 1st April

Blossoms of hope

by Cleve West

After last week’s whinge, bleat or whatever you want to call it, I’m walking with a slightly cautious spring in my step - and not just because Brentford FC* have moved a step closer to automatic promotion. A visit to Hortus Loci, the nursery that has sourced all of our plants for The M&G Garden, has confirmed exactly what I was expecting – the mild winter and a (so far) frost-free spring with good light, has got the plants off to a brilliant start.

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Tree-Resized

Tuesday 18th March

The Seven-Month Itch

by Cleve West

2 comments

I’ve been ‘acquainting’ myself with The M&G Garden for the last seven months, and am at that stage where I can’t help but feel just a little contempt for the amount of time it demands. Don’t worry, it’s normal. It happens every time. In fact I’d be worried if I didn’t hate it just a little by now, but one can only take so much hard-landscaping detail before going slightly potty.

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Friday 7th March

To turtle or to tortoise, that is the question

by Cleve West

The good news is, we are back in action. The floods have receded from the stone yard in Gloucester and, for the first time in two months, we have vehicular access. Now we are pressing hard to get the work we wanted finished by Christmas, completed by the end of this month. This way, we will have a feel for what we are making before we get to the showground. I wouldn’t say we are panicking but there’s definitely some tension in the wings.

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Boat Resized Padding

Monday 24th Feb

Paradise vs Water

by Cleve West

I'm not keen on boats. For years, I have always avoided them like the plague. Firstly because I have emetophobia (an irrational fear of vomiting), secondly because I can't swim very well and thirdly because I read Peter Benchley's 'Jaws' at a very impressionable age. So you can understand where my apathy stems from.

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Cleve - Flood Resized

Tuesday 4th February

The Devil’s in the Stone Detail

by Cleve West

1 comment

It goes without saying that a strong team is crucial when it comes to creating a Show garden at RHS Chelsea. In total, there are probably around 40 people involved both at the Show ground as well as behind the scenes.

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Water Feature Resized with Padding

Monday 6th January

A Real Tree-t for the Start of the New Year

by Cleve West

2 comments

In four months time we will be on-site at the Royal Hospital Grounds to start work on M&G’s fifth show garden at Chelsea. Four months sounds like plenty of time to get things organised, but I know from previous experience that it will go in a blink of an eye. We’ve been very keen, therefore, to get as much work done as possible beforehand so that, when the time comes, we can hit the ground running.

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 Blog 2  - Tree Pic 2 Blog Page

Friday 20th December

The Power of Paradise

by Cleve West

1 comment

When M&G asked me to create their fifth exhibit at RHS Chelsea I was immediately drawn to the concept of an ancient paradise garden. What intrigued me was that many of our gardens in the UK and the western world are still influenced by the concept of paradise, a place of enclosure and refuge, more than 2000 years after the first gardens appeared in Mesapotania.

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