07 August 2013 By Billy Hawkins
Alice had always proclaimed herself to be flexible within the parameters of her design – she had some sticking points regarding the flow of the garden, but she was accepting of necessary change. In the event, Alice's attitude was fortunate as some changes in plants were made in instances where rust had set in to her first choices.
The nursery, Chichester Trees and Shrubs (based in the New Forest, not Chichester) were incredibly helpful in supplying quality plants and being resourceful when substitutes had to be made. “My experience with the nursery completely contradicted my previously held opinions – everyone was so helpful and generally wonderful. I was forced to rely on them and they were great.” Alice commented.
Asked if there were any disappointments or regrets once the design was realised, Alice is hard pushed to think of anything, although she mentions the rose as not being at the peak of its cycle as a bit of a let down. Given the rose was a repeat flowerer, this is inevitable, as they gather strength to bloom again. Also the boiling weather on the stand throughout the show challenged the plants to stand up to scrutiny for the whole week – watering twice a day was compulsory.
Alice says she has “learned masses and masses”, from the experience. From working with a “real”, client to understanding the demands of a show garden, the pressures on individuals to get the job done and developing relationships with nurseries, the whole project has been a learning curve. Even during the show week Alice was able to talk to other designers and learn more about the industry she is heading towards – all a great experience.
“There seem to be very few opportunities for students to dip their toe into the horticultural world like this. I think what Alitex offered was reasonably unique and I wish there were more companies prepared to do this.” Alice says.
As a new designer Alice expects to be initially working with small budgets and so was inspired by impressive low cost, high impact gardens she saw at the show.
Overall Alice wants to extend a huge thank you to Alitex and the people she worked with to be “show-ready”. She came away from the experience having thoroughly enjoyed herself, armed with ideas for the future, the “show-bug”, and ...Sunburn!