03 April 2013 By Billy Hawkins
After many successful years of collaboration, locally based garden designers Taylor Tripp will once again be helping shape the Alitex stand at RHS Chelsea 2013. After a good chat with Nick Tripp it is clear that designing for a Chelsea stand holds more than a couple of challenges.
Firstly any designing and planting schemes must hold true to the Alitex high standard, reflecting inherent values and fulfilling expectation. Once that idea has settled into the design it is imperative that consideration is given to the logistics of the stand – after all, it is a trade stand and visitors are there to see the Alitex greenhouse, they need access. Whilst it isn’t a show garden, getting the balance between making it welcoming and befitting of a Main Avenue position and giving enough space and context to the product is something which takes time and planning. On top of the fact that there are Alitex staff, friends, customers and visitors on the stand, there has even been a Royal visitor or two in years gone by!
Given that there are always two glass structures on an Alitex stand – this year, as last, two greenhouses, one from the National Trust Collection, one bespoke, Nick needs to create clear design lines between the buildings and the planting schemes chosen. This is no different to how he would design a garden, with lines being drawn between the house and garden and consideration being given to form.
Colour schemes are always talked about at Chelsea but Nick says that for the Alitex stand it is generally always going to be a palette of blues, whites and pinks because they are in abundance during May and if something fails because of the bad weather there is usually something else which can be swapped in at the last minute.
For Nick, half of the pleasure is seeing people enjoy the designs he creates. If you spend time on your design thinking about engaging with visitor’s senses then it is great to see the reactions.
Over the years there have been fashions which only become apparent when the show is in full flow – a reaction to society and the zeitgeist of the time perhaps. During the 1990s it was all white and pastels and box which developed into Christopher Lloyds’ hot border flowers. Piet Oudolf came to prominence working with perennials and natural grasses. From here Sarah Raven and her cut flower garden, grow your own and emphasis on annuals to add something new to the garden segued into the ‘wild’ Olympic park and pictorial meadows. The trends over recent years have certainly moved towards the craft of gardening and Nick expects to see much more of a traditional and classic approach to gardens at this years show. Remember Arne Maynard ’s wild rose growing through a hazel structured ball last year? Nick thinks we will see much more of this kind of craftwork and gardening skills along with elements from all the trends which have gone before.
Chelsea is for one week, so the flowers on the Alitex stand and the planting must look great for that time of year. However, in keeping with Alitex principles it has to be functional and be able to use year round; it has to be realistic. Nick suggests complementing his scheme for Alitex with bulbs and annuals which will extend the seasons, ensuring there is something of interest throughout the year.
Click here to find out more about Taylor Tripp.
See Alitex Chelsea show stands from years gone by. Click here.
Find Alitex this year on Main Avenue (MA10) opposite the Laurent Perrier garden. Do come along and say hello. This year we are exhibiting our Scotney greenhouse from the National Trust Greenhouse Collection and also a bespoke greenhouse.