Anyone with a remote interest in gardening will have heard about James May’s plasticine garden at Chelsea Flower Show last week. An insider at the show said “it was touch and go. Some thought it would damage the RHS and what it stands for.” Love it or hate it, it has certainly provoked a reaction in people.
Thousands of people crowded round May’s child like garden complete with apple tree, stream, rockery, veg patch and grapevines. The garden was made entirely out of plasticine models of fruit, flowers and plants. 2.5 tonnes of plasticine in 24 colours was used to make it. The team behind the garden labelled it “a sculpted art installation, not constrained by the rigours of season, climate or geography”. The models were made by hundreds of volunteers including school children, war veterans and professional model makers.
I can’t decide whether I think it’s a very clever piece of art designed to highlight gardening for all age groups or a stunt to gain publicity for May’s new television show about children’s favourite toys. The question that sticks in my mind, is how it could it be judged as a garden if it contained no real plants? The Chelsea judges obviously knew they couldn’t judge it as a normal garden and therefore it was awarded a plasticine medal instead.
While I’m sure there are many true gardeners whose distaste for the garden will linger long after the plasticine has melted. The people have spoken and voted for it in their thousands. It has gained the much coveted Peoples Choice Award for small gardens.
The lovely photos were taken by Geoff Hodge