Leading up to our time in London, the team behind the construction of this year’s Chelsea show garden worked tirelessly to ensure all our bases were covered and every possible preparation was considered right down to the last detail. Matt and Steve from Apex Landscapes continue to lead the team with enthusiasm and skill, and everyone is putting in an incredible effort the make sure the build runs as smoothly as possible.
On our trip to the UK in October last year, we visited the township of Plymouth which is where the HMB Endeavour set sail from in 1768. The historical buildings at the Port were a huge inspiration, and I decided then and there that I wanted our wall at Chelsea to look as beautiful as the stone buildings at Plymouth. But how on earth would we get a natural stone wall built in 16 days and make it look like it had been there for 250 years?!
We have a variety of suppliers on board providing goods & services for the garden, but every now and again, one group goes above and beyond their call of duty and delivers a product that flawlessly nails the brief, with the service, advice and generosity to match. We have been fortunate enough to experience this from Steve Mawdsley and Limestone Australia, who have provided our “250 year old” stone that is forming the backdrop to the garden (see my post “Day 5, and counting” for on site pics). Steve has been invaluable with his advice and resourcefulness, and even sourced a sealer product from Western Australia that will age the stone instantly, giving us our old stone wall.
Not only is the product perfect and exactly what we wanted, but before we left Australia Steve was providing our team with the space needed to carry out the pre-build in Melbourne, which required him to reshuffle his entire business twice a week to make room for us!
The wall is 20m long and 2.7 metres high, equating to over 50 square metres of vertical stone wall, which does not include the side walls which are complicated by open windows. Steve also managed to source and supply the sandstone we are using around the pond and paving areas. These slabs arrived from Western Australia in 3.0m x 1.5m slabs, and it was heartbreaking to have to break them into pieces to fit the design. Steve obviously felt the same way – you could tell by the grimace on his face every time the sledgehammer came down!
Now that we have the sandstone on site in London, we need to shape the pieces to match the curve of the pond. This job requires someone with great skills but also a huge amount of patience, and it has been taken on by The Chief (aka Jarrod), from Paul Hamilton Landscapes. The Chief has been plugging away at the sandstone edging tirelessly now for three days hand chipping the faces to get a natural stone edge that faces towards the pond. We need stones to move seamlessly from one face to the next without the join looking manufactured – which is easier said than done.
Without Steve Mawdsley’s expert advice and generous spirit & the backing of Limestone Australia, we would have had no hope of putting up this wall and achieving the very specific look we are after over the next ten days. This kind of selfless generosity epitomises what is great about our industry, and I can’t thank Steve and his team at Limestone Australia enough for their continued support in helping our Chelsea dream be fulfilled.
Thank you so much, Limestone Australia!
For daily progress reports & photos visit www.flemings.com.au/chelseaprogress