I haven’t seen the many many hours of Chelsea coverage on BBC TV this year, I’ve either been at the show or subduing my cold with potions that sent me to sleep. But I’m told that the Silver-Gilt Medal winning Westland Garden, designed by Diarmuid Gavin the Dublin-based designer and TV gardener, and named for his sponsor, has not been featured at all. Can anyone confirm or refute that?
At one time Diarmid was part of BBC TV’s presentation team but now seems to be out of favour, fampous as part of an awkward double-act with regular host Alan Titchmarsh in which they failed to pretend to like each other. He’s even been involved in a dispute with fellow Chelsea designer Andy Sturgeon over the supposed plagiarism of one of his designs and and the dispute even ended up in court! He’s also fallen out with Bunny Guinness, one of the BBC radio gardening team. You can read all about it here.
Bill Shankly, the great football (soccer) manager at Liverpool Football Club once said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death… I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” It looks as if Chelsea garden designers are developing the same attitude about their gardens – or perhaps about themselves!
In Britain we have an expression: "Handbags at three paces." It derives from the idea of two women attempting to whack each other in the face by swinging their handbags on outstretched arms. Commentators sometimes use the phrase to deride football (soccer) players shouting at each other and pushing and shoving on the pitch. Sounds like a great term for feuding garden designers.
American readers, by the way, will be astonished at the amount of TV coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show - much of it on BBC1, the top-rated channel in the country. It's as if ABC cancelled Grey's Anatomy and ran flower show coverage instead - and ran the flower show every night of the week. Mind you, Britain is the country where the top rated reality TV show is SpringWatch, which features live coverage of nesting birds and squabbling foxes out in the countryside. Those Brits...
- BTW I’ve also contributed a Guest Post, with more pictures, to the Garden Rant blog, you can find it here.