News & Events

Ten days ago the permeable black sheet was laid out in the field on which the garden is marked out ready to have a mock-up of the layout in life size. Within hours it had disappeared under a layer of fluffy snow.

Today I received an e-mail from the RHS with the exhibitor manual and forms to complete. Thirty four forms in total ranging from health and safety to schedules, parking passes, machinery passes and water connection. There are dates for deadlines ranging from mid-February for the health and safety statements to the end of April for some of the parking passes. It states in the manual that we can start at 7am on 1st May. This is a sobering thought as build up on site feels very real now even though it is still months away

I am waiting for a call from the Blacksmith to let me know that the steel has arrived for the sculpture. After weeks of sketching ideas last year for this very important feature of the garden I returned to my original design of an abstract window in a configuration that also conveys a subtle message.

I have chosen corten steel for several reasons:

It is a material that has been used at RHS Flower Shows in recent years and has appeared in various forms at Chelsea very recently. It is popular these days for sculptures and therefore fits with my plans for a contemporary feel to this part of the M&G Garden.

I like the rusty finish which will blend easily with the planting and it should tie in well with two other rust colour elements – one is the kissing gate. Corten steel or COR-TEN which is the trademark is also known as ‘weathering steel’. It is actually a group of alloys which oxidise to form a rust layer on the surface protecting the steel from further degradation. I find it fascinating that a layer of rust can do the job that we would otherwise expect to use several layers of paint.

It is a self-protecting material that requires no maintenance and so is an ideal material for shipping, bridge building and other building applications. If you live by the sea it is probably not going to last as long in the salt air and do avoid placing it where it can stain the surface underneath.

I am looking forward to positioning it on the garden and I think it is going to be challenging yet rewarding to surround with planting. Given that it will be about 2m high we will have to prepare some tall perennials and roses to remain in scale.

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