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Chelsea Update December 12th

December 12th, 2018

RHS Chelsea 2019
Background Story No2
The Dubai Majlis Garden
Designer Tom Hoblyn

This is the second in a series of pieces giving some background to the projects that we are working on for Chelsea 2019.

We have enjoyed working with Tom on various Chelsea Gardens over the past 10 years, but this is our first Chelsea project as the major plant supplier, and we have gladly taken on the challenge of this most innovative project.

The garden is inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes, from eroded rock to goat grazed topiary-esque shrubs. The garden uses materials to evoke a middle eastern feel such as white limestone and burnt sienna gravel.

The plants used in the garden have their own sculptural properties. Tom himself made several trips to source some special trees for the garden, including some very rare Arbutus, most of which are now either at our nursery or at Deepdale Trees, with whom we are working as partners on this project.

Tom loves his plants and its very exciting working with a list of unusual plants, many grown in an unfamiliar way. The smaller shrubs and perennials are all currently at our nursery. The great challenge with any garden using plants from this part of the world, is the winter. Plants such as Teucrium and Artemisia, come from climes with high light levels, even in the winter. Winters are also on the dry side, and the humidity level is low. This is the complete opposite of dark wet Somerset winters! The cold is less of an issue because generally, we are reasonably mild in Somerset.

As growers, this challenges our skills enormously. We need to keep the plants as dry as possible, some almost to the point of desiccation. We keep our growing structures ventilated at every possible opportunity, and keep the plants well spaced to maintain good air circulation around them. We keep a particular eye out for any fungal problems, and also remove any dead leaves on a daily basis. e continue this regime until the middle of February, after which, most plants are kicking into active growth.

Tom is making regular visits to view his plants, and has been very helpful in explaining the concept of “goat-browsed” shrubs, often trimming the plants himself… although with secateurs rather than his teeth!

Follow us on Instagram @kelwaysmailorder & Facebook @KelwaysMailOrder, on our journey to Chelsea! and follow Tom @tomhoblyn_gd

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