Five Chinese birch trees, reserved for designer Jo Thompson three years ago by Hillier Nurseries for a future Chelsea garden, will be the first items to be planted in the ‘Celebration of Caravanning’ garden for The Caravan Club.
Arriving from Hampshire on Saturday, and sticking to a strict entry schedule, the 6-7 metre trees, each weighing about half a tonne, will be lifted into place using a telehandler or big forklift truck.
The 18 year old Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination’ trees caught Jo’s eye when she was looking for multistem Prunus serrula for her Chelsea 2010 Thrive garden three years ago. Jo’s use of five single stem birches for structure is a departure from the multi-stem trees she has used in the past. Multi-stem trees are still a design solution that is popular at Chelsea.
As Jo explains: “I was doing a nursery visit when I spotted these five majestic trees with glorious creamy-white bark with just a hint of pink. I loved them so much that I persuaded James to tag them for me with a view to using them for a Chelsea garden in the future.”
“This year’s design was, to an extent, inspired by their colour and habit: just as in a real garden you tend to work with existing trees. I wanted to use them as the starting point for the design rather than creating the design first and then hunting around to find trees to fit the bill.
“I use trees as architecture instead of manmade structures wherever possible in gardens. I’m challenging myself this time as their habit which is standard with relatively small canopies, is harder to work with, especially in front of the pavilion which is where I am positioned. It would have been easy to use multi-stems and they have served me well in previous Chelsea gardens.
The colour of the trunks is going to stand out against the green of the hornbeam hedge boundaries. The pinks and creams of the roses and peonies came about because of the subtle colours of the trunks.
Her modern cottage planting, in a palatte of pink, blue and white with splashes of yellow, and her signature-like naturalistic planting keep the look contemporary. The liberal use of pink and cream roses and peonies soften a fairly geometric and simple layout, intended to give depth to the plot, based around a vintage caravan at the far end of the garden.
Recently tipped as the ‘designer of the moment’, Jo was awarded a gold medal and Best Urban Garden in Show at Chelsea in 2010, the year before she received a silver-gilt medal for her first ever Chelsea garden. In October 2011 she gained a silver medal at the Gardening World Cup Japan, and her design for a beachside garden in Sussex was recently awarded The Best Rural Garden Award (New Homes and Gardens Awards 2011).
For more information and images contact:Emma Dewhurst 07964 686682; or designer Jo Thompson 07834 196193
For an interview with Jim Hillier about transporting the trees to Chelsea please read Rona Wheeldon’s blog