Gardens with more than earthy delights

Jo Francis
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Must make a quick trip back in time to the end of last week, and my annual visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. I've been attending this event with the same chum for the best part of 20 years, fortunately she has developed a perennial hardiness to the look of bemusement on exhibitors' faces when I start quizzing them about who does their printing, rather than the more usual 'what is the name of that shrub?' line of questioning they're accustomed to.

The show is always a big generator of printed matter, as this pic of just part of my 2011 Chelsea collateral collection shows. From the official show catalogue (nice job by Polestar Colchester, with pre-press by AT Graphics), to the planting lists and garden plans produced for the show gardens. Branded cotton bags are also becoming a must-have, as evidenced by the Telegraph (winner of best in show with its garden designed by the delectable Cleve West) and the Times (the team at News International must be spitting feathers at the Telegraph's triumph). Meanwhile, the Monaco Garden went for a suitably luxe rope-handled bag reminiscent of those given out by high-end retailers. Very in keeping.

The print-related interest went further than the collateral this year, though. Venerable writing paper brand Basildon Bond had its own garden to celebrate its centenary, complete with waterproof paper decorated walls and a representation of the mill manager's cottage at Apsley Mill. And exquisite lettering played a part in more than one garden - Cancer Research's beautiful exhibit featured stone panels engraved with poetry. The lettering was cut by Annet Stirling.

Elsewhere Martin Cook and Bonnie Davies' teamed up for A Literary Garden, featuring verses and poems hand-carved into a variety of items by Cook himself, and featuring a poem by print and publishing's very own Felix Dennis.

The RHS even commissioned a special artwork that was used as a sort of building wrap. Oh, and Surface View launched its new RHS image range, too.  

All in all, this superabundance of horticultural and graphical delights was even more delightful than usual. An appreciative 'rah goes to all exhibitors and the team at the RHS.

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