Aquamaintenance has had the privilege of working on both Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival on several occasions. Our first experience was back in 2015 when we installed the water feature on Prince Harry’s charity garden Sentebale. The garden was designed by Matt Keightley, who achieved a silver-gilt medal, and the Peoples Choice award. Many designers consider the Peoples Choice Award better than a gold medal; this is the only award that is not awarded by the RHS, it is voted for by the public and visitors to the show.
Having survived the madness of Chelsea once, we assumed that it was our only chance to work on Chelsea; however, we were delighted to be contacted in May 2019 by Jody Lidgard to work on several gardens to be constructed at Chelsea.
In 2019, Jody designed the Montessori garden; in collaboration with the UK’s leading charity for Montessori education, Montessori St Nicholas. 2019 marked 100 years since Maria Montessori first bought her pioneering teaching methods to the UK, and the garden design brief aimed to reflect the fundamental principles that lie at the heart of her child-centric approach to education.
The water feature on the Montessori garden was particularly complicated and took a lot of ‘on-the-spot’ problem solving, thankfully it all came together in time for the show, and we were very proud and honoured to be credited by Jody for assisting him to achieve his first gold medal in his name.
The second garden was for designer Jo Thompson, who is a regular at Chelsea, and has multiple awards to her name; Wedgewood sponsored the garden to celebrate Etruria, built-in 1769, and the pioneering Staffordshire village that Josiah Wedgwood built for his workers ten years after the founding of The Wedgwood business, which was known as ‘the factory on the garden’ as it has plentiful green space alongside a canal. We were very proud to help Jo achieve a Silver-Gilt medal, on a truly stunning garden.
The third garden was for Laurélie de la Salle’s Harmonious life garden, with a small pond, and water feature that was run by solar panel, and we were delighted to assist Laurélie to win her silver medal.
Just as we thought the whirlwind that is Chelsea Flower Show was over, Jody asked us to work with him again at Hampton Court Flower Festival, although more relaxed in atmosphere than Chelsea; we didn’t under-estimate the work involved. We had the privilege of working on Aleksandra Bartczak’s Crest Nicolson garden, installing the central water feature, and we also constructed the water features in the BBC’s Spring Watch garden, the TV set was the main focus of the filming at Hampton Court.