I went on to the William Hill website this evening and these were the odds they were giving on the gardens for the coveted Best in Show award. I would be really interested to hear what you think so please post a comment and let me know your views.
The Bookies favourite – The Daily Telegraph. Designer: Cleve West. Contractor: Crocus.
Odds 2-1. I am biased, so no comment.
2nd. Tourism Malaysia Garden. Designer: James Wong. Contractor: The Outdoor Company.
Odds 5-1. James is a very good designer but I am surprised that this is second favourite because they are badly behind schedule. When I left this evening, they still had a lot of work to do.
3rd=. The Times Eureka Garden, in association with Kew. Designer: Marcus Barnett. Contractor: The Outdoor Company.
Odds 6-1. I wouldn’t have put this as 3rd favourite but who knows. The planting looked quite crammed in. I’m also quite amused to see so many pine trees at Chelsea this year when Andy Sturgeon used them last year and won Best in Show. They still have quite a lot of work to do to finish.
3rd= The M&G Garden. Designer: Bunny Guiness. Contractor: Gaskin Landscaping.
Odds 6-1. Tim Richardson describes Bunny Guiness in the Telegraph today as the Delia Smith of gardening. M&G are the main sponsors of the Chelsea Flower Show this year so the pressure is on.
5th. The Laurent-Perrier Garden. Designer: Luciano Giubbilei. Contractor: Crocus.
Odds 8-1. Again, I am biased but I am surprised that this is not higher up the listing. Might be worth a punt. Tipped as the hot favourite by the Telegraph today.
6th. RBC New Wild Garden. Designer: Nigel Dunnett. Contractor: Landform Consultants.
Odds 10-1. I like this garden. It’s been well put together and you can see that a lot of thought has gone into it. I think it will do well.
7th= Irish Sky Garden. Designer: Diarmund Gavin. Contractor: Diarmund Gavin Designs.
Odds 12-1. The Health & Safety Executive have probably stopped people being able to go into this garden. There is a mammoth crane at the back which is there to lift up a section of the garden to ‘float’ above it and the idea was that people could go into the ‘pod’. Described by Tim Richardson as ‘out there – conceptual’. Nice idea but the RHS judges are quite a conservative lot. At 12-1, could be worth a few quid. He has got some really lovely plants in his garden – taxus, buxus etc.
7th= A Beautiful Paradise (Making memories with a green poem). Designer: Kazuyuki Ishihara. Contractor: Ishihara Kazuyuki Design Laboratory.
Odds 12-1. There have been so many people working on this garden so for sheer effort, they deserve a prize. The plot they have got makes it difficult to get a true sense of space and I personally struggle to understand all the symbolism of this type of garden but that is mainly due to my ignorance.
9th= The Australian Garden presented by the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Designer: Jim Fogerty. Contractor: Landform Consultants.
Odds 14-1. Great bunch of guys who have worked seriously hard to complete the garden. I have met some of the people from the Melbourne Botanical Garden and they are a really charming bunch. Their garden is next to the Laurent-Perrier garden and we have got on very well. Interesting selection of plants. Must be difficult to co-ordinate building a garden at Chelsea all the way from Melbourne.
9th= Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s Nurseries. Designer: Ian Barker. Contractor: Apex Landscapes.
Odds 14-1. Flemings have a strong tradition of building fun gardens at Chelsea – lots of timber decking, BBQs, plunge pools – in essence, typical Australian outdoors life. And it brings an interesting angle to the Show. This year, they have moved away from this and personally, this garden doesn’t cut the mustard for me. (Wes Fleming once came up to me and told me how to plant a tree, saying that I was doing it all wrong but I assure that you that his comments have not affected my opinion……)
9th = A Monaco Garden. Designer: Sarah Eberle. Contractor: Peter Dowle Plants & Gardens
Odds 14-1. Described by the Telegraph as an exercise in chic modernism, I would like to see this garden when it is completed. There is a large swimming pool at the front so I hate to think what the budget was, but it could catch the Judges’ eye. Note the use of pine trees – again.
13th= British Heart Foundation. Designer: Ann-Marie Powell. Contractor: The Garden Builders
Odds 16-1. The garden gets the message across pretty clearly.
13th= The Cancer Research UK Garden. Designer: Robert Myers. Contractor: Willerby Landscapes Ltd
Odds 16-1. This is harsh, in my opinion. Robert is a well respected designer and the contractors have done their job well. The quality of the stone pebble work is top top quality. Robert has won lots of Gold Medals at Chelsea before so is a contender.
15th The Homebase Cornish Memories Garden. Designer: Thomas Hoblyn. Contractor: Bowles & Wyer Contracts
Odds 20-1. I don’t know much about betting but 20-1 seems excessive. Thomas has won medals at Chelsea before and he has a good contractor. I think he has a difficult location at the show ground but he is not such an outsider as the odds imply.
16th= The B&Q Garden. Designer: Laurie Chetwood & Patrcik Collins. Contractor: Willerby Landscapes Ltd
Odds 25-1. The B&Q garden has an extremely difficult plot to work with. It can be seen from virtually all sides so it’s difficult to get an atmosphere into the garden. Having said that, the vertical wall is great (although we have seen that a fair bit recently) and the trees are magnificent. The planting was still not finished by the time I left this evening so i would like to review this one again tomorrow.
16th= The HESCO Garden. Designer: Leeds City Council. Contractor: Leeds City Council
Odds 25-1. I really like the workmanship that has gone into this garden. If I am being harsh, I much preferred the wonderful lock gates that Leeds City Council built last year at Chelsea. For me, this garden doesn’t have the same pull but it is still very nicely built (by Mike and his team who have been at Chelsea for years).