In the Loop: Charlie at Chelsea

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Words by Peta Donaldson / Images supplied by Kuva Photography

Its Day 8 of the build of Charlie Albone’s ‘The Time in Between’ at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015, and judging by the images on Charlie at Chelsea, things are progressing well! I did however, want to know HOW the team are, so I excitedly checked in with them last night.

Almost at the end of the major construction phase, both Charlie and Mick are travelling along considerably well.  Understandably, the show has brought with it a world of emotions, from the super charge of adrenalin, to the stress from the self induced pressure and bringing it all together, making sure every detail is considered. Overall, the team are happy, keeping it focussed but lighthearted on site with many, many laughs.

“We have set sailed on HMAS Fatigue, but us, and the whole show are all in the same boat.”

A typical day is a 5:30am wake up call, the team madly scoffing breakfast before a hasty departure to arrive at the gates at 7am, then work on site until around 7pm (“but no later than 8pm”), when the team stumbles home to finally collapse in bed at around 10.30pm. And the “orchestral tones of snoring commences.”

kuva_chelsea 2015_06May2015_1709At Day 8, the majority of construction is complete. “We’ve just finished the water feature and are now ready to pump the water in. Next, is the construction of the fire pit within the 3rd section of the garden.”

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As is the case with all landscaping builds, the first sight of greenery is a very welcomed hue. And they are thrilled to have successfully placed the largest of the trees within the garden, with the help of some enormous machinery. Instantly, it softens the hardscaping and the garden begins to take shape.

9147730_origSo what’s next? “Planting, planting and more planting. A bit of paving, a dry rock wall and laying some oversized bespoke sandstone stepping stones. After that, it’s the final touches to really make this garden shine.”

2754497_origThe only frustration to date has been caused by the unfamiliarity of their surrounds, trying to source supplies of odds and ends required during the build.

“When are Bunnings moving to the UK?”

There was also a complete failure of a delivery of concrete, “but we quickly fixed that dilemma thanks to alternate concrete company being on site at the show.”

Surprisingly, the London weather has been kind thus far, allowing the build to progress without delay. However, working on such a huge challenge and the enormity of what is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the “goal post for the days achievements are always shifting.”

5212888_origAnd when asked the big question, Mick, are you going to finish on time? He said, with unquestionable determination, “Absolutely, come hell or high water.” And I don’t doubt that for a second.

kuva_chelsea 2015_06May2015_1711I asked Charlie, if he has had time to check out the competition. His response, “Sad to say its been heads down. At days end, we do wander past the other sites, but we are all still in the midst of construction, so it’s a case of the unknown. In saying that, in the next 2-3 days, all the gardens will start to take shape.”

The show gardens will be judged on Sunday 17th May by three separate bodies, the “Preliminary Suggestion Judges”, the “Judges” and the “Adjudicators” who review the results of the Judges to ensure all is correct and in order.

But until then, we will be watching the progress and will again check in with the team on judging day, as they wait, with much anticipation, for the results of the months and months of hard work that has finally come to fruition. Emotions will be high!

For more details visit www.charlieatchelsea.com.