Friday, May 22, 2009

Gardening Excellence!

On Monday evening, my wife and I were very lucky to be able to attend the Gala Preview evening at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - the weather held fine (just!) and despite being borderline freezing cold for May, it was a wonderful evening.

This show is the ultimate "best in class" and it reaches world class levels of horticultural excellence. For someone without a green finger or toe on either hand or foot, it is always good to see such effortless talent displayed for all to enjoy. Some of the show gardens were trully inspiring - the Eden Project Garden, the Perfume Garden, and the Daily Telegraph Garden all stood out amongst an impressive selection. The Gold Medal proudly displayed on the James May Plasticine Garden also caught the eye - sad that it was only made out of plasticine but you had to smile! And finally, did the organisers find the second gnome that was apparently smuggled onto site and onto one of the gardens - strictly taboo for any gnome to be seen on site and an annual battle!

One small aside made me smile and restored some faith in the world of celebrities - at least in part. My wife and I were in the queue to enter the show and to have bags checked, etc when a large rolls royce pulled up near the entrance gates. Cliff Richard and Cilla Black got out of the car and were greeted by a couple who were clearly waiting to meet them. Entrance tickets, etc were exchanged and all four of them then without hesitation strolled back past us to the back of the queue in order to take their turn to enter. Well done and thanks to them both - so many would have just entered!

Well done to the RHS for another stunning sell-out Chelsea Flower Show and for maintaining such fantastically high standards - I am sure many returned home with grand designs - me, I think the plasticine could work well!

Staying with the theme of gardens excellence, on Thursday next week we receive our Garden of the Year Award from the Historic Houses Association and Christie's - we are so proud to receive this prestigious award in it's 25th year and it is a wonderful credit to Trevor and Hilary Wood (our Head Gardeners) and their excellent and highly dedicated team. Thursday is for them and I hope they will bask in the attention they deserve - and hopefully the surrounding publicity will drive yet more visitors to see our wonderful gardens.

We go into another bank holiday weekend with a brand new craft show - "Art, Design and a Taste of Summer" - on offer for our visitors. The site looks fantastic, the line up of exhibitors is very strong and there is lots to see and do each day - add fine weather to this mix and we should have a very good weekend?

Fox have now moved off site after three weeks here filming scenes for "Gullivers Travels" and it is nice to have our car parks and courtyards back in our control and clear of film company clutter - that said, we enjoyed having them with us and they were highly professional at all times. Hopefully the film will be strong and good for Blenheim Palace when it launches in Summer 2010 - we will have to wait and see!

The sad news of the week was the cancellation of the planned "Festival for Heroes" outdoor concert which was planned to take place on Saturday 20 June 2009 to raise significant monies for the Royal British Legion. Despite herculean efforts from the organisers, the ticket sales were poor - no doubt reflecting the economic times that we are all trading in at present - and this has led them to take the painful decision to pull the plug. Very disappointing for all concerned but hopefully we may be able to resurrect this for 2010 - fingers crossed - as it would have done so much good in so many areas.

Works on the Blenheim Dam have started (more on that in future blogs) and Dom + Roger continue to push on with their punishing training schedule ahead of Saturday 6 June 2009 when they compete in the Blenheim Triathlon - huge respect and admiration - well done to both!

Have a great long relaxing sunny bank holiday weekend - and enjoy delivering your own version of gardening excellence!

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