Remember several years ago Diarmuids balls caused a bit of a stir at the Chelsea flower show? It was 2004 and the designer used brightly coloured, enamel steel balls on sticks to bring colour, structure, movement and height to his garden. With these balls he covered every essential element of design needed to create a well balanced garden and then took it further. He added the element of fun to his design.
(image from The Telegraph)
Many of the ‘top’ designers play it safe rolling out similar designs year after year. Structural pavilions using rectangular shapes framed with rows of pleached limes. Smooth parallel paving, deceptively ‘floating’ on still water, guaranteed to get them a gold. But is it fun? Not really.
I heard Diarmuid on radio 2 the other day and the question was put to him. Are these show gardens really practical for the average house holder considering the amount of money spent on them or are they just for show? And I agree with the response that these gardens inspire and yes, visitors can take ideas home with them. Planting combinations for example, can be re-created in our own gardens and we can be confident they will look fantastic.
Yet Diarmuid’s gardens offer something different. They are works of art bursting with creativity, jaw droppingly different. Steel balls, vertical gardens, flying gardens. These cannot be re-created in our gardens, they are there to be looked at, talked about, reacted to. They have the vital element. Fun, fun, fun.
And so to my fruit garden. I could have bought the garden products available for protecting ones cherished red currants, white currants and gooseberries from the birds. These being fruit cages that make the garden look like a weird, forgotten Alcatraz, or plastic gizmos, grown up meccano for gardeners, easily slotting together for perfect protection. Instead I have gone for the home-made home look. Kirsty Allsopp would be proud. Netting draped seductively (think Nigella Lawson!) over the bushes, woven onto garden canes and secured with plastic balls. At last the perfect solution as to what to do with the garden toys my little broccoli’s no longer play with.