Striking Gold at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

10 July 2013

There was golden glory all around this week as we joined multi award-winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw to finally unveil our conceptual show garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Fresh from clinching both gold and the people’s choice award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it seems our esteemed friend and colleague is hitting all the right notes with his visionary installations at present, as the judges were left equally impressed by the McCarthy & Stone Garden – awarding us the top medal classification for our green-fingered celebration of age.

And the timing of the judges couldn’t have been better. Unassumingly joining a host of celebrities and gardening media during a press event in the heart of the garden, the chosen judge presented the accolade to Chris as he chatted about the planting arrangements to former Olympic Champion, Dame Mary Peters DBE LL. Beaming as brightly as the mid-afternoon sun which was shining down on the proceedings, our golden duo were elated as they revealed the garden’s success to the waiting crowd. We couldn’t have been more thrilled.

But of course, this garden was very much a team effort, so it was great to be able to revel in its success with a number of other people who had given so much of their time to helping us make it extra special, and who had also made the trek to the glorious Surrey showground to help us launch it in style.

These special people included one of our homeowners Elma Lumbard, who was the first contributor to the series of specially recorded audio stories that we had collated to help visitors engage with the wisdom of older generations. And then of course there was John Ellis, former guitarist with The Stranglers, who made his own unique mark on the garden by writing a brand new acoustic song, inspired by the recorded memories left by the likes of Elma, Dame Mary, and a host of other participants.

Together we had created something quite extraordinary; something the judges could really relate to. By winning the gold, it very much felt as though we may have achieved what we set out to do when we decided to create this garden – encourage people to think about the ageing process in a different light, and start embracing the idea of a enjoying a greater life in later life.

We extend our gratitude to everyone who contributed their time, thoughts and ideas along the way, and who helped us to make this project such a success. From Chris’ commitment to stimulating discussion around the perceived boundaries faced by older generations, through John’s lyrical interpretation of the beauty, experience and grace that can blossom in later life, and to the many people who supplied their memories for our audio bank – thank you one and all. It may be the McCarthy & Stone Garden that now glistens with a golden glow, but it is you that are the real champions, and for that we salute you.

For updates from the show follow McCarthy & Stone on Facebook @MccarthyStone and on Twitter #RHSHampton.

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