Arne's journal

Back to Peter Beales

The roses we have selected for the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2012 are flourishing in the good hands of the team at Peter Beales Roses in Norfolk. During a trip to the nursery last Wednesday it was a hugely reassuring sight to see plenty of healthy growth on the plants.

Each of the 300 roses for the show had flower buds and fresh foliage.  It was truly impressive to see so many roses with such wonderful lush leaves in perfect condition.  Some of the climbers had put on almost one metre of growth since we last visited in February.  We are hoping to use the climber Rosa 'Astra Desmond' against the boundary wall, quite different to the darker leaves of some of the shrub roses.

The cool weather means that some heat may have to be introduced into the glasshouses within the next week to bring development on. The team are well practiced at ensuring that plants are in perfect shape for the start of Chelsea week. Our roses will be delivered to the show ground in just two and a half weeks' time and we need the buds ready to open and only just beginning to open by then.  We are feeling positive!


Peter Beales Roses

Champagne Laurent-Perrier

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea roses under glassrose budRachel checking the climbing rosesRosa 'Astra Desmond'Opening rose bud

An Italian morning at Crocus

On Tuesday we went to visit the plants for the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden at Crocus and meet with Margherita Lombardi from Italian magazine Gardenia who will be covering the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in her May issue.

It was an early start, but well worth it as Clive Nichols took some fantastic photographs for the feature of the plants full of fresh growth and sparkling in the early morning sunlight. Of course you'll have to wait for Gardenia to see these - the shots here were taken by Britt, our own in-house photographer!

Many of the plants have now been moved outside but some remained in the tunnels to protect them from the impending snow! The weather is keeping everyone on their toes at the moment but all the plants seem to be doing well and Karen is confident that we will have some of all the plants we want flowering to perfection for the show - we now just have to keep our fingers crossed!

The 'Chelsea Pen' at Crocus where all the plants are being storedSome of the Chelsea plants sparkling in the early morning lightOne of the verbascums I am hoping to use in the gardenRachel is dwarfed by the ancient pearClive directing Arne for the Gardenia shootAn early morning chat at Crocus

A visit to see the trees

Last Wednesday Rachel and I had a day return trip to Holland and Belgium.  Our first stop was the tree nursery where I have selected a beautiful, ancient pear tree for the garden I have designed for Laurent-Perrier at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012.  The tree will be positioned in the corner of the garden to anchor the space to its surroundings and add balance to the large pieces of topiary and the Chelsea Hospital plane trees.


We wanted to see the pear tree again and crucially check that it will fit on a lorry that is the right width to fit through the Bull Ring gates at the Chelsea Hospital showground.  The nursery had been concerned that it would require a 3m wide lorry.  However, much to our relief, the magnificent specimen is going to require very little pruning to reach its destination in the show garden. 


With that resolved we went on to another specialist nursery across the border in Belgium.  Here we made our final selection of topiary for the garden.  Three majestic pieces of Buxus sempervirens 'Rotundifolia' have been clipped with care over the last 100 years to reach their statuesque sizes.   To go with these we choose some pieces of smaller Buxus on legs, which will be perfect along the planting bed to the side of the path.


Having achieved our aims for the day we came home excited about how they are going to look within the garden. To help with their precise positioning and to check the balance of the garden, we are having a scale model of the garden built complete with to-scale trees and plant elements.

the ancient pear we will be bringing to Chelseaone of the topiary we have selected for Chelsea

A visit to Peter Beales roses

We had a very inspiring day at Peter Beales Roses back in early February, where we met with the talented plantsmen Ian Limmer who is the Manager of the nursery and Michael who is a specialist grower from a long line of nurserymen.  They are using their expert knowledge to tenderly grow our roses for Chelsea. A large part of Michael's job is to look after our roses and the roses for the Peter Beales exhibit for Chelsea.  From now on he will breath, sleep and dream Chelsea roses!  

The roses are a major part of the planting scheme for the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden.  We have full trust and confidence that Ian and Michael can produce the perfect blooms and buds for our garden.  We will, however, have to hope that the weather is kind to us during the build of the garden.  We don't want rain otherwise these perfect blooms could be in trouble!   

Whilst at the nursery we saw all our roses covered in snow, looking a long way from their full glory. However, we were able to work out how we are going to arrange the roses around the hazel domes within the garden to create the effect that we want.  Some of the roses are now being trained in a gentle fan shape to enable us to tie them into the domes.  It feels really exciting and we can now envisage how they are going to look within the garden. 


Peter Beales Roses

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Rose hips in snowPots of roses in the snowArne with the team at Peter Beales checking the plantsSnow covered roses at Peter Beales

Setting out at Crocus

We recently had one of our monthly meetings at Crocus to discuss the construction of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden for the Chelsea Flower Show 2012 and check all of the plants, which are growing on at the Crocus nursery.  We were also able to walk through our garden for the first time as it was set out on the ground at Crocus, using wooden pegs and string.  This was enormously useful to get a feel for the scale of the garden I have designed.   We were able to walk around the area and see how it all works and decide on any adjustments which might be needed.  We made some minor changes to give a more generous feeling of space. 

The path felt too narrow, particularly when I envisaged the pleached copper beech trees linign each side of the avenue, so we have widened the path slightly.  Now hopefully the balance is just right. 

It was most exciting seeing all of the plants potted up and getting a sense of what their scale and texture will be like from those promising buds.  The plants are being beautifully cared for by Karen the nursery manager at Crocus and her team.  Some are showing new growth but many are still dormant.  Rather like pots of paint with the labels hidden, full of promise and one can only imagine the wonderful colours and texture which lies below.  It fills me with huge excitement and anticipation for May.



RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012


Arne with Mark Fane at CrocusArne and Rachel with the team at CrocusWooden posts and string used for setting out the gardenJohnny and the team setting out the garden at Crocus