Arne's journal

The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden

Since the turn of the New Year, the design studio has been energised with a renewed sense of expectation - and a certain amount of trepidation! With the Chelsea Flower Show on-site build only 16 weeks away we are ensuring we have all the materials, plants and support we need. I thought therefore that it was about time I share the design on the website - and we will be writing more regularly over the coming weeks about our preparations.


The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden is a timeless, ornamental 'gardener's garden'. All elements of the garden will be carefully handcrafted, complemented by a soft planting scheme to provide elegant structure. The design was inspired by Laurent-Perrier's 200-year heritage of time-honoured methods and reputation for creating pioneering champagnes. It showcases exacting attention to detail, combining traditional and contemporary elements through both the planting and landscaping.


The planting itself creates the structure of the garden. I have used architectural pleached copper beech trees to give height and a sense of enclosure, which will turn golden through winter months. Topiary arrangements have been formed to add character and shape to the planting and an antique pear tree provides a key focal point at the front corner. Flowing water will outline the garden adding movement and a cool elegance.


This garden is not intended to baffle visitors to the show - instead it has been designed as a 'real' garden, which will appeal to any visitor with a love of plants and a keen eye for plant combinations. It is relaxed enough to be able to gather a bunch of flowers for the house, or to entertain friends on the central terrace. I will be available throughout the week to answer questions about the plants and I hope that visitors will be inspired to try a few of the combinations in their own borders at home.

The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary GardenThe Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary GardenThe Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden

Chelsea calling

I am really very excited to have been announced by Laurent-Perrier as their designer for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012, the bicentenary year of the iconic champagne house. Having thought about a design for the show for several years now I am very pleased to have this opportunity to work alongside such a brand. I spent a few days at the show this May to start to choose plants for my design. I always enjoy Chelsea, particularly the time I spend wandering round the floral marquee. I never tire of it. The nursery displays are what make Chelsea so special.


Also exciting of course was seeing this year's show gardens. Cleve West's garden for the Telegraph was indeed beautiful as was Luciano's for Laurent-Perrier. My congratulations go to both of them for their gold medals.


I always find inspiration from the show and this year was no exception. I thought the planting scheme on Anne Marie Powell's garden for the British Heart Foundation was particularly lovely. Red is very hard to use in a colour scheme but its use in this garden, cooled considerably by the green palette of plants, was incredibly inspiring. I certainly hope to borrow and reinterpret ideas from this garden.


When visiting any show or nursery I can't help but spot plants I would like to introduce to my own garden. Rosa 'Natasha Richardson', introduced by Harkness Roses, is a beautiful clear pale pink scented rose and Avon Bulbs showed an amazing new crushed mulberry coloured opium poppy, Papaver somniferum 'Chartreuse', both of which I have ordered for Allt-y-bela.