14 August 2013
Rip-tide: the beautiful Chelsea 2012 bench is for sale
I started designing the Chelsea Flower Show garden I created for
Champagne Laurent-Perrier in 2012 soon after my first appearance at
the show in 2000. Over a period of about 10 years I had the
opportunity to observe gardens at the major flower shows, see
'trend' plants come and go, and watch the hard landscaping get
bigger and bolder. I knew I wanted to create a garden in which
plants formed the main structures of the design, complemented by
handcrafted paths, a sculpture and a beautiful bench for sitting to
enjoy the views. I look back with enormous pride at the garden we
created last year - visitors loved it and even now I sometimes find
myself back there, sitting on the bench and enjoying the still
evening air as the sun sets over the showground. It was a wonderful
week for all involved.
Alison Crowther's work first came to my attention in 2001 when she worked with one of my designers on a garden at Chelsea. Since then I have bought pieces for my own gardens and have recommended her work to a huge number of clients and friends. Her knowledge and appreciation of oak is so obvious in her work - her organic sculptures and benches are hand-carved using the naturally occurring lines and grooves in the individual pieces of wood she uses. You can see Alison at work on the piece in this short film we made about the Chelsea garden.
So it seemed natural to commission Alison to carve the bench for the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden in 2012. I wanted the garden to have a real artisan, hand-made feel - something that resonated with the 200-year-old champagne house. Rip-tide sat perfectly on the terrace of the garden, enjoyed by the hundreds of clients entertained on the garden and the many thousands of visitors we spoke to during the week. You can watch the videos we made of our time at Chelsea (including footage of Alison carving the bench) here.
Rip-tide is now for sale and if I didn't already have a beautiful bench of Alison's sitting outside my kitchen window, I would be first in line for this one! Visit her new website for more of her work and get in touch if you are interested in owning Rip-tide.