Arne's journal

The making of a garden: the first Laurent-Perrier film

To mark the bicentenary of one of the world's leading champagne brands, and to chart the design and build of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012, we are working with filmmaker James Aiken to bring you a flavour of the expertise, dedication and passion of Champagne Laurent-Perrier.


This is the first in a series of three films which will be released in the final weeks of the Chelsea Flower Show garden build. We hope you enjoy the rare glimpses of the beautiful Chateâu de Louvois and the cellars and production centre at Tours-sur-Marne.


A special thank you to David Hesketh MW, Managing Director of Champagne Laurent-Perrier UK, who has made the project possible, Anne-Laure Domenichini of Laurent-Perrier for her beautiful French voice-over, and of course to Alexandra and Stéphanie de Nonancourt for their hospitality and energy for the garden.


Champagne Laurent-Perrier

Our Bank Holiday Pear Tree

Before most people were awake on the Bank Holiday weekend the ancient pear tree, which forms the corner-stone of my design for the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden, started its slow journey to the Royal Hospital showground, resplendent in its scaffold structure and tarpaulin cover.


The lorry made steady progress towards the Chelsea Flower Show site and arrived at about 7am on 5 May. The protective structure ensured there was no wind damage to the leaves and the pear tree arrived safely. Following its careful unload from the lorry, the special forklift, designed to handle such a heavy load, inched the tree down Main Avenue into its final planting position on the garden. The team from Crocus were brilliant - they really understood the importance of respect for such an ancient and beautiful tree.


It looks fantastic and just as we imagined.


Champagne Laurent-Perrier


RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea build begins

The build for our Chelsea Flower Show garden for Champagne Laurent-Perrier has begun. 


The first task on site was to get rid of the standing water, although the whole site is saturated and very quickly turning to mud! Good progress has been made on the wall and the stone mason arrives today to start putting the facing stone onto the wall. 


It's exciting to be at this stage and to see all the activity on site at last.  Spirits are high despite the rain - there's a great feeling of camaraderie on site. We will regularly be posting pictures here so do follow our progress.


RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Champagne Laurent-Perrier

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 unseasonal blizzard in Derbyshire

Joel and I spent an enjoyable, if a little chilly, day at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire last week. We left relative balmy sunshine in London but as we reached Derbyshire we were hit with a blizzard. April weather taken to extremes!

We were visiting the Hall to plan for the next stage of planting in our design - after working with Lord Edward Manners on his private garden on the estate, we have now moved on to the public access terraced gardens around the main Hall. The photographs show the fountain terrace which was planted last year with topiary and an underplanting of a wild flower mead. The borders on the terrace are filled with tulips (just coming into flower), super poppies and roses, which of course Haddon is renowned for but which we have edited and added to to create a tighter colour palette. I am anxious to see the results in May and June.

The next area to plant will be the Bowling Green terrace, which is positioned above the Fountain Terrace. It will consist mainly of plants used for dying such as flag iris, dahlias, Alchemilla mollis and Sanguisorba. We are also hoping to replant the knot garden with a lattice of Santolina and Teucrium.