Arne's journal

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.

A busy start to the year

As the unpredictable Spring weather continues, I am reminded of our very wet build up to the Chelsea Flower Show last year. The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden was undoubtedly the highlight of our year and so it is with some nostalgia that I look back. Our filmmaker James is at the show for Laurent-Perrier again this year but to round up our time there he has put together a final edit of the footage we were fortunate enough to be able to shoot.

We wish all the team at Laurent-Perrier, Crocus and Ulf Nordfjell all the very best for their Chelsea 2013 garden, and hope the sun finally shines on SW3 as it did for us last year.

In celebration of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show always seems to present gardeners, young and old, with a little slice of horticultural magic at a time of year when inspiration is required in the face of inclement weather. This year was no exception, and the rain we experienced during April and the first half of May was swept away to reveal stunning Spring skies and warm, tropical sunshine. 


Visitors to the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden were overwhelmingly supportive and complementary of the design. Everyone seemed to love the planting - in particular the number of roses we used in the garden, and the way in which they were trained. As I stood talking to visitors about the garden, and handing out planting leaflets, I found myself explaining the technique of weaving pliable hazel canes into domes again, and again. 


I was truly touched by all the comments we received. It was such an affirmation that the design I felt would evoke memories of childhood gardens, and romantic, hazy summer days, really did achieve the reaction I had hoped for. And I have made such lovely friends - in the brilliant team at Crocus and the fabulous family firm of Champagne Laurent-Perrier.


It felt rather melancholy to be saying goodbye to the garden on Saturday. Having spent the best part of a month building and enjoying it, the garden felt like one of my own. The plants were growing - particularly the roses - and I found myself pruning and maintaining the borders as I would at home. So to celebrate its success and popularity, enjoy the short film which James Aiken has put together for us in celebration of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden.

An RHS Gold Medal

David Hesketh MW, the garden team and I waited patiently on Tuesday morning for the cavalry of BBC reporters, cameras and cables to make their way to our garden. It seemed their route around the showground was not at all planned as they weaved their way from one side to the next, but we were thrilled to receive our Gold Medal when it finally arrived.


The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden, although constructed in 17 days, has been in the making for over 10 years! I started thinking about it not long after my first Chelsea appearance in 2000, and have been adding to and honing the design ever since. I first met David at the end of 2010 after which preparations for this garden really started to take shape. I feel we have built a really strong relationship over that time and I am sure it will continue to thrive long after the curtain is drawn on this fleeting garden event. 


So it is with great pride that David and I accepted our medal on Tuesday morning. The early morning chill soon lifted with temperatures soaring to 27 degrees by mid-afternoon. And what a reception the garden has received by visitors to the show. I have been so touched by the lovely comments about the garden's planting scheme, its colours and scents, and it is the reaction of visitors which has made the unveiling of this anniversary garden so special for me. 


Thank you to all who have been involved - you know who you are! And here's to the glorious weather continuing throughout the week. 


Champagne Laurent-Perrier


Arne Maynard and David Hesketh MW with the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden RHS Gold MedalBBC cameras capture the moment Arne is presented with his Gold Medal

The making of a garden: Part III

In the third in our series of short films we give you a glimpse into the build and planting of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. James Aiken has once again shot a beautifully executed film, which leads us elegantly into show week.