Arne's journal

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. 

The making of a garden: Part II

We are well into the planting of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden now. The design I have created for Laurent-Perrier is really coming together and I am so excited to finally see the garden in its entirety. 


To celebrate Champagne Laurent-Perrier's bicentenary, and to mark their 18th Chelsea Flower Show, we have worked with filmmaker James Aiken to produce a series of beautiful, elegant films which really reflect the essence of the garden. 


Progress despite the rain

The Crocus team continue to make good progress on the build of the Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden. If Mark and his team are at all worried about the weather, they are doing a fabulous job of hiding it. We are all hoping for respite from the rain soon though - our waterproofs need a chance to dry out!


The French limestone wall is now complete and the pleached copper beech trees are being carefully planted correct to the millimetre positions that we planned off-site. The trees really give a fantastic scale to the garden and the rare evening sun last night cast wonderful shadows through their canopy onto the wall. The copper foliage is gently unfurling as each day we get closer to the show. The pleached trees give a fantastic counter balance to the pear tree and really draw you into the garden.


The small Buxus plants we have planted along the wall add a splash of fresh green with their new flush of foliage and are like individual characters on their crooked stems.