Beardshaw queries show judges

TV garden designer takes judging system to task on radio show.

Chris Beardshaw has had a dig at Chelsea flower show judges after they awarded his garden a silver-gilt medal instead of a gold. The star TV garden designer let rip on Gardeners’ Question Time while discussing his show garden — based on the arts-and-crafts grounds at Hidcote Manor. “When you go to somewhere like Chelsea, you know that the strangest things can happen,” Beardshaw said. “And people just couldn’t believe we had a garden that everybody fell in love with. “We met the brief, and Prince Charles said it was better than Hidcote. Unfortunately, there were one or two judges who must have gone to a different Hidcote.” Beardshaw’s garden had variegated plants, which Hidcote did not, and his hedges were too high, according to the judges. “Everyone who’s been to Hidcote knows it has high hedges,” said Beardshaw, who added that Hidcote in Warwickshire was about to use variegated stock. But Chelsea organiser Bob Sweet said the judges’ decision was backed at a “moderation meeting”. “The judges had technical queries about the client’s brief and consequently decided to award a silver-gilt medal.” Frances Toase, a practice assistant for Beardshaw, said: “The garden won the People’s Award and that’s what really counts because that’s the public voting. “But we want to draw a line under this, and don’t want it to run and run and reflect badly. It’s not sour grapes, we have to take it on the chin and move on.” But Beardshaw praised his rhizomatous tall fesue supplier, Inturf, for the garden’s sward. Over 1,000 people trampled over the grass on gala night but it withstood the onslaught.

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