Wes Fleming talks up RHS Chelsea chances

Australian garden designer, Wes Fleming, has vowed to take the gardening Ashes from England in revenge for our cricketers thrashing the Aussies down under last winter.

Australian garden designer, Wes Flemming - image: HW
Australian garden designer, Wes Flemming - image: HW
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden designer has switched to using English-style gardening in order to beat our designers at their own game at the world’s most famous gardening show, which starts next week at the Royal Hospital, London.

Fleming said of his half million dollar garden:

"This year in our seventh Chelsea we’re taking a big risk and doing a more plant-focused garden. It’s a hell of a risk because we’re Australian and we’re doing what is deemed an English-style garden and that’s not something we usually do. If we could pull it off and win best in show with this English style it would be as good as payback for the Poms winning the Ashes with Australian-style cricket."

England used some in your face style Australian cricket to beat to old enemy 3-1 in the winter series down under to retain the Ashes.

Fleming added:

"The reason behind doing an English style is we are trying for that elusive best in show. I desperately want to win it. And of course using a style more familiar to the English judges will help you win. We have shown typical Australian gardens in the past with lots of hard landscapes and pools but we felt it would be hard for the judges because there was not enough emphasis on the English plant material style."

The Aussie has a hard task ahead of him though, because designer Cleve West’s daily Telegraph garden is bookies favourite at the show, where results will be announced on 24 May. Fleming is a lowly 14/1 in the betting.

Fleming said the Trailfinders Australian Garden was a tribute to Sir Joseph Banks who helped set up Kew gardens and discovered more than 80 new plants when voyaging with Captain Cook on the Endeavour from 1768-1771.

The garden uses eight plants from Banks’ Floralegium, which consists of 743 plants collected by Sir Joseph Banks in Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java on Captain James Cook’s first voyage round the world. They include Plants include gunnera, berberis, geranium, miscanthus, pratia, libertia and pterocarya, all brought back to the UK by Banks.

Plants are sourced from UK growers Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Majestic Trees, Tendercare and Hillier.

Chelsea Flower Show manager Alex Denman said:

"They've got a chance of winning. What I love about Fleming's garden is they have totally changed what you understand them to do which is refreshing for the show. It is a massively planted garden, which has provided its own challenges because they have two days less build time because of the Great Pavilion going in. I think it is a lovely concept of Sir Joseph Banks and the Endeavour.

"He's seen as a godfather to Australians. He came back from Australia and told the Government they should use it as a penal colony. We're embarrassed about that but they see him as a godfather. For us at the RHS it's a wonderfully planted garden, which is a brilliant thing."

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