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Chelsea Should Let its Visitors Judge the Show Gardens - Philip Voice

For the second year in a row the Chelsea Flower Show has finished with cloud hanging over it after a judging fiasco. Garden designer Christopher Bradley-Hole complained that his garden was much better than the Australian garden which won the top prize.

Bradley-Hole said that parts of the Fleming's Australian Garden were ugly with unsubtle planting. 'Comparing their garden with mine is comparing apples with pears.' Said Bradley-Hole. 'If that garden was better than the Telegraph garden, I'm a Dutchman, he added.

Bradley-Hole designed the Telegraph Garden this year and is quoted as saying 'the judges are not well enough qualified to decide the best garden. Now the RHS chairman of assessors, Andrew Wilson is resigning saying that the quality of feedback from the Chelsea show judges was unacceptable.

Wilson, who has been a show judge for the past 17 years was criticised for a lack of attention to detail and not best using the garden's position within the show ground. Wilson designed the Cloudy Bay-sponsored 'Fresh' garden.

Isn't this all getting a little too silly and out of hand? Chelsea is becoming more like the X Factor every year.

There's only one solution

If Chelsea is going to regain its credibility then it has to stop creating opportunities for error and change the voting system once and for all. The best judge is being overlooked every year...and that's the show's visitor.

In today's world there should be no place for a small elitist group of inflated egos walking around presiding over the fate of others. It is very rude of the RHS if it has never considered its visitor as good enough to express an opinion. I've worked for hundreds of talented and knowledgeable gardeners, many of them qualified in their own right, and they will know what they like and they should be able to say so.

Designing a garden isn't rocket science and I feel there's been this culture to mislead the public that only a so-called expert is blessed with all the tools to decide the best show garden. Let's face it the visitor to Chelsea is the potential client of each and every garden designer in the country and it should be those clients the show has to sell to.

I say give the people the vote and do away with this scrapping.


After starting my garden maintenance and landscaping business in 1984 and running it for 21 years I decided I needed a change of direction (probably a mid life crisis, no seriously! :-0) Together with my family, wife Donna, Son Henry and Daughter Fleur (not forgetting Hector the Black Labrador) I moved to France in search of an old farmhouse to renovate. In the interim period whilst waiting for the contract to go through I started writing a blog. Initially just to keep a diary for family and friends to keep up with our progress if they wished but then it occurred to me that there isn't a real time watcher of the landscape industry in the UK. I didn't want to waste my experience and experiences so I decided I could put all of this Juice to good use so I started Landscape Juice.

Source: Landscape Juice - Chelsea Should Let its Visitors Judge the Show Gardens - Philip Voice