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A dream fulfilled: my sculpture journey to the RHS Chelsea flower show

Growing up in New Zealand, I had always heard about the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. It was a highlight of the gardening calendar year, and my mother would eagerly watch it on TV or read about it in women's magazines.

For years, I had contemplated the idea of participating in the Chelsea Flower Show. However, the sheer amount of information and costs involved seemed overwhelming. Time passed, and I realized that if I didn't seize the opportunity now, I might never do it. I knew I had to overcome my excuses and make it happen.

With my mother's recent passing, the Chelsea Flower Show took on an even deeper meaning for me. It became a personal tribute to her and her love for gardening. So, I decided to take the plunge and turn my dream into reality.

Finding the necessary support was crucial in making my dream a reality. Through social media, I connected with a talented landscaper and garden designer who understood my vision of incorporating moving water and reclaimed timbers, all while staying within my budget. It was a big ask, but they delivered beyond my expectations.

As a first-time participant, there were many unknowns. I was surprised to discover that the site was a flat field, as I had envisioned extensive landscaping and water features. This realisation forced me to rein in my grand ideas and work within the limitations of the space.

Over time, I created a new collection of sculptures with botanical names that evoked different emotions and moods. Each piece was carefully designed to complement the space and create a captivating experience for visitors. It was a process of reinventing my ideas and embracing the limitations that came with the chosen location.

Despite the challenges, everything came together beautifully. There were moments when I questioned whether it would all work out, but I held my nerve and persevered. It was astonishing to see how much we could fit into a small area of about 25 square metres.

The 'Essence of Life' garden was conceived as a labour of love, born from a profound appreciation for the beauty and serenity found within nature. We all poured our heart and soul into crafting a space that would reflect the essence of life itself - a harmonious blend of artistry, tranquility, and botanical splendour. Countless hours were dedicated to meticulously planning and designing every aspect of the garden, ensuring that it would stand out amongst its peers.

All the hard work paid off, as we celebrated the extraordinary achievement of being awarded five gold stars to the 'Essence of Life' garden, making it the sole recipient of this prestigious accolade on its debut year.

Participating in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was an addictive experience. The vibrant energy surrounding the event is incomparable. It brings together the best of the best in horticulture and lifestyle, showcasing incredible talent and innovation. The show is a celebration of all things beautiful and inspiring.

Now, I am already preparing for the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show. The lure of this extraordinary event keeps pulling me back, urging me to push my boundaries and create something truly remarkable. I cannot wait to embark on this journey once again, armed with newfound knowledge and an unyielding passion for gardening.

Stay tuned for what promises to be another unforgettable chapter in my Chelsea Flower Show adventure.

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