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27 Jun 2017

A week in the life of a Best in Show garden designer

BBC Gardeners' World Live & Claudia de Yong

Wyevale Garden Centres logoThe Garden Journey is over, and what a journey it's been! We've been following Claudia de Yong as she's brought the Wyevale Garden Centres' Show Garden 'Romance in the Ruins' to life at BBC Gardeners' World Live. 

And now with 'Best In Show' accolade firmly under their belt, it's time for a little bit of R&R before on to the next big thing.

But before that can happen, we need to lowdown of what it's like to be behind the Best In Show garden at BBC Gardeners' World Live. So, for the final time, we hand over to the wonderful Claudia de Yong...

Wyevale Garden Centres Romance in the Ruins, build up and with Mark Lane filming for BBC Two's Gardeners' World

Two weeks of build are now well and truly over and we are all shattered but very excited as the show is about to open to the public. The judging has taken and all the designers, landscapers and sponsors are on tender hooks during Press Day awaiting to hear what medals we have been awarded.

final stages of build for the Romance in the Ruins Show Garden

The lashing rain and winds has turned into the most incredible sweltering heat, and the medals are announced on the evening on June 14th. I am delighted to say we won Gold and Best Show Garden! What an amazing result and I feel incredibly proud of everyone involved.

Claudia de Yong receives the Best in Show Award for her garden for Wyevale Garden Centres

After the ceremony, I was asked to be on standby for the cameras and radio interviews and I was really nervous about the Friday night’s episode of Gardener’s World which featured my short piece with Frances Tophill at Beeston castle and with Mark Lane on the show garden. 

the pergola and romantic setting of the Wyevale Garden Centres Show Garden

I hid behind the sofa when it came on TV - I am assured it was good but I couldn't look!

Claudia de Yong shows James Alexander Sinclair and Matt Biggs the Wyevale Garden Centre Show Garden

The show has now opened and every morning before the doors open, James Alexander-Sinclair and Mathew Biggs take VIP tours of the gardens, so I come in early to tell everyone the story behind the garden and answer any questions, which I love doing. Once the doors are open at 9am, we are overwhelmed by the visitors, all waiting in orderly fashion to take a stroll through the garden!

Visitors enjoy the Wyevale Garden Centre show garden ' Romance in the Ruins'

The response to the garden has been amazing with questions about the type of roses used, the amazing long and colourful wildflower turf and the lovely Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’. I am so pleased that everyone loved the feel of the garden and that it has fulfilled the brief of being a romantic space.

Visitors exploring the Wyevale Garden Centres Show Garden 'Romance in the Ruins'

I cannot believe how hot the weather has suddenly become! Everyone is sweltering but the show is amazing and on the last day, I finally get a chance to walk round the show for a bit to see what else has been going on ! There are amazing show gardens, APL Avenue Gardens, BBC Gardeners' World Anniversary Gardens, plant nurseries in the Floral Marquee and outdoors, planted borders, children’s wheelbarrow entries and the enormous indoor air conditioned food and garden halls. Wow!

Visitors exploring the Wyevale Garden Centres Show Garden 'Romance in the Ruins'

It has been so amazing meeting everyone who has come to the show and also famous celebrities like Monty Don and David Stevens. 

Best in Show - Wyevale Garden Centres at BBC Gardeners' World Live

But all good things have to come to an end and, at 4pm the announcement is made for plant sell off. At the ‘Romance in the Ruins’ garden, Wyevale Garden Centres give all the money raised in the sell off to Marie Curie Cancer Charity and although I am so sad to see the plants disappear after all the hard work, I am delighted to know the money is going to such a good cause. 

taking down the Wyevale Garden Centres Show Garden after a fantastic four days, 15-18 June 2017

After three long weeks the Romance in the Ruins becomes 'The Ruin' at the NEC. Thank you for sharing my garden journey.

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