The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 featured five new Show Gardens – The Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 2. Each of the Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens depicts one of the five senses and is named after a Radio 2 presenter. I met up with Garden designer Matt Keightley to learn more about the textural garden he designed for Jeremy Vine.
Pumpkin Beth: Hello Matt, I’d love to know more about your Radio 2 Feel Good Garden?
Matt Keightley: Yes, do you know which one it is? The Jeremy Vine Garden. I don’t know whether you know, but we got told about them seven to eight weeks before we needed to be on-site! So we had a very short period of time to design, develop and prep for it. But it was quite a nice way around to do it, because often your first idea’s the best, so to do it kind of instinctively and not have a lot of time to reflect and look back – so the design experience was nice.
PB: Did you have three weeks the same as everybody else to build your garden?
MK: Yes, we did – and because they’re quite small gardens, it made it feel much more systematic, relaxed, and fun!
PB: If you had to produce your design for the garden quickly, presumably you weren’t over-ambitious on the complexity required for the build, with crazy materials etc?
MK: Yes, that’s right.
PB: Did you choose which celebrity to design the garden for?
MK: No, it was more about the senses – the celebrity or the presenter is really just the marketing tool for the garden.
PB: That’s lucky, as Jeremy told me that he only planted one plant in the garden!
MK: <laughs> Yes, he did, that’s true. He came in on Friday and did that.
PB: Did all of the celebrities have to plant something so they’d been involved?
MK: No, I think it was at their discretion – so Jo Whiley and Jo Malone for example spent a lot of time down here, they must have been in here three or four times. The TV coverage was a true reflection of that.
PB: What was the most complex aspect of your garden?
MK: The water wall. That was quite a tricky one, because it’s cut from one piece of stone, and there’s 21 facets on it with 25mm reliefs – it’s quite an engineering feat to get it to work!
PB: That does indeed sound complex!
Other articles that may interest you………
To find out about the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, please click here.
To read my interview with Chris Beardshaw and learn more about the Morgan Stanley Garden he designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, please click here.