Judgement Day

Press Day at Chelsea. A day of celebrity spotting, of seeing and being seen and talking to people. It’s also the day of judgement. The day to find out how the judges will rate all the months of hard work and planning. Judges arrive, tick boxes and murmur, heads nod sagely and ideas discussed, then nothing until Tuesday morning when you arrive on the stage to find how you’ve fared.  We are delighted to discover we have won a Silver Medal which is wonderful recognition for all the hard work everybody has put in.  Given the brutalist nature of the stand it’s  good to get recognised and a medal from RHS Chelsea Flower Show is worth shouting about


This is it – Showtime

After months of planning the big day is finally here. Flowers from all round the world together with the world’s horticultural and celebrity press all in a big tent in Chelsea for the start of Summer 2014.  It’s time to relax and enjoy the week without worrying too much about whether the begonias will wilt in the heat, do a bit of celebrity spotting and try to get the stand and us a bit of publicity. There are always lots of interesting people to talk to, most of whom have a huge knowledge and love of plants and  gardens and ideas to be developed. Keep an eye out for us on the TV over the next few days  – We’re in the Grand Pavilion stand GPD6

Our aim is to give an idea of how green walls can be used to define spaces rather that just decorate them and in the process give opportunities for people to come into closer contact with plants and as a result all live happier and healthier lives.

Greenwalls – the key to healthy living …..

Thursday 15 5 2014 2



Less than a week to go…..

Wednesday 14th May. Less than a week to go now. We’ve been on site in the Grand Pavilion since Monday and pleased to be able to get on with actually doing something after months and months of talking and planning. So far so good …All the planning seems to have paid off with the dynamic duo Stuart Cochran and Don Howard  now taking charge of the construction on site ably assisted by Neil and Bob. It’s good to be on site having jumped through all the access  hoops and successfully straddled the testing 400m style permit hurdles. Let the show begin..



Having seen the metal work used to provide the frame all fears of it collapsing or falling over  have been laid to rest and as a bonus we will be able to use it at the nursery to boost our green wall growing capabilities. It also looks much smaller in the Pavilion  but will look stunning once the planting is added on Thursday. Next big day Thursday… Will we manage to successfully transport and put up the fragile Begonias without damaging any of them? Next update later in the week once the plants have arrived.


3 Weeks to go….

Just 3 weeks to go until the show opens for press day and 2 weeks before we start working on site. Here’s a short video showing our glorious begonias in all their beauty.  Begonias looking good for Chelsea in 3 weeks time

As with all good military exercises this is proceeding like a well oiled machine. Flyers are ready, badges ordered, chairs selected, stand manning arranged and tickets sent out. Look out for our eshot next week 6th May  giving details of a great competition to win a pair of tickets to see the show or visit our website Competition details

Gradually the huge to do list is reducing with more of the emphasis now being on the practical side of building the stand rather than the theoretical design and organisational side.

Our press pack designed to entice the world’s media to make a beeline to our stand ..

GREEN ARCHITECTURE:‘The Secret Pleasure Garden’

2014 Concept design

2014 Concept design

Enterprise Plants and Artillery Architecture and Interior Design are asking the question;

‘How can architecture and horticulture work together to improve our living and working environments?’

The concept of a ‘Pleasure Garden’ dates back to the middle ages. All gardens express the personality of those who create them and in turn contribute to the long history of garden culture. Gardens stimulate sensations, whether dramatic, sensory or experiential.

Time travel through garden history shows how gardens are boldly, creatively and culturally envisioned and cultivated. The gardens bring great joy, relaxation and delight to the senses and shared collective experiences.

With garden sensations and experiences in mind, and with the trend to integrate nature into buildings and development strategies, the intention of ‘The Secret Pleasure Garden’ is to surprise and delight visitors while opening a debate and discussion about the possibilities of ‘Green Architecture’. The garden utilises a unique green wall system creating two L shaped modular components that are aligned to create a hidden or secret space between the two walls.

The flora is reflected and distributed through the parallel mirrors in the centre of the structure to create playful, distorted views and images. This mirrored idea developed from the concept of “making strange” – an idea of de-familiarisation, or estrangement, that originated in Tolstoy’s literary theory but has since migrated to art and architecture. Key to this concept is the notion that deformation of the familiar has the power to jolt one into a state of heightened awareness. The vistas, reflections and images are intended to engage. Making the ordinary, extraordinary.

‘The Secret Pleasure Garden’ contains four varieties of Begonia rex: Begonia Etna, Begonia Fedor, Begonia Rumba, Begonia Salsa. The varieties have been specially selected to grow in green walls in conjunction with Begonia specialist Hoefnagels and wall manufacturer Cultilene. Planted to highlight dark and light and contrast inside and out, ‘The Secret Pleasure Garden’ is designed to change perspectives and make us think about the way we see our environment.

Green Walls have become an integral part of city landscapes and are increasingly appearing as valuable additions to interior spaces. The benefits interior planting offers building users has been widely documented. Research indicates that green walls can help to detoxify a building’s interior. The mass of vegetation in a wall absorbs much of the toxicity released into interiors from building materials, paints and finishes, and machinery chemicals. Plants oxygenate the air and hundreds of plants working in a green wall have a marked positive effect on the internal environment.

We all appreciate the joys of nature, whether on a window sill or in parks and gardens. People directly benefit from access to nature; it affects our senses and our well-being. The instinct to nurture plants lies at the root of the hypothesis of Biophilia, a theory put forward by Edward O Wilson, the American biologist. His theory widely spans the natural world and he explains it as “the urge to affiliate”

Looking to the future Enterprise Plants and Artillery Architecture and Interior Design are aware that horticulture needs to become an integral part of space planning and building structures to ensure both better working environments and greener cities.


Chelsea Mastermind Tony Muldoon


Tony enjoying the ambience









Begonia Rumba Begonia Etna Begonia Fedor Begonia Salsa

Just 6 weeks to go


So to catch up on the story so far….

Last year “Chelsea Flower Show – Brilliant idea lets do something spectacular and make a real statement!” In the words of the late great Mickey Rooney (no relation to the re- haired Wayne as far as I’m aware although Mickey did have 8 wives but  I have no evidence any of them came from Liverpool or that he ever visited Liverpool. Mickey Rooney fans please correct me if I’m wrong) … “Hey, let’s put on a show” (or something very close to that )


Up date April 2014.

I’m sure there is a way we can get this to stand up safely without having to lay  foundations big enough to support The Shard and allow everybody access to experience the beauty of the Begonias without having to install a lift. Regardless of these small issues which are resting  in the capable hands of Chelsea supremo Tony Muldoon  planning is progressing  full speed. All we need now is the framework and to get the RAMS approved. The panels are all planted up and growing to perfection in readiness for their big week.  Things are finally starting to take shape, morphing from an initial sketch to actually having planted panels to admire and worry about how best to transport them safely to the show.

The guest list has been prepared and tickets purchased, invites to experience the Secret Garden and the very best of  the rest of the world’s horticulture will be sent out shortly. Staffing of the stand has been organised for the week. It may sound like a great job to some, manning a stand at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show, but it is tiring work answering a range of questions from myriads of  interested visitors every day until 8.00pm. Fortunately we have a whole platoon of willing and knowledgeable staff happy to do what’s necessary until the very last visitor has left on Saturday 24th May

The rather large RHS rules and regulations book has been digested and information sheets and signs all prepared in accordance with the regulations – That’s the bit I’m in charge of and the term “prepared” can be interpreted as you wish but it will all be alright on the night as they say.

Within the next few weeks we need to finalise construction plans and delivery and collection of the display  but the show is now firmly underway, gathering a momentum of its own which we hope will culminate in a medal winning display in just 6 weeks time

PS If anybody knows any celebrities who would like to be photographed at Chelsea we’d love to see them….We’re not fussy…

Tony Muldoon busy planting up the 100 panels required for the wall

Tony Muldoon busy planting up the 100 panels required for the wall

Some of the 2880 plants ready to go to Chelsea 2014

Some of the 2880 plants ready to go to Chelsea 2014

I guess this will equal beauty in 6 weeks ..

There is no plan B. Flying without a safety net…

We have a cunning plan..

We have a cunning plan to produce horticultural heaven


Chapter 1- From conception to acceptance- the start of a journey through the emotions

Enterprise Plants
Still flushed with success from our 2012 Chelsea Gold Medal RHS GOLDand looking for something spectacular to do to celebrate Enterprise Plants 30th Birthday we first discussed the possibility of doing another Chelsea Show way back in the pre-diluvian days of last summer.  At the time we were all still feeling a slight tinge from  the warm afterglow of the Olympics and there was a slight prospect of an economic upturn. It was a time of quintessential muted English optimism. Remembering only the good parts: getting the gold medal, meeting Jerry Hall, the Champagne, having people ohh and ahh over our begonias, more Champagne, discovering that Sir Cliff Richard is, like all celebrities, really much smaller in real life than on the tele, doing it all again but in a much more spectacular form, seemed a brilliant idea. It was a simple decision, arrived at almost unanimously. A brief chat with our good friends and fellow Chelsea medal winning architects, Artillery secured their assistance in the design and bingo we were off on a wave of Chelsea Flower Show-fueled euphoria. How difficult can it be? We’ve done it before, it’s just this time we’re putting the begonias in a big green living wall which hasn’t ever been done before. What can possibly be so difficult about that? 
Jerry Hall Chris Jenkin

The concept of the stand is to present something to challenge and enhance the current thinking on horticultural design and open a debate about the uses  and benefits of plants in working environments. It’s now well known that plants are good for us (see my other blogs if you’re still not aware or get in touch). The challenge is to find more inventive ways of making sure we all get the full effects of these benefits in aesthetically pleasing and stimulating ways. Using green walls to create spaces is the next logical step forward in the development of green wall technology. Green walls are now relatively common-place throughout most cities and increasingly (I’m pleased to say) seen as valuable additions to interior spaces. To prevent this progress from just becoming another design trend we need to make sure plants and walls become an integral part of space planning and building design. In our own small way we want this years Chelsea stand  to start people thinking  and talking about these possibilities (while still ohh-ing and ahh-ing over the begonias naturally)

Cambridge green wall one year on

Concept planning began in earnest and, in conjunction with  ArtilleryInitial scheme concept sketch, we developed some initial thoughts, ideas and sketches for our exhibit. These morphed over the weeks as practical concerns impinged on the purity of Artillery’s design. Allegedly there is no such thing as bad publicity but I’m sure a celebrity based incident with a green wall at The RHS Chelsea Flower show would test that saying to the maximum. Safety must be our maxim.

Agreement was reached on the final concept and work commenced last September on our submission based on an exhibit demonstrating a new concept in green walls with the show piece featuring a secret garden room. Plans were delivered  and all we had to do was wait and see if the Chelsea organisers shared our vision and  agreed that the design could be worthy addition to the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

The good news on the  RHS decision regarding exhibitors for 2014 was eventually announced in January to feelings of excitement (naturally muted in a quintessentially English manner) and increasing dread. We have been accepted and had been given more or less the size and location of stand requested.  I always find it amazing how quickly initial feelings of optimism about the ease and simplicity of the plan when in an abstract form are washed away when the project becomes stark reality. Wow we’ve now got to build it ….

January 2014

Chelsea Flower Show is only 4 months and 2 weeks away and we have to build what in concept looked straightforward. Discussions are continuing with the RHS about the exact design and dimensions of the stand and the logistics of it.  Begonia growing has commenced and the green wall panels ordered. The use of begonias has added another technical challenge to the exhibit;  these plants until now have not been widely used in green walls.

The RHS has also asked for more detail including the structural integrity and stability of the design and so more detailed plans and working drawings are being compiled.

February 1st 2014

It all seemed so simple in the hazy crazy lazy days of summer 2013, the days of sodas and pretzels and beer and green wall optimism. It’s now February and Tony Muldoon, our Chelsea supremo, is due back from holiday with 3 months left to get it all together….. In the meantime here’s a few more pictures to remind us that it is all worthwhile…..