We did a little dance in celebration when The Watchmaker’s Garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live won platinum and best in show. Our family’s nursery grew some of the plants for the garden.
I was lucky enough to attend the preview and meet the designer, Alexandra Froggatt.
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is a bustling, cosmopolitan area steeped in history. In the late Victorian era it was booming with trade as the jewellery and watchmaking industries expanded. Craftsmen set up workshops in their back gardens to meet demand. Alexandra’s design is inspired by these 19th century back garden horologists. Inside the workshop, the city’s iconic Chamberlain clockface is in mid-production with a workbench covered in original tools and artefacts. Antique specialists loaned jewellers’ equipment to add authenticity to the scene.
Outside the workshop, the garden is full of heirloom and heritage vegetables, including some varieties which would have been grown in the Victorian era; herbs growing alongside cottage garden plants.
I love the doorway planting. You really want to walk through that door to see what’s on the other side.
Wild flowers grow in the grass surrounding the garden, and nasturtiums, peas and beans scramble over fences and supporting hazel posts.
Sponsors for the garden include Odeon Antiques, St Paul’s Church, La Mons Jewellery, Stonebarn landscapes, Terry Porter- plants, Vande Moortel- landscaping materials, and RPG Herbs, run by my brother-in-law Paul Gimson and his wife Rozanne.
Gardeners’ World Live runs until 16 June at Birmingham NEC.
RPG Herbs http://www.rpgherbs.co.uk/conta.html
Alexandra Froggatt http://www.alexandrafroggatt.com/