Posts Tagged ‘Lanyon Bowdler’

The story of the Headway Shropshire Show Garden continues!  The paved stone labyrinth and metal head water feature have now been laid permanently in the garden at Headway Shropshire, by garden designer Mike Russell and his team with assistance from Lanyon Bowdler.  This is to be a lasting tribute to the hard work and dedication put into the project by all involved, which resulted in us winning Best Outdoor Show Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show in August.

Rachel went along to the Headway Shropshire offices this morning and met up with Jean Robinson, Chief Executive, Anne Ryan, Chair of the Headway Shropshire Board, and Frank Buzzard, Case Manager, to have a look at the garden and take some photos.

Headway Garden at the Centre

The Labyrinth and Water Feature are Laid

She told me that it looked wonderful, and everyone at Headway Shropshire is just delighted with it.  They were joined by one of the Headway clients, together with Mike Russell garden designer and his team, and Neil Lorimer partner at Lanyon Bowdler, for a group photo to commemorate the laying of the stone and water feature, and also the continuation of the story!

Group Shot

A Great Group Shot - many of those involved in the project

The plan now is for Headway Shropshire to take the garden forward as their own, and they are hoping to include a willow archway and build in some flower beds so that the look is very similar to that of the original show garden.  Obviously the work is going to be done over time, but this means that the clients at the centre can continue to have the focus of a garden project.

With Winter approaching, any new work will now need to wait until Spring, however watch this space for progress!


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Now we have had a little time to ‘catch up’ back at the office, I have finally been able to look at how we can lay the labyrinth (complete with the water feature character!) at Headway Shropshire, thus giving the clients and staff a long lasting memory of this amazing project.

Head sculpture

The winning head sculpture

And it’s looking good – further generous offerings from Mike Russell, Chris Bromley and Lanyon Bowdler, together with a contribution from the local charity, will mean this wonderfully magical creation will live out its days at the Headway Shropshire centre on Oxon Business Park in Shrewsbury.

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed once again for decent weather!), the stone will be laid, the water feature fitted and our comical head – created from old Land Rover parts, will take centre stage.  So keep an eye on this blog as the final piece of the jigsaw, this project has become, is put into place.

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The finished Headway Shropshire garden

The finished Headway Shropshire show garden

I am absolutely delighted to report that our garden WON at Shrewsbury Flower Show on Friday 13 August.  Having worked on it until really late on Thursday evening, we were back on site for 7am to do the finishing touches.  Mike was happy with the rainfall over night – the garden looked mature and glistened from a fresh shower.

TV gardener Chris Beardshaw was one of the judges and he came over for a preliminary look at the garden at around 8.15am.  We then waited and waited for the judges to come back and judge the garden properly.  I had to go off and ‘look after’ the Hairy Bikers so was relying on Rachel to keep me posted.  I had just been tipped off that the BBC were on their way over to interview Mike, so I gave Rachel a call – the BBC were already there, and apparently we had just been judged.  It could only have been a couple of minutes later when she rang to say we had won!!  I was with Lanyon Bowdler‘s managing partner David Battisby at the time, and so we both whooped with joy!

Not only had we won, but we received a Gold Certificate – fantastic, and a tribute to all those who have been involved in this wonderful journey.  Chief Executive of Headway Shropshire, Jean Robinson, was present on Friday, of course she was thrilled.  We had clients from the centre there too – it continued to be a great team effort over Friday and Saturday as the number of visitors to the garden were high.

Close up of the water feature

A close up of the water feature

Mike has received plenty of enquiries – the quality of the work clearly evident.  His team – including son Christy Russell, Chris Bromley & Marty Salisbury were brilliant – spending hours and hours putting it all together (and sadly today, taking it apart).

We aren’t quite finished yet, more photos and some thank you’s will follow tomorrow or Tuesday.  It has been a great, but extremely tiring weekend!!!

Some of the team

Some of the team in the garden

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Definitely our number one garden journalist – Dawn Humphries lets us have her latest comments.

But before that, she has noticed the wonderful beehive composters which are in residence in one of Lanyon Bowdler’s meeting rooms at the Shrewsbury office and wondiers if they will need a home after the Show!

Beehive Composter

On Loan from Wiggly Wigglers - a Beehive Composter

They are rather amazing pieces of wood – larger than I thought they would be.  The plan is to house the speakers for the Podcasts in them.  People, wandering round the garden – either inside it or on the outside, will be able to listen to how and why the Garden came to be.

Diary entry

“Two weeks to go and things are hotting up and competition is fierce amongst the plan sitters.  I hear whispers on the Lanyon Bowdler grape vine, that replacement plantings have not only been contemplated but already purchased, I name no names…

Julie brought hers in today (all home grown) as an early delivery.  Alas, they are all much bigger than mine, but size isn’t everything!!!!!  Still there is much to be gained… plant food that, will be my weapon of choice.  I must keep my eye on the ball and an intensive watering and feeding programme will follow… (still will not be up to the polytunnel professionals.. of which I have already been shown comparative photographic evidence, of the much superior virtues of the said tunnel…not sure how I can fit one in for next year……).  My little pots, are however, bred on love, encouragement and the odd curse.. I shall carry on gladly watering and feeding look forward to the big day…..   This is all on top of watering Kathryn’s plants, who had gleefully gone on holiday and left me in charge of watering her 94 pots, now should I feed hers too or not?

“I must remind myself it is the taking part that matters (and it has been enormous fun and very worthwhile).”

Thanks Dawn – to you and everyone else who has helped with this project – ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’!!

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The clock is really ticking now, but our band of merry volunteers continue to work in their gardens in order to produce some fantastic produce for our Shrewsbury Flower Show show garden.

PI solicitor Dawn Humphries has been a star at keeping her garden journal, but take a look at this photo – such a stylish gardener!

Dawn Humphries

Dawn Waters the Garden

And here is her latest entry:

“I now realise that gardening, like life, is littered with highs and lows, and sadly the odd fatality.  It is with regret that I inform you of the tragic demise of a courgette, several cabbages, and four purple sprouting broccoli!

“As I write this dispatch, I am threatened by sustained and devastating airborne attack on my beautiful blue brassica’s, who now bear shrapnel wounds … (in remarkably distinct munch shaped detail of the white cabbage butterfly’s caterpillar).  I am having the dental records assessed.

“The after school snipers have been skilful in their stealth like attempts to sabotage my sugar snaps, but have been thwarted by my warlike cries of “bath time” and “homework”.  My leeks stand tall and are unaffected by the casualties of war.

“But, despite such devastation, my pride is the last standing Courgette, which is now in full bloom, and all being well, may be heavily laden by D day (I just wish it wasn’t Friday the 13th).”

Another solicitor has already had to harvest the peas!

Her feedback included “On last count we had 94 pots containing peas, beans, marigolds, another flower, name currently escaping me, lots and lots of brassicas, some parsley, chives and basil.  We had to harvest the peas as they were about to pull the plants over (they were very tasty), the beans are also doing well.  The marigolds and other flowers are thinking of flowering fairly soon. ”

Back at Headway Shropshire, Mike Russell has been along this week to check on progress.  Everything is growing well and looking healthy.  The painted boards apparently are looking even more magnificent than before – is that really possible!  I wonder if there will be interest to buy these – would raise some great funds for the charity.

Art boards

Such colour

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It was apparent that the recent wet weather has been most welcome in the Headway Shropshire garden as the plants seem to have progressed in leaps and bounds!  Suddenly, everything has burst into life and had a growth spurt, from the tomatoes and courgettes, to the marigolds and sunflowers.


Brightly coloured Marigolds

Rachel visited the garden this morning and said she was amazed at how quickly the courgettes had appeared after only being re-potted several weeks ago during the horticultural workshop.  I didn’t know that they produce huge yellow flowers, which look lovely, however Rachel found out the hard way that their leaves are very prickly on the underside!


Flowering Courgettes

Apparently the sweet peas are all a beautiful pink colour and flourishing, the marigolds a vivid orange, and the carrots, sweetcorn and runner beans are all looking healthy and robust! So this is all looking good as Show Day is only 3 weeks away!

The art room is still a hive of activity (there is actually very little visible floor space!), the clients continue to make copper wire butterflies, and are covering them with angeline material.  Rachel took a photo of a book that was open on one desk with beautiful colour pictures of moths and butterflies ready to be copy sketched, so the theme is obviously a popular one!

Open Book

Ready for sketching

It is great to see just how this project has caught the imagination of the clients and staff at Headway Shropshire.  I am delighted that Lanyon Bowdler has been able to offer such a fantastic opportunity.

As we are now on count down to the Shrewsbury Flower Show – I’ve got to the stage where I just can’t wait to see the finished garden.

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I have mentioned in previous posts how the Art Room at Headway Shropshire is an amazing place, all those paints, fabrics and materials make me want to sit down and ‘get creative’.  When we started the project, I didn’t realise just how many fantastic ideas would come from this room.  We have the splendid, colourful backboards – there are shimmering butterflies and now a vine of copper leaves has been created.

Welding Leaves

Leaves being welded to make a vine

Once the leaves had been welded onto the stem, someone popped it in a tree so that we could see what it would look like!

Copper Leaves in a Tree

Getting the full effect

With only 34 days to Show Day – things are starting to rev up a bit, we have our Chamomile lawn being grown – courtesy of a very kind member of staff from Lanyon Bowdler.  The first draft of our flyer for handing out at the Show has been mocked up, which looks great.

The Quarry park in Shrewsbury will soon start to come to life with marquees being built – it takes several weeks to get ready for the Flower Show, let’s hope summer stays with us just a little longer.

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