Posts Tagged ‘Mike Russell’

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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We have been lucky with the weather (although today isn’t looking so great), and we have been so fortunate to have a team of fantastic volunteers, who have worked extremely long hours in order to create a stunning garden.  Mike Russell has certainly designed the most amazing show piece and I am so grateful to him for all the time he has given, in order to achieve the finished project.


Fantastic plants and veg fill the garden

We are nearly there now – today will consist of all the finishing touches and fine detail extras.

Yesterday evening the water feature received some TLC and it now looks as though it has been established for years.  The wheel (which can just be seen at the top of the photo below), when turned, regulates the flow of the water – such detail!

Water feature

A well established water feature

The head sculpture, made from old Land Rover parts, has a character all of its own – it made me smile when I saw it – made me think of Wizard of Oz or, as someone suggested, a Tim Burton movie, take a look below.


He looks a real character

And so at 9am tomorrow morning judging will take place.  Results will be out at 11.30am and so I have everything crossed for all those who have spent so much time – most of it on a voluntary basis – to receive the credit and recognition they deserve!  I won’t be able to add to this blog until Sunday, but if you want to find out how we do follow @amanjon on twitter.  Or better still – come and see us at The Shrewsbury Flower Show – Friday 13 and  Saturday 14 August 2010.


Stained glass

The piece of stained glass featuring in the arbour

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Mike Russell and his team of landscapers have been hard at work in The Quarry – venue for Shrewsbury Flower Show, since the end of last week.

On my first trip to see them, the labyrinth was taking shape…..


The labyrinth is laid

At the weekend the most amazing arbour had been installed and the oak had been cut to form the raised beds……


Arbour & oak raised beds

Mike and his team are superb craftsmen, the finishes being applied to the oak sleepers is pure quality.  I don’t really know what I was expecting, but this isn’t just any garden, it really is a masterpiece.

Today the art boards have arrived!  And don’t they look magnificant?


The boards will run across the back of the garden

The water feature is looking good – Chris has made a stunning job of the wood surrounding it.

Any finally, a photo of the team – they have really put in the hours – working most of the weekend.  I am so grateful.


Team Shot!

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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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The rain clouds didn’t bode well for the horticultural workshop scheduled for this morning at the Headway Shropshire garden, however it didn’t put anyone off!  Rachel and I had gone along to Headway Shropshire to help Mike Russell, our show garden designer, with a horticultural workshop he was holding for the clients of Headway.  The idea of the workshop was to involve the clients in potting on the vegetable produce and companion plants currently being grown at Headway for inclusion in the Shrewsbury Flower Show ‘show garden’.  As gardening is renowned as being very therapeutic, it was also an excellent rehabilitative exercise for the clients.

Setting Up

Ready for the potting to start


Shelter from the rain

The workshop got started at 9.30am, with a gazebo being set up in the garden to shelter us all from the imminent rain, whilst Mike brought along tables and benches for the Headway clients to work at, together with numerous bags of potting compost and spare pots.


Getting stuck in

Several of the Headway clients then joined us and were soon getting their hands dirty re-potting plants, transferring seedlings, and digging the ground.  Rachel made herself useful by transferring marigolds from their seedling trays into large pots to enable them to grow on, she also made sure she seized the opportunity for plenty of photographs.


Planting seedlings

Luckily we managed to get the majority of the planting done before the rain started!

It was clear that the Headway clients thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially as they came back after lunch to carry on with the gardening after the workshop had finished!

Today had also been about finishing off the filming for our Shrewsbury Flower Show commercial.  Howard was back, complete with his camera and all the tricks.  Having spent some time shooting footage in the garden, we went up to the art room to take a look at what was going on there.


Patiently worked on by clients at Headway

Headway Shropshire clients Paul and James were working on a couple of the panels for the backdrop of the garden.  Both are wheelchair bound – James paints by holding his paintbrush in his mouth.  To watch them working on the boards was really moving – it made me realise just how much effort has been put into these amazing pieces of art – Howard filmed James and Paul whilst they painted and I really hope it’ll appear in our finished commercial.

Finally I met Stuart – Stuart had suffered a head injury as a result of a terrible car accident.  Stuart has been the talent behind the copper leaves, he also worked in the garden this morning.  He said to me that the project has been wonderful and how much he has enjoyed getting involved.


Copper leaves created by Stuart

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