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Apprentices get a taste of RHS Chelsea Flower Show with construction training day

The Perennial Lifeline Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a collaboration between a wide range of organisations from across the horticulture industry. It will be built with the help of apprentices from the Association of Professional Landscapers. The group of apprentices took part in creating a mock up of elements of the garden at Urban Landscape Design’s training centre in Cheshire.
The garden is being designed by Chelsea first timers Colm Joseph and Duncan Cargill. Landscaping contractor for the garden, Ross Conquest of Conquest Creative Spaces led the training day with the group of year two apprentices.
Ross Conquest comments:
“Building a garden at Chelsea is the ultimate test of planning, skill and determination for the modern landscaper. Time is always against you. We wanted to give the apprentices a feel for what will be involved. We also unveiled some of the secrets in how these gardens can be built under such time pressure, ready to be seen by thousands of eagerly waiting public, judges, global media and industry peers.”
During the exercise, the apprentices began by breaking the garden down into its elements. They created an in-depth plan to understand its construction requirements. They ran through the planning and scheduling of the garden and considered key factors that would have an impact on the build. Such as site location, material logistics, weather and heavy days of peak traffic. They then marked out the hard landscaping and set out the paving. As well as including some of the hidden prefabrication work and under-structures of the garden. Afterwards the team re-evaluated the process to look at any potential problems and where they might be losing time.
One of the biggest challenges is that the Perennial Lifeline Garden will be built within the Great Pavilion, which is a no dig zone. The garden will be set up to 300mm above ground height but without being able to dig down, there are many complications to overcome. Including not being able to use any post holes, concrete supports or excavated foundations, so prefabricated frames will have to be made and lifted in positions. Also the root balls of all the plants will have to be hidden in plain sight above ground level.
Ross Conquest continues:
“The task of creating this ambitious and exciting garden in the pavilion without digging down is fraught with challenges. But it means that we have had to come up with creative solutions. It was great to have had this opportunity to show the apprentices what is involved, so that hopefully things will go smoothly once we get on site. For the apprentices, being involved in the world’s most famous flower show during their training is fantastic experience and we hope it will help keep them inspired in their careers to come.”
Other partners and suppliers involved in the garden include: London Stone, Peter Beales Roses, Stark & Greensmith, Kelley Peers Design Partnership Ltd, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and Majestic Trees.
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