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Garden Design

The Time In Between: my Chelsea FS garden

Charlie Albone

Charlie Albone

March 12, 2015

As a landscape designer I am passionate about all elements of landscape design but it’s the feeling of being in a garden that ignites a spark in me. I have worked all over Australia, I have completed works in the U.K. and France and as well as a successful business I am the Lifestyle channels resident landscape expert. But there is one goal I have always dreamed about since a young age and that is to exhibit a large show garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Charlie Albone 'The Time In Between' show garden design for the Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Charlie Albone ‘The Time In Between’ show garden design for the Chelsea Flower Show 2015

In past years I have visited the show and made films for the LifeStyle channel, and in 2014 I volunteered my time to build an exhibit for gardening royalty Alan Titchmarsh. But in 2015 I will be exhibiting my own garden in a prime spot at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The process of getting approved to exhibit at Chelsea is not an easy one. There are only a few large show garden spots and hundreds of applicants trying to get one of them.

'The Time in Between' show garden design by Charlie Albone for the Chelsea Flower Show 2015

‘The Time in Between’ show garden design by Charlie Albone for the Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Firstly you need the usual plans, perspectives, mood boards and documentation required for any large scale project but with Chelsea you also need to provide a design brief. This is to tell the judges what you are trying to achieve and without an actual client or any direction and with a limited word count available, it is actually the hardest part of the process.

Paying for the garden is also a hurdle that has to be jumped over and sending a crew to the other side of the world to build a garden is not a cheap exercise. I approached Husqvarna and Gardena to help fund the garden as I felt they were a good fit being at the forefront of innovation and quality in the horticultural industry. Along with time donations from Conway Landscaping, Capricorn Quarries, Australian Plunge Pools and ME Lighting we got there!

Upon receiving the email that informed me I would be there in a very prominent position, I felt a surreal mix of excited elation and the feeling of instant pressure to perform. This project has consumed my life in every way and is a process I am thoroughly enjoying.

With one of the 17 carved stone pillars for my Chelsea Flower Show garden in 2015

With one of the 17 carved stone pillars for my Chelsea Flower Show garden in 2015

My Chelsea Flower Show garden, ‘The Time In Between‘ is inspired by the death of my father when I was aged 17.  The space is a garden to meet with him and tell him about my life since his passing. I have designed a space to celebrate life but to also be emotive and intimate.

The garden is split into three sections and each element of the garden means something to me. The first third is a walk down a meandering path with cloud-like shrubs mixed with romantic perennial planting either side. The path is 2 metes wide so I can walk down it with my father and children hand in hand. Multi stem trees are dotted through the garden to add height and interest.

The central section is based around a large water feature that empties within 5 seconds to represent the feeling of life slipping away. I was present at my father’s death and feel this is the best way to represent the emotions and feelings that accompanied the experience. Above this, hanging off the wall, will be a copper sculpture designed by me and young award winning sculptor Luke Storrier (son of Archibald prize winner Tim Storrier)

Copper sculpture for 2015 Chelsea Flower Show garden, designed by Charlie Albone and Luke Storrier

Copper sculpture for 2015 Chelsea Flower Show garden, designed by Charlie Albone and Luke Storrier

The rear section is a sunken intimate courtyard that focuses around a dry stone fire pit, which represents my wife as the centre and ‘fire’ in my life. Surrounding this sunken area are 17 hand carved sandstone pillars that represent important people and family in my life.

Dry stone firepit for my Chelsea Flower Show garden 2015 'The Time In Between'

Dry stone firepit for my Chelsea Flower Show garden 2015 ‘The Time In Between’

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Kim Woods Rabbidge
8 years ago

Stunning art pieces Charlie.

debdjd
8 years ago

Beautiful – it brought tears to my eyes reading this.

Garden Lodges (@GardenLodges)

Really interesting to read about your challenges and how you overcame them. All the best for the show

crazygreenthumbs
crazygreenthumbs
8 years ago

This garden design is absolutely impeccable. Your talent and attention to detail is amazing to see. Good luck with your design entry and you have just inspired me to design another sculpture to add to the endless list of jobs to do in our garden. All the best.

ade watkinson
ade watkinson
8 years ago

well done to you and your team..looks good in London dude.

Helen
Helen
8 years ago

your garden was my favourite at Chelsea and I was fortunate enough to have purchased a beautiful architectural plant that was planted near the pillars but unfortunately I didn’t get the name. Can I send a picture and you please tell me what it is. Looks a bit like a cheese plant.

Catherine Stewart
Admin
8 years ago
Reply to  Helen

Hi Helen, As Charlie is no doubt exhausted after the show and taking a bit of a break, I’ve had a look at the photos and I think it’s Philodendron ‘Xanadu’.