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Southwold In-Betweens

PUBLISHED: 14:34 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 July 2010

For the first meeting of the autumn programme, Jane Bastow from South Elmham St James came to talk about her experience in being involved in creating a small courtyard garden at the Chelsea Flower Show some years ago.

For the first meeting of the autumn programme, Jane Bastow from South Elmham St James came to talk about her experience in being involved in creating a small courtyard garden at the Chelsea Flower Show some years ago. She was one of a group of Otley College students who were studying for a Diploma in Horticulture, and one of them jokingly suggested applying to do a garden together. They faced numerous setbacks, such as initial rejection, and then being offered a space long after others had got the go-ahead, thus reducing the time they had to plan. Sponsorship agreed locally was withdrawn at short notice, so they had to set about raising the £3,000 needed for the project. Undeterred, they submitted their design for a much-loved cottage garden which was “going to seed” through lack of maintenance, allowing lots of wild flowers and even stinging nettles to be used.

The major difficulty on site was that no holes were allowed in the plot, so plants had to be in pots, and foundations for walls were impossible, and everyone had to travel daily from Suffolk to avoid hotel costs. Despite all this, the group won a much-deserved gold medal and Jane was able to chat with both Prince Andrew and Charlie Dimmock. The speaker's final words were that it was a very interesting and enjoyable experience, but she wouldn't want to do it again.

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