I make for the Chelsea Flower Show. Everything else that happens during the year is almost a footnote. Every year I seem to push myself a little harder, make something a little bit more ambitious and stretch my craftsmanship abilities.
So what’s new this year? For a start an extra 40 square metres. The organisers have allocated me a huge 105 square metre plot opposite the show gardens on Main Avenue. Although the bragging rights of being the first stand at the show have gone, this location is without doubt the best in the show.
Then there is the 3.5 metre high back wall. I will be planting all the way to the very top and dressing the wall with a massive boulder waterfall – using over 5 tons of wonderful black rock – that feeds a 12 m long stream along which my three galloping horses pound.
And the lead horse is my first bronze. This is possibly the most exciting part of the upcoming show. Coup de Feu weighs around 800kg, he is made up of 100 individual bronze castings braised together, and takes my breath away.
I will again be displaying a natural driftwood, stone and stainless Folly ala Capability Brown with two grizzlies proudly standing on top, one leaning over to catch a salmon.
I have cast another favourite in bronze – The Importance of Faith - the British Feral Goat – who balances precariously on top of a 2.5m high column of highly polished stones.
Aside from this, there is the general madcap menagerie that one can expect to see on my stand, 3m high rutting stags ripping into each other, a 2.5 m high frothing waterfall of jumping salmon, boxing hares hammering one another, a glorious Tortoise keeping himself to himself and many more characters.
If every part of the organisation of my exhibit comes together, and there is no guarantee that it will - it will be the most astounding show that I have ever put on. In the meantime, it is back to the workshop to work out why the eleventh actuator is not spitting water under the 3rd hoof of Coup de Feu.
I hope to see you from Tuesday 23 May to Saturday 27 May at MA 331 (Main Avenue 331) at the Chelsea Flower Show!