Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Fabaceae garden at Chelsea

Oh Chelsea, you're a flower show that a whole country stops to notice, can us Americans imagine what that means? I don't think so. Prime time television coverage, of a garden show? Ha! Not in this county. However the stories do trickle in, and the first to grab my attention this year is the Seedlip Garden. From the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea page:

"The Seedlip Garden celebrates the humble garden pea, Pisum sativum...
The planting, forms, colours and multi-sensory elements within this conceptual installation are all relevant to the pea, producing a contemporary and educational compendium in praise of one of the nation’s favourite vegetables. A garden path, formed of circular elements, representing the form of the pea, leads to the elevated Peavilion, a ‘shrine’ housing a collection of articles relevant to the pea. All species of plant used in the garden are from the pea family Fabaceae. Peas & Love!"
The Seedlip Garden, photo borrowed from the RHS Chelsea page

  • Unusual varieties of sugar snaps and snow peas feature in the garden, an homage to the late American pea breeder, Dr Calvin Lamborn
  • Mirrored silver stepping stones, featuring a pea pod design, are embedded into the path alongside split pea shingle and pea mulch
  • Edible pea shoots adorn the roof of the pea green 'Peavillion' and miniature willow wigwams highlight the vibrant yellow and red pea pods 
The Seedlip Garden, photo borrowed from the RHS Chelsea page
 
Gardenista explains what "Seedlip" is:  "Seedlip is a young business, having launched in 2015 as the world’s first nonalcoholic spirit. Its founder is the irrepressible Ben Branson, whose enthusiasm for the core ingredient of Seedlip spirits is evident when he mixes a drink, the legend PEAS tattooed across his fingers."
Pea fancier and Seedlip founder Ben Branson, with garden designer Catherine Macdonald, Ph.D.
photo borrowed from Gardenista
 
More, from Gardenista: "Branson descends from a long line of Lincolnshire farmers and, along with an increasing number of his peers, does not drink alcohol. Bored by the sugar-laden alternatives (besides water), Ben began to experiment with a small copper still, encouraged by the writings of mainly forgotten alchemists. One book was particularly intriguing: The Art of Distillation by John French, published in 1651. Branson found that it was possible to make a spirit by distilling a vegetable and removing the alcohol at the end of the process. The chosen vegetable in this case was a pea."

Describing the garden: "There’s something about peas, and it’s perfectly described in the design of this garden, which features only one plant family: Fabaceae, family of peas. There is scope within this plant group for considerable variety, from crimson clover to an acacia tree, with sweet peas, broad beans, and six different kinds of lupines along the way. Lupines are rather ubiquitous at this year’s show, but this is one garden where they absolutely belong."

Think about it, everything from a ground cover to a tree, all within the same plant family, wouldn't that be a fun garden to visit?

Of course to really understand Seedlip as a brand you should also visit their webiste (here). I must admit I am very curious. "A floral blend of hand-picked Peas & homegrown Hay from Ben’s Farm with traditional garden herb distillates in celebration of the English countryside."....what does that taste like?

Weather Diary, May 30: Hi 69, Low 45/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

28 comments:

  1. That is all pretty amazing and certainly a very different approach to a Chelsea garden. Did you watch the Monty Don series, Big Ideas/Small Spaces on Netflix? Only 6 episodes but wonderful and again, made me think how different Americans are from the Brits.

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    1. I did not! I just downloaded them however so I will, thank you!

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  2. So much pea-ness in one space - you know I'm a fan. What an interesting approach to creating a garden.

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    1. You're a fan of pea-ness huh? (as much as I want to have fun with this I am moving on...)

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    2. Oh my yes, I love all of the legumes.

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  3. I did see coverage of that garden on Youtube, and thought it was Fab-ulous. Did you see the Sarah Price garden? For some reason that struck me as something that would appeal to you. Not dangerous plants, but maybe stylistically? It's a Mediterranean garden, so maybe it's the drought tolerant theme. I liked it.

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    1. Fab-ulous! I saw coverage of the Sarah Price garden somewhere but only a little, I need to look for it. Andrew watches so much YouTube, but I never think to go there.

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  4. Sarah Prices garden is amazing. Adore it. Chelsea is a bit of an institution and more than a garden show. It's a highlight of the social year where people mingle and are seen, like Ascot , and other such quite traditional must dos. I suppose it's a bit like Swedish midsummer, US Labour day, or even independence day. It's a thing one must do once in your life. Bit there are also other shows like it, Hampton court is also very big but possibly not as posh. Chelsea is in Chelsea darling. I've been to it and although the show gardens are nice, I didn't like the atmosphere, the opulent luxury, horrendous prices and 80% of people don't care a toss for plants. Ha! Anyway, it's an institution, a carry on tradition, a tribute to English history, and that's why it's on tv. We also have springwatch and autumnwatch which is a week of watching wildlife life prime time. Sometimes nothing happens at all!

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    1. Oh yes, I know it's an institution. A celebrity event! And I always suspected "80% of people don't care a toss for plants", thanks for confirming. I'd never heard of springwatch and autumn watch... the English are so civilized!

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  5. What the What?? 1) The US really needs to create an institution like the Chelsea Flower Show. I vote YES! 2) I can't even wrap my brain around the pea garden. I might have a pea brain. 3) Distilled drinks with no alcohol. Hm. It could be the next great thing..but I suspect this brilliant gardener is lacking children. As a mother of 2 legged beasts...distilled spirits w/out alcohol is sacrilegious.

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  6. The Chelsea garden shows is on my bucket list, after I retire.
    Ha"pea"ness is... a bottle of Seedlip in the fridge. There are interesting recipes on their site.

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  7. The no-alcohol distilled spirits idea intrigues... The market would seem to be to be a large one: pregnant women, Muslims and adherents of other religions that proscribe alcohol, people avoiding it for health reasons (this Stephanie Mencimer piece on the link w/breast cancer hasn't gotten nearly enough attn, e.g.: https://m.motherjones.com/politics/2018/04/did-drinking-give-me-breast-cancer/) or for personal safety (driving, alertness in an unsafe environment, etc.).
    OTOH I wouldn't have picked peas as the plant to start with, but who knows? Glad Mr. Branson seems to be an actual farmer even if of the gentleman variety rather than bored spawn of the obscenely wealthy Richard B.

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    1. "bored spawn of the obscenely wealthy Richard B."...does he have any?

      Thanks for the article link, a friend mentioned it recently and I hadn't tracked it down.

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  8. Do you read The Frustrated Gardener Loree ? It's one of my fave across the pond garden blogs. He reports extensively on Chelsea. One of the things I love about it is that it is you know, OUTSIDE. Like a real garden.

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    1. The Frustrated Gardener...I used to! I read blogs in a reader. The Google reader was my fav, until they discontinued it. Now I use Netvibes. I think an occasional feed gets dropped, or the link broken. Of course I don't always realize it. THANK YOU for pointing out that I haven't been seeing his posts for awhile.

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  9. Interesting theme, and a great family of plants...where would we be without our legumes? Having just recently watched 'Dare to be Wild' on Netflix, the story of Mary Reynolds' quest to participate at Chelsea, it gives an interesting take on this British tradition. Have you seen it? I was enthralled!

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    1. I have not seen it, but a friend mentioned it and it's in my Netflix downloads. Thanks for the second!

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  10. That beverage has me curious. I'll check out the website, thanks! I haven't been watching the Chelsea doings, but have been following some coverage through blogs and Facebook. It would be fun to make it across the pond sometime for the show.

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    1. It would be fun, indeed. My friends Mark and Gaz have scared me a bit though, with their tales of the crowds.

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  11. I'd entirely lost track of the Chelsea Garden Show, which I usually slavishly watch on YouTube as soon as the coverage becomes available. Thanks for the reminder! I wish Americans had a tenth the level of interest in gardening that the Brits do - more focus on gardens and less on politics would make life so much nicer!

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    1. Wouldn't it? Damn, now I'm missing Michelle Obama!

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  12. AnonymousMay 31, 2018

    Testing your theory here, Loree! - hope it works!

    What an interesting concept - a garden completely based on Fabaceae in all its abundance. And yes, I do wonder what that Seedlip drink would taste like... it sounds very unusual.

    Anna

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  13. Most interesting. I too wonder what it tastes like. An intriguing garden for sure.

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    1. I guess I'd better track some down!

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  14. Went to the Chelsea show back in 1977 when I lived in London. It was more traditional then, not televised (only some news reports), and not quite so crowded.

    I too am curious about Seedlip and took a look at their website and then did a search for US vendors. You can buy it here:
    https://www.mikuniwildharvest.com/shop/product/seedlip-spice-94/

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