where it all began:
In the summer of 2017, 2 Northern garden designers and their team headed to Birmingham to the BBC Gardener’s World Live. Our show garden was to take up a good amount of our summer, but with a great design and a well-assembled team of landscapers, we were going to give it our all, and perhaps enjoy it along the way.
It's Not Just About The Beard
Our Gold Award winning Garden at Gardeners World Live 2017 and the Birth of the Hairy Gardeners
Peter Cowell and business partner Monty Richardson – with many-a-difference in appearance - there were 2 striking similarities…. A shaved head, and a beard the Greek Gods would envy. With 20+ show gardens and 100+ exhibitors in the NEC, no one was ever going to learn every name. Without a quick glance at the passes, names weren’t rolling off the tongue. However, whispers drew around us that we were making quite the impression visually (albeit the garden, but we’d like to think it was our devilish good looks?) and remembering another name seemed too much. There, coined in the inability to describe a garden
or name to identify someone we were very quickly being referred to as ‘The hairy gardeners’. Word spread, and soon enough even the team of APL, NEC and BBC were referring to us as that. Now the garden was named “it’s not just about the beard”, so the reference was already there, it just got fine-tuned. And hey, it was actually a pretty good name. No complaints from us!
When the director of a certain famous gardening show calls you it, you nod your head, and know you’re on the right track. This name soon snowballed into the brand we are today.
On arriving back up North, the calls were already coming in for talks and demonstrations of our up cycling, which we used in our show garden. Did someone say pallet wood bar? – Chorley is home to designer Peter, and when that call came in, for the Chorley Flower Show, how could we say no? We had 6 weeks to get the garden ready in Birmingham, with a big team. This time we had a
much smaller team, and a much smaller time scale. 10 days. Yes, 10 days. With a ‘Changing Rooms’-esque final place of the plant, we were ready. Roping in family and friends to get the final touches complete. After a gala dinner we spent 2 days on the show, with a full tent each time for our talks. Following on from Carol Klein was brilliant. I do wonder if we’ve been forgiven for thanking her as our warm-up act?!
We have showcased simple ideas to up cycle pallets, and also a few neat tricks with a colander, a nappy and some spray paint.
We wanted to throw the book of gardening being for only the retired, or for those who’ve always done it, and throw it out of the window. Gardening should be accessible to everyone, from every walk of life, and for every budget. Up cycling items you don’t use, and making them into works of art (or a cool hanging basket) could just be start for your green fingers.