Preparation for Flower Festival

Fresh back from Tokyo, I was set to work helping out all the museum staff get the gardens ready for the flower festival 2015, it was such a varied 2 weeks and I carried out many different tasks

First job on the list was to change the display in the main exhibition room from Orchids to Sakura (Cherry) theme.  It was out with the old and with the new.


Almost everything removed.


Quite impressive use of what the guys at the museum call a 'Power Shovel'

Quite impressive use of what the guys at the museum call a ‘Power Shovel’

Once the big items had been lifted in and planted, the more delicate planting could commence.


My next job was to create these mini moss mountains, quite affective once finished but more fiddly than you would imagine, almost like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together.


Me and Takeshi teamed up for the next job, which was to create a wall display from Awaji roof tiles, simply as it may sound it was quite difficult to line the tiles up, I was quite pleased with the outcome, and to finish the display off we added a small wave of white gravel to the foreground.




Next we had the tricky task of lifting this bonsai pine up into a section of this freshly constructed vertical garden structure.  Luckily we were aided by a very handy forklift truck.


It was outside for me for my next task, this sozu (traditional Japanese fountain) had been constructed using some plastic tubing to help it last longer. However, this wasn’t very in keeping with its surroundings, so I set about constructing a bamboo sheath to cover the tubing and to achieve a more authentic look.



I started by splitting each section of bamboo into 6ths, which provided perfect coverage of the green tubing.  Each section was cut and trimmed to length and then gathered together and held in place using shyuro nawa (traditional Japanese rope).



This gave me an excellent opportunity to practice my otoko musubi knot that we had learnt at Sorakuen, I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Otoko musubi - Using doubled up rope. (which made it even harder to tie tight)

Otoko musubi – Using doubled up rope. (which made it even harder to tie tight)

Once I had finished creating the bamboo cover I headed back down towards the museum where a few of the museum staff were hanging moss balls in one of the corridors in the outer grounds of the museum itself.  There were a couple that were rather large.


Tomoko sensei wanted an agave to display in one of the many rooms leading to Kiseki No Hoshi.  What better place to look than at the gardens at ALPHA.  (We had permission).  Me and Tomoko sensei made our way to APLHA to check the agave we had been told we were allowed was suitable.  A couple of the museum staff and I went back after to lunch to collect.  Precautions were take to make sure the spines didn’t take our eyes out.


Once we had freed the roots from the ground, we wrapped them in a hessian sack to protect them in transportation and to make it easier to move again at a later date.


We managed to get it safely back to the museum and positioned in its new home.


At this point the heavens opened and it absolutely poured with rain for the rest of the afternoon.  We donned our waterproofs and persevered as we had the whole raised platform area to turf.

the whole area needed raking and levelling before the turf was rolled out.

The whole area needed raking and levelling before the turf was rolled out.

Soaked through we managed to get the turf laid, and the final result was worth all the hard work.


Friday started with transporting a lot of plants round to our TRIAD garden area, ready for planting as part of the flower festival display.

(this was less than half of the plants)

(This was less than half of the plants)

The plants kept on coming, using all kinds of machinery.


This was probably my favourite mode of transport, known by the team as a stage cart.  they are electric powered and have plenty of power provided they are charged regularly.  The one wheel at the front means they can fit round the tightest of corners, they would be perfect for the narrow paths at Hidcote.

???????????????????????????????After lunch I was asked to go up to the mountain garden and help re-turf the central reservation.  The turf needed to be more robust than normal and was supplied in squares, as you can imagine with such a narrow area there was a lot of cutting and trimming.


The turf will hopefully soon green up and look more healthy than it did when we were laying it.


There was one last big push to get the planting in the TRIAD garden finished, we stayed late to help get things finished.  Not as late as the museum staff, who didn’t finish until 12.30am!



One comment

  1. Douglas Needham

    It’s great to see the horticultural experience you are gaining and using. The gardens are beautifully creative. I look forward to seeing them in person next month.

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