GARDEN GURU: So did the all male panel of judges at the Chelsea Flower Show pick the right garden for the Best in Show award? Opinion is divided between the winner, Andy Sturgeon’s design,
based on the magnitude of geological events for The Telegraph Garden
and Cleve West’s evocation of ancient oak woodland on Exmoor,
where he spent his teenage years
for The M&G Garden.
Monty Don, in conversation with Joe Swift, suggested that men and women have different priorities when it comes to gardens. The male panel would naturally have chosen the more ‘blokey’ design of the Telegraph offering, whereas most women professionals would have chosen the gentler, more intricate design of Cleve West based on ‘soft’ values such as memory. The irony is that we had two male presenters discussing two male garden designers as there are, as usual, very few women represented at the show. Why is this? – women probably garden far more than men. Could it be that the sponsors feel safer in a man’s hands? A show garden at Chelsea costs at least £250,000 and everyone wants their brand to win best in show.
Which garden would you have chosen? – it was a close call for me. Before I actually saw them I strongly favoured Cleve West but in reality Andy Sturgeon’s design is far less aggressive than it looks in photographs. Cleve still gets my vote – but then he would wouldn’t he, I’m a woman.