Joe Perkins looks ahead to the Ascot Spring Garden Show and The Courtyard

When I designed the garden, I really wanted it to appeal to owners of gardens of all sizes, whether in a city environment or in the country. I chose the idea of a courtyard because to me these are some of the most engaging and social spaces within a garden, they are places to meet in, eat in, share time with friends and family in. As self-contained spaces courtyards can have a very distinct character all of their own, and can easily form part of a larger garden.

I’ve chosen a very simple range of materials, lovely warm-coloured limestone from Germany, beautiful handmade pots from Crete, and a colourful mix of trees, shrubs and spring flowering perennials and bulbs – and water: a courtyard has to have water in my opinion.

We have been making preparations for the show for the past seven months  and it’s now down to the last few weeks, with final adjustments being made to detailed drawings and to the work program, deliveries and all the health and safety paperwork which goes into building a show garden.

We are hoping to show a new range of pots which have been designed exclusively for Pots and Pithoi, although at the moment the container shipment which left Crete on time is just over two weeks late so we are crossing fingers and everything else that it will arrive in time!

The biggest challenge by far this year has been the weather – The Outdoor Room is constructing the garden at Ascot and the snow has caused delays to current garden projects, which of course has added a huge amount of time pressure to the schedule.

The plants are a story in themselves. I’m very lucky to have the hugely resourceful and knowledgeable Glen Sheldrake from Burford Garden Company supplying the plants, but as he has said himself, from a sourcing perspective its always about the weather once the stock is actually found / grown. This year that’s x 100,000,000 with the conditions, trying to find enough in flower for such an early show, and enough with difference factor, without all the gardens being repetitive it’s always going to be a challenge.At this point I think we are all looking forward to getting started on site at the racecourse…and hoping the weather is kind to all of us involved.



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