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A star guest in the Walker’s garden……

The Chelsea Flower Show is the  most prestigious event in the gardening calendar, and this year, Walker’s was a WINNER. Graham Bodle picked up a prestigious SILVER medal at this year’s event, and was featured on both Yorkshire TV news and the BBC’s look North, as well as in the Yorkshire Post. We’ve got to say a BIG “Well done!!!”

And Graham also had a surprise guest in his award-winning garden, none other than his fellow Yorkshireman, TV pundit and presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who turned up to compliment Graham on his work – and to buy the garden’s much-admired sculpture. Adam and Eve was commissioned by Graham from his aunt, the famed sculptor Hilary Walker, and has now found a new home in Alan’s Hampshire garden. “He loved what we’d done in such a limited space|”, says Graham, “and he was very keen to own the one-off artwork, an amazing wall plaque…..it was a great pleasure to meet him and to listen to his comments….”

You can find out all about our involvement this year by going to the link: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2013/Gardens/Garden-directory/Walkers%E2%80%99-Pine-Garden

It was a busy time for green-fingered Graham in the weeks before Chelsea. The race was on to get his special South Yorkshire garden ready for the show. I started on May 21….and there was an awful lot of planning to do.

Graham (34 ), our gardening expert at Walker’s, competed in the Artisan Garden section of the Show, on a strictly limited space of five metres by four – one of only ten gardeners who won through to a coveted place, beating off international competition. He missed out, sadly, on the Best Garden Award, but his track record was already pretty impressive, with a trophy cabinet that already includes a number of golds, silver gilts and silver medals, won over the years at both Chelsea and at Tatton Park.

It took days and days of preparation for Graham and his team to pull everything together to make the Walker’s Pine Cottage Garden into a Silver medal winner.  He travelled down to London on May 9, after sourcing all the many plants and materials that he needed – including the turf for the lawn, the bedding, stone for paths and walls, and thatch for the roof of the cottage, the garden plants themselves, and the shaped and clipped pines and shrubs. It all had to be taken to the Chelsea showground, by the Thames in central London – and taken away afterwards, as well! Graham arranged a heavy truck and a trailer to transport all the pieces of this highly complicated jigsaw, and worked on site for nearly a fortnight, getting everything into place for the eagle-eyed judges – and the many tens of thousands of visitors, who arrive every year.

“I hoped that the pines – which my late Grandfather Lawrence Walker loved so much – gave it all a really architectural feel”, says Graham, “and that would be in contrast to the other planting.  I wanted to make this one a real head-turner, contemporary, but rooted in rural traditions, and yes, I’m going all-out for the Best Garden Award.  It had to have that elusive ‘Wow!’ factor. I’ve always wanted to create a ‘front garden’, the sort of place which, when you are out for a walk or a drive, makes you want to stop in your tracks to admire it more.”

Graham is a noted garden designer, who studied his craft for many years at Leeds Metropolitan University. His living work can be seen in properties large and small all over the UK, and particularly in Yorkshire.

2 Comments

  1. Penelope Ansell Says:


    CONGRATULATIONS !!!!! I absolutely love the garden at Chelsea…

    May 23rd, 2013 at 8:12 am
  2. Anita Aylett Says:


    I love your garden. I have a large sweeping border in my front garden to do. I love cottage garden plants and will look out pines now as well. I hope I can find some around Loughborough.

    May 31st, 2013 at 10:26 pm

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