A morning with artificial turf!

With Gardeners’ World Live only a few weeks away now, the pressures to get my enormous stand organised and ready are mounting! This year , I have been sponsored by Severn Trent Water and by having such a big company helping out has lots of advantages! There is a huge team of skilled guys and gals many of whom are contributing to help turn my crazy ideas into reality! My theme this year is ‘Getting Connected’ with the wildlife in your patch and focuses on education…. showcasing some of the ideas I am implementing at the school I teach at. The stand will have all sorts of exciting interactive elements, hopefully inspiring people to ‘Get Connected’ both in their own patch and with their children, grandchildren or local school.

One of the crazy ideas I had was to build a giant mammal dome! My ‘clay cavern’ mammal feeding station was the inspiration for the Springwatch Mammal Stump and Mammal Log and I wanted to create something children (and adults!) could actually go inside! From a sketch and a few ideas, the guys at Severn Trent came up with this amazing construction, built entirely out of water piping and connectors…. it is pretty amazing!

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To turn it into a dark burrow, it will be covered in artificial turf. A massive thanks to Verdelawn (www.artificialgrass.org.uk) who have helped with this project and provided the turf that will transform this space! Just to check my idea was going to work and that the structure would hold the weight, my dad and I heaved the turf onto the top of the dome. It will all be trimmed and tidied once we are at the show, but at least I could see my idea was actually going to work! It will look rather like Telly Tubby land, but will be brilliant for crawling into and imagining what it must be like to live in a burrow!

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I had other ideas for the turf from Verdelawn too! Unrolling a large section of it, we laid out the shed that will be on my stand onto it…. yes…. I am going to cover this entire shed with turf! This will showcase some of the ‘Bug Empire’ ideas I have had that I am also implementing at school. Some children’s art will also adorn this building!

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It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle and we cut all the pieces so they can be affixed to the shed when it is erected at the show.

These are just a small part of my HUGE 18m x 9m stand….. the giant bird table and bird box are completed now and are up at the Severn Trent Saw Mill at Ladybower reservoir. A massive thanks to the team up there who are building those elements of my stand. These items will return to the visitor centre there after the show.

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So, it is all ‘GO’ here. Gardeners’ World LIve is at the NEC from 12-16th June and, combined with The Good Food Show, it is a great day out! Why not pop along and say hello… and see if I am still standing… this is by far the most ambitious project I have undertaken, but I am very much looking forward to all the hard work coming to fruition! Click the link below to visit the GWL website.

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