When the challenge is to create a beautiful Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (the most prestigious flower show in the world) you are already under enormous pressure but in 2019 we challenged ourselves even further! We wanted to produce a garden with a lighter environmental footprint…….
It would be easy to focus on green products that gardeners could see in the finished garden but over the year’s others have showcased ideas such as wind turbines, recycled bottle glasshouses, water harvesting products and more. These have helped inform and inspire gardeners so rather than recreate the wheel we asked ourselves what about the unseen, yet crucial, elements of building the garden could we do better?
Having created gardens at RHS Chelsea, in the heart of London, for over 20 years now, our team is very used to the challenges of the construction phase - it is relentlessly noisy, smelly with fumes and due to the close proximity of all the building activity, often quite overbearing.
This year, however, our site was very different! During our research phase we looked for diesel alternative construction machinery and were thrilled when we discovered a new machine was being brought to market by Volvo Construction Equipment at the same as we were going to be building our garden – it was as if it was meant to be! After, a few phone calls and a meeting we had a partnership with Volvo, who kindly agreed to loan us their brand-new Volvo ECR25, electric compact excavator.
Unlike the traditional noisy and smelly diesel excavators, this incredible machine was almost silent and omitted zero emissions from its exhaust. With the help of Volvo’s brilliant operator Peter Holmberg, the excavator quietly got on with the necessary construction, clearing the site, digging foundations, the channel for the water feature and planting pits for our trees. Our plot stood out as a little island of tranquillity within a sea of noise and bluster from all the diesel construction equipment on the plots around us.
We were truly honoured Volvo trusted us to trail the use of this amazing machine, as our build was the first construction project the Volvo ECR25 had been involved in, following its launch in Munich just a month earlier. The excavator totally out-performed all we had hoped, working many more hours than anticipated before being recharged overnight in readiness for the next morning.
BBC TV followed our garden build and their production team couldn’t believe how relaxing our plot was in comparison to those around us. They were amazed that they were able to carry out interviews and filming without having to shout or ask for machinery to be turned off.
We are looking forward to construction sites, and especially those in our major cities, becoming cleaner and greener!