For the past week I have continuously been on the high wire where there's not much room for misstep. Letting your hair down and just being have not been on the agenda. Nonetheless, the past 5-7 days have been fantastic and full of memorable experiences. So in my prolonged weariness I am satisfied.
Monday - D6 was successfully submitted in the morning and after lunch I was interviewed in front of a camera. I was asked questions about my time at the Inchbald and can only hope that what I think and what I said align. It's hard for me to be natural and engaging when a green-lit lens is pointed in my direction. The filming I did for my Go Fund Me video was difficult, and it took all day to get enough decent footage for the couple minute video. I was in tears by the end. Oh it was so stressful. But that was a very stressful time in general. Anyway, the film crew said I did great and I believe the more times I put myself in front of a camera, the easier it will become.
I had been looking forward to Tuesday the 20th for months! And unknowingly, years! Each spring Gardens Illustrated hosts a Gardens Illustrated Talk - I have been listening to the podcast since I discovered it in 2008 or 09, always wishing that I could attend in person. GI brings in The Greats to discuss and share about gardens, gardening and garden design. I could listen for hours.
Luckily, I remembered early enough to secure a ticket before they sold out. This years guests where Dan Pearson and Fergus Garrett! My plan was to arrive as soon as the doors opened, secure the best seat possible and then write for a hour - but keeping inline with high-wire-walking and needing to fit in more and more each day, I entered the dimly lit room right as Juliet Roberts was saying, "Good evening, my name is Juliet Roberts and I am Editor of Gardens Illustrated. I am delighted to welcome you all here this evening...." That moment right there was surreal. I had heard that voice and that introduction many times. And now I was in the podcast! I was hearing it in person. I was so pleased.
The talks given by Dan and Fergus were important for me and I am excited to re-listen when the podcast is published. I resonated with and understood many of the experiences and thoughts which were shared. It all felt familiar.
Wednesday started at 4:40am so I could catch the train to Shropshire to start the ball rolling for D7. The day was spent walking around the 5.5 acres over and over - making sense of the survey, making sense of the site, taking notes....there is so much there to comprehend, it's incredible. Working with an existing landscape is definitely more challenging than a blank slate. And the entire site is on one big steep slope. I am trying to approach the design in a simple manner, so that the results appear seamless, effortless and simple. Discerning design.
The views out from the hillside of my D7 are stunning and the weather Wednesday was very accommodating.
I spent the evening in Shropshire so Thursday morning there was more poking around the site and this time in the rain. Lunch time I caught the train back to London so I could make it to the Chelsea Flower Show. I was so tired when I got back from Shropshire, and I didn't have time to take a shower, so I just had to change and go.
It's a good rule a thumb to look very presentable at all times when in London (and most anywhere really, but especially at any event with the word "Chelsea" in it). Sometimes my American self surfaces and I get a little casual in this regard. Never sweat-pants-flip-flips-casual, but in the hair & makeup and overall outfit ensemblage. So when I met a wonderful lady named Kathryn Aalto at the Chelsea Flower Show - a fellow American living in Devon who is a designer and author and wrote the book on design-hero Luciano Giubbilei, I was very much wishing I would have taken a little more care in my appearance. Because the next several minutes where spent being introduced to Luciano - and hearing about his Best in Show Laurent-Perrier garden from himself! What a privilege! Seriously. I wish I would have recorded what he said.
That was followed by an introduction to Andrew Wilson, designer of the Silver Medal Cloudy Bay garden, who gave me a personal tour and explanation of his garden, which was very informative.
Followed by a tour of Hugo Bugg / Royal Bank of Canada's garden - which won a Gold. Hugo is the youngest designer ever to win gold at Chelsea. It was awesome to walk through and experience the space because normally, us regular folk, do not get the privilege of doing so.
And that was my Thursday. I came home exhausted.
That brings me to today - Friday - and I am writing this post while sitting in bed. School is in session but I am stepping off the high wire and taking time to ground myself. My room and brain need some post-war attention and I have a long list of personal things to get done that can't wait any longer. Plus I have a lot of writing and processing to do for D7. And since I don't need a drafting table for that, I am taking my frazzled mind below the radar for a few days.