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There is a row brewing at Chelsea


 
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 3:13 pm    Post subject: There is a row brewing at Chelsea Reply with quote

Gardeners' fury at BBC's 'dumbing down' show: Designers say competition that will allow amateurs to win plot at Chelsea Flower Show demeans their industry
Gardeners have hit out at BBC 2's The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. It sees six amateur gardeners compete for a prime site on the Main Avenue. RHS claims Master Chef-style knockout competition will nurture new talent. But some viewers claimed it was 'dumbing down' and demeaning the industry.


Garden designers have accused the BBC of 'dumbing down' their profession with its new reality talent contest where amateurs compete to win a coveted plot at next week's Chelsea Flower Show.
One of six budding designers battling it out on BBC 2's The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge will scoop the prime site on Main Avenue occupied by Alan Titchmarsh's garden last year.
The Royal Horticultural Society says that the aim of the Master Chef-style knockout competition is to nurture exciting new talent and gain a wider TV audience for gardening.

The final six contestants were chosen from hundreds of applicants and are advised by Gardeners' World presenter Joe Swift as they build themed gardens against the clock.
The winner of this week's series, chosen by judges including Chelsea gold medal-winning designer Ann-Marie Powell, gets the chance to create a Chelsea garden that can hold its own against the world's best.

On last night's opening programme, Powell warned: 'Once you're through those Chelsea gates you're in with the big boys and there isn't any space for mistakes.'
Viewers saw occupational therapist Sean Murray, 51, impress the judges with his design of a Northumberland coal miner's garden.
Law firm partner Jo Manfredi-Hamer, 41, was the first to be knocked out as the judges decided her cottage garden had too much bare soil 'and lacked the theatre that a show garden needs'.
But the partnership between the RHS and BBC has sparked controversy among professional garden designers with some complaining that allowing an amateur to build a Chelsea garden demeans their industry.

They claim that the TV project disguises the difficulty of creating a Chelsea show garden, particularly as experienced landscapers are being brought in to help the winner with their Main Avenue plot.
The top designers commissioned to build Chelsea's 15 other Main Avenue show gardens have budgets of up to a quarter of a million pounds and are under pressure to win gold medals for sponsors.
Award-winning Bournemouth-based designer Janine Pattison said: 'I definitely don't agree with the competition.
'I think it trivialises garden design and reduces it to entertainment. The concern is that by dumbing down garden design, the public perception is that anyone can do it.
'You are dealing with serious responsibility when you take on a commission to design someone's garden and the Main Avenue designers are under huge pressure to deliver good results for their sponsors.
If Chelsea is to remain as the pinnacle of achievement for a garden designer then standards need to be maintained and the years of study and hard work required to become a good designer need to be respected.

'The RHS has used Master Chef as its model and I really don't think it can work with garden design.
'It is one thing cooking a plate of food under time pressure but creating a living, breathing garden which is respectful to horticulture and design is quite another.
'Places on Main Avenue are precious and should be showcases for professional talent.'
Similarly, Bedford-based designer Roseanne Rosewarne said that reserving such a prime site for the competition winner is 'tough on the real pros'.
She said: 'I know seasoned designers who do Chelsea and they lose sleep worrying whether their garden will be built on time and on budget and
whether plants will flower too soon or late.
'To put a complete amateur designer in there on their own would be terrifying for them.
'I am sure the BBC will have set the winner up with people who have the inside track.
'But giving a BBC-edited idea that 'anyone can do it' seems disingenuous to me and potentially dumbs down a highly demanding profession.
'I'm all for minorities getting a look-in at what sometimes appears to be a bit of a closed shop event but in this case, the exclusivity comes more from the extraordinary demands of the task than anything else.'
The RHS said that the winner's plot is not being allocated at the expense of professional designers as their garden, like Titchmarsh's last year,
will not be part of the official Chelsea judging process.
And Society of Garden Designers chair Juliet Sargeant welcomed the competition as a 'wonderful opportunity' for new talent.
She said: 'We are always looking to engage and support new talent.
'We are pleased that the RHS will be working with mentors to help the winner reach the high standard of a Main Avenue garden at Chelsea.'
On behalf of the RHS and BBC, a RHS spokeswoman said: 'We're passionate about bringing gardening to a wider audience and also inspiring more people to begin a career in the wonderful world of horticulture.
'This RHS and BBC partnership will see one amateur garden designer fulfil a lifetime dream to create a garden feature at RHS Chelsea and reach out to whole new audiences. 'The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge contestants all went through a thorough selection process, which an RHS judge partook in. 'The programmes celebrate the immense skill, passion and talent that even amateur designers have and incredible gardens they can create.'

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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watching the programme at the moment.

It's a breath of fresh air. None of the hopefuls seem to be following current fashions. Thumbs up.

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely, any competition that relies for success on the opinion of others is totally meaningless? Olympic Diving, XFactor, Eurovision, Miss World, Masterchef, and even down to the local horse and dog shows, all will produce different results if assessed by a different set of judges so any expression of quality - 'Good', 'Best' etc - will be totally arbitrary. Popularity can be measured but, as with music and art, one man's good is another man's rubbish so Chelsea has no real significance whatsoever.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if those judges are highly respected and acknowledged as being the best in their field........
Every competition has rules that can have a subjective opinion to be interpreted by the officials, the competitors just have to go with the flow such is the nature of the game,

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