We enjoyed producing the following gardens, and were happy to receive the following awards.
2000: RHS Hampton Court Show Garden – Silver Gilt
“There were gardens for plantsmen and women, too. Top marks to the Silver Garden, designed by May & Watts Garden Design, with its magical silver dome washed by water which then tumbles down galvanised chains. As Anne McKevitt, of Home Front in the Garden fame says, “It’s such a simple idea doing two things at once: it’s somewhere to sit and to admire.”
“We went for silver because there was so much of it in the shops. Gardens are a part of the fashion scene now,” says Mark Watts. The Grey borders are certainly enjoyable, dashed with colour reminiscent of Gertrude Jekyl and mixing Convolvulus cneorum andLychnis coronaria ‘Alba’ and Lychnis coronaria ‘Angel’s Blush‘ with Artemesia pontica in subtly changing hues”.
The Times Weekend – Saturday July 8 2000 – Rachel Kelly
2002: RHS Hampton Court Show Garden – Silver
This show garden, designed by May & Watts Garden Design, was a real treat for the senses. Sponsored by Interloire, this creation was a celebration of the AOC wines of Anjou, Saumur and Touraine regions in the Loire. Not only was the garden glorious to look at but there was an abundance of different scents that hinted at the fragrance of the Loire wine itself. Visitors were encouraged to do more than simply drink in the sight of the display. By exploring the design in depth, people were treated to a ‘sensory journey’.
The subtle L-shaped pool constituted the water feature in this garden. A representation of the Loire River, this calming yet contemporary design added texture with its shimmering and soothing appearance. Bordering the pool was a bounty of foliage and aromatic flowers which added splashes of colour. More texture was achieved via gravel that had been infused with herbs and a stroll down this released a discreet scent that mixed perfectly with the fragrances that already tinged the air.
Essential Watergarden – September 2002
2003: RHS Hampton Court Show Garden – Silver
A garden reflecting all the colours and flavours of wines in the Loire Valley has led to a Hartfield-based company winning a RHS silver medal at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Diana May and Mark Watts started designing the garden, which included plants provided by Perryhill Nurseries Ltd in Hartfield, back in the spring.
Wadhurst-based Heritage Landscapes built the garden at Hampton court and it also included a “space age pod” made by Ashurst Wood blacksmith Eric Lamprell. This is the third time the partners, who set up May & Watts Garden Design in Edenbridge Road over 10 years ago, have taken part in the Hampton Court show.
Last year the company was also awarded a silver medal for a similar garden which represented the wines of the Loire Valley. Diana said: “We were asked again to design a garden that would reflect the colours and flavours of wines in the Loire Valley, and we are absolutely thrilled to receive a silver medal.”
Red, pink and white plants were used to represent the wines and the garden included a modern gazebo with perspex top. Dotted throughout the garden were scented herbs like ginger mint, apple mint and pineapple mint.
The path swept round the plants to represent the River Loire flowing through the valley and there was black limestone at the entrance and exit which was filled with slate. Diana said: “It took about three or four months to plan but it was great. We had a lot of media coverage at the show and loads of people came up to us saying how great the garden looked. There is a 99 per cent chance that we will be going back next year”.
East Grinstead Courier, July 17 2003 – Paul Bishop
2004: RHS Hampton Court Show Garden – Silver Gilt
Veteran crooner and vineyard owner Cliff Richard was so impressed by one booze themed Hampton Court show garden he snapped it up for his Portugese home. Sir Cliff bought the 2.4m (8ft) fountain in the shape of three glasses, from the Loire Valley show garden. It will take centre stage at the singing legend’s second home, a winery in Quinta Do Moinha in the Algarve.
Loire Valley’s Chris Skyrme, said “He loved the garden so much he bought half of it – the water feature and 12 urns as well.” Created by Sussex-based May & Watts Garden Design, the feature shows water pouring down three acrylic glasses, 2.4m (8ft), 1.8m (6ft) and 1.2m (4ft) tall.
Sir Cliff spotted the feature when he visited the show in July with pal, TV presenter Gloria Hunniford. Chris refused to reveal how much the star paid for the feature. He said “He put a firm bid in on the VIP day, which is good as it attracted an awful lot of interest after that. We had a lot of queries – in fact, there may be some more of the design commissioned.”
The show garden, the third Loire Valley, improved on two previous silvers with a silver gilt. The fountain is powered by three sub aqua pumps, each with an adjustable valve to control the sprays. It sits in a 2m sq (21 sq ft) pool, 60cm (2ft) deep and lined with black pebbles. It’s concrete with a black-dye rendering, capped with limestone paving.”
Essential Watergarden – September 2004