On a whim, Mike Spezzano entered his crazily exotic courtyard plot in a BBC garden contest. He writes what happened next
EIGHT YEARS AGO I started to transform my small country-style garden just behind the former German Hospital in Dalston into an exotic garden.
My inspiration came from countries I’ve visited where you find yourself surrounded by palms, bananas and other exotic plants. I wanted somewhere relaxing to sit and enjoy a packet of Cheetos and a cold Fanta on the kind of balmy evening Londoners have lately been enjoying.
Out went roses and lupins, in came ferns, palms and bananas.My goal was to design a garden that stimulated the senses and inspired visitors.Even though it’s a small space I wanted them to have to brush past leaves or duck under plants to move around it and see everything.
Now I have an ideal opportunity to show what you can grow in little urban plots.BBC2’s Gardener’s World recently launched its Every Space Counts contest, to discover the UK’s best small gardens. I sent four photographs of my effort and the judges liked it. They liked it a lot because out of about 2,000 entries, I made the final five.
A few weeks ago I spent a cold and damp yet exciting day in my garden with a TV film crew. Six hours were magically cut to three minutes and were aired in yesterday’s Friday 20 April 2018 episode of GW (available on BBC iPlayer).
It’s not as glam as say the finals of Strictly Come Dancing or Eurovision. But as someone with two left feet, a voice that’s more Gordon Brown than James Brown, and looking more like Mahatma Gandhi than David Gandy, I reckoned this was the only competition I might stand a chance of winning. No prizes; just the kudos of having an award-winning garden. If I lose? Well, I’ll have an almost-award-winning garden.
Who wins? You decide. The public will vote and the winner will be announced during a live GW on Friday 15 June 2018 at 1pm. Voting opens once all five entries have been shown, probably in the middle of next month, May 2018. You’ll also be able to watch the replay once it’s been posted.
* The writer is a financial controller in the City of London.
* Main pictures © David.Altheer [at] gmail.com
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