Wednesday, 25 May 2016

British Eccentricity on show at Chelsea

If Heath Robinson were alive today he would probably feel right at home in the Harrods British Eccentrics Garden. Spinning trees, shrubs that bob up and down, a flower border rotating around an octagonal folly, window boxes repositioning themselves and a roof that tips its hat!  

Diarmuid Gavin the brains behind the garden excels at the unconventional. In 2011, he designed a garden which he suspended 82 ft in the air!  In 2012, he recreated Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree, see previous post here. This year he pays homage to English cartoonist William Heath Robinson. “I like to have a bit of fun and try something new,” he explains.    

Heath Robinson best known for his cartoons of fantastically complicated machines died in 1944, but his madcap inventions have never been forgotten. To describe something as Heath Robinson is to portray something complicated in a funny way which is not particularly practical. The British Eccentrics Garden may not be practical, but it is certainly funny.

Imagine your surprise if you found yourself walking through this garden;



I agree with Diarmuid this garden sums up everything that is wonderful about Britain.  You don’t have to be mad to live here, but it certainly helps! This is British eccentricity at its very best.


William Heath Robinson pictured at his desk in 1929 via 

46 comments:

  1. Certainly a different garden but somewhat labour saving perhaps? You could stand in one place to trim each bush and let the flowers come to you to be dead headed.
    Thanks Barbara, doubt I would have seen that without your blog.
    John

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  2. Morning John,
    the garden was on BBC breakfast on Monday morning. Carol the weather girl was at Chelsea & she and Diarmuid had a dance in front of the rotating trees. It really lifted my spirits, and I was determined to share it. The post was done in a bit of a rush, so I hope it reads OK. I like the idea of the flowers coming to me. I could sit with a cup of tea and pluck the occasional dead bloom. It’s great to be British don’t you think?

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  3. What a smashing post. i love everything about the garden and think it would make a wonderful area for children as well. A little bit of magic in the everyday.
    Jean
    x

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    1. Hello Jean,
      It amused me no end, so I just had to share.
      We all need a little magic.
      Thanks for your visit. xx

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  4. I LOVE IT! Magical! I wish I could have a garden just like it somewhere in my landscape. Pure enchantment...
    Barbara, what an ingenious post!Thank you for such a treat.

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    1. I love it too Colleen, how wonderful it would be to sit in that garden.
      xx

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    2. It would be a glorious place to have tea, a picnic,sip some Southern Comfort... We could sit still because the garden is in motion.Enchanting! Thank you for a lovely blog post,Barbara!

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    3. Great idea Colleen we could expand on it a little by incorporating John's idea of doing the dead heading, while sipping our Southern Comfort. Actually, we should probably have Pims and cucumber sandwiches! Don’t forget to bring along a straw hat in case the sun comes out.

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    4. Straw picture hats are de rigeur for sipping Southern Comfort and certainly appropriate for Pimms and cucumber sandwiches. What fun all the "work" would be play-even if we were tipsy from the drinks and the sun!Of course the sun would come out for us!

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    5. How lovely it all sounds and I really do think the sun would shine! :)

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  5. We just saw this in TV. It is quite amazing!!

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    1. I saw it on TV too Darlene, and fell instantly in love.

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  6. Good evening my dear!

    I have been swamped with grading final papers since school is finishing in one week. I haven't had a chance to run away to my favorite blogs, but here I am, my first stop.

    What better way to enter into the whimsical season of spring and summer than to come here to see this enchanting garden! A LIVE GARDEN, in more than one way! I love this. It's better than Disneyland, it's British, it's natural and just enough to leave you enchanted.

    Thank you so much as well for visiting my Instagram!

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    1. Hello Anita,
      I enjoy visiting your Instagram account because your photographs are simply beautiful. I know how busy you are, and I appreciate your kind words on my blog and your friendship.

      I’m not sure my little granddaughters would agree with it being better than Disneyland, but I know exactly what you mean.

      Thanks again. x

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  7. This garden looks like a ton of fun. Love the moving parts. I haven't seen a garden like it before- so it is magical and unique! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. My pleasure Stephanie, thank you for taking the time to look. Barbara x

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  8. It's just simply magical. I love it.

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    1. I love it too Donna. Diarmuid is very creative, and his gardens are always special.

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  9. What a great piece of marketing for Harrod's, too. Shows that advertising doesn't have to be annoying radio ads and pesky pop-up banners!

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    1. Hello Sue, I thought of you when I chose the video. It felt like ‘gentle’ advertising to me, and as you say much better than those pop-up things.

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  10. Oh my goodness, how wonderful. As others have said, totally magical. I'm in awe.

    On a different note, I've tagged you on Pen and Paper Barbara should you wish to play along.

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    1. That sounds exciting Tracy thank you, I will be over directly. x

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  11. I love it too. My Dad used to do things in the house and garage etc which were rather Heath Robinson like, however they always worked, even though they didn't look particularly stylish!

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    1. My dad called his repairs ‘temporary permanent’ meaning they would do until he had time to do full stop. I think our parents were so used to making do and mending that it became second nature to them. I don’t think there was anything dad couldn’t fix.

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  12. Sounds magical. On my list of places to visit.

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  13. Hi human, Barbara,

    British eccentricity at its quintessentially pawesome best! My human, Gary, is very familiar with the Chelsea Flower Show. He should be because he was born in Chelsea, just off the King's Road.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny! :)

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    1. Hello Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

      I’m rather envious of Gary being so familiar with Chelsea. London is a bit of a mystery to me, a place to visit from time to time but nothing more than that.

      Hugs to you and Gary

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  14. Such a wonderful garden, I would love to go there.Thank you so much for sharing it Barbara :)

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    1. Hi Aunt Mary, I enjoyed sharing it, thank you for looking. Have a great weekend.

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  15. How can anyone possibly loath this? It's fabulous! I love the roof-hat, the figurine drinking tea (while riding a bike?), and the glorious flowers. It had me by the third scene actually--the one featuring the garden roses.

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    1. Hello Claudine, loath was probably the wrong word to use. I think it would be difficult to dislike something so pretty and full of fun, but maybe it wouldn’t appeal to everyone.
      Heath Robinson drew lots of contraptions, bicycles, cars, hot-air balloons and so on, and they all seemed to have more than one function. Often a bicycle did everything other than transport a person from place to place. I think that was what Diarmuid Gavin was suggesting with his garden and the figure of the person on a bicycle. Of course, I could be wrong! :-)

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  16. Just a quickie......This is the best bit of the whole show......(if it opens).

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-27/chelsea-flower-show's-red-carpet-of-poppies-a-'personal-tribute'/7450754

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    1. It did open Willie, and I have to say I agree with you. It's amazing and such a lovely tribute. Hope you have been taking care of yourself today. We are not as young as we used to be. :)

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    2. Just watching it at the moment....
      There announcing the viewers award...!
      Voted for by the viewers...Then over to
      BBC2 for another hours worth..Brilliant,
      l love it, you see flowers/plants where
      they belong..growing in the ground, having
      a full and happy life...Not stuck in some
      vase somewhere, trying to survive! and having
      their lives reduced by a half...Naughty people
      who do it...HeHe! :).

      Thanks for the lovely e~mail Barbara..They told
      me, l'd feel like a new man...I told them....No!
      I was'nt that way inclined..! :).
      I feel like a million dollars now....ALL green and
      crinkly!!! :0).
      Thanks again....!x

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    3. Well now, I really should get myself in front of the TV. BBC2 you say, I will go there directly. Oh dear I have a bunch of flowers sitting in a vase in my front room. I got them because my sister was visiting, and I wanted the place to look nice for her, feel guilty now.

      Lovely to hear you are feeling like a million dollars. You had me worried there! Don’t go going mad now, no highland flings (or whatever the Sicilian equivalent is) around the garden. :-)

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    4. The 'Tarantella'. If we ever meet,
      l'll show you how it's done, though,
      lt'll be on uTube somewhere.

      (poor flowers).

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    5. I will look forward to that. :)

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  17. What a delightful garden! Thanks for giving us a little peek at this magical display. Although nothing like it, for some reason it reminds me of the Disney movie: UP.

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    1. Hi Marcia, I’ve not seen UP so can’t suggest a reason why you might be reminded of it. Maybe the film is a little crazy like the garden?

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  18. Your flowers looked lovely Sister so do not feel guilty. Love this blog and love that garden - how clever some people are! I have done another 3 pots today and my neighbour tells me our front garden is just like the Chelsea Flower show - I think not! x

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    1. Hi Sue, I don’t often have cut flowers but wanted the house to look nice for you. I'm pleased you liked them.
      That was a nice compliment, and I’m sure your neighbour is right.

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  19. So completely beautiful! I hope all is well with you Barbara, I'm so behind on blog-post-reading, it's ridiculous! ♥

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    1. I’m really well thanks Yvonne, hope you are also. I know just what you mean about getting behind with blogs, there are so many to enjoy, but it does get difficult to keep up with them all. I hope to catch up a bit while I’m on my blogging break.

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  20. Hi Barbara what an amazing piece of gardening. Last year they had the mad hatters tea party garden and pooh's little garden in the Hampton court flower show. I don't think I will be going this year. I would love t o though

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    1. Hello Shashi, it's wonderful isn’t it? I love Diarmuid Gavin’s crazy sense of humour. He is ever so slightly daft but brilliant with it! I would love to visit the Hampton court flower show. I must look and see when it is. Thanks for coming over.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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