At this years Chelsea Flower Show, Mark Gregory, an established landscaper was one of several RHS show judges exhibiting, who won a gold medal. Gregory’s gold was for a nice little courtyard garden for the Children’s Society.
The garden was meticulously put together, but in design terms, was nothing that I wouldn’t have expect from one of my student’s first design projects. Surprising then, that it got a gold despite the fact that it was nothing particularly special.
In the press this month questions have been raised about next years Chelsea Flower Show and the fact the chairman of the show judges, intends to build his second garden and is currently looking for sponsorship.
Forgive my scepticism, but if I was a sponsor with a couple of hundred grand to spend, this would seem to me, the horticultural equivalent of looking a gift horse in the mouth!
How can the remaining RHS show judges possibly assess this garden in a fair and unbiased fashion? The whole thing reeks of the old boy network and wouldn’t be tolerated in any other industry.
Without exception, every competition I can find, the rules clearly state that no employees or family of employees are permitted to enter and whilst the judges are volunteers, with hundreds of thousands of pounds in sponsorship and TV deals at stake, this clearly is a conflict of interest and the sooner the RHS wakes up to the fact the better.
What do you think? Should judges be able to enter their own competitions?