Pitlochry’s DIY garden gets Caroline a spot at the big RHS show

A garden in front of Pitlochry was the healing space for a woman who felt at a personal crossroads – and her incredible self-taught green fingers earned her a place representing Scotland in one of Britain’s finest flower shows.

Caroline Bavey (46) was invited to judge the day at the Chelsea Flower Show last weekend and will be the only Scottish member of a team of six to present a community garden show at the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July. .

Caroline has no horticultural background, but found her gift for planting when Covid and a marital separation saw her alone in her home in Pitlochry with seeds to plant and, for the first time in decades, time within reach. but no.

His early childhood was complicated, but now, like his garden, it is flourishing positively.

Caroline said: “I moved to Pitlochry when I was 15, away from my family.

“I enrolled in college while working because I had no parents to help.

“My life could have gone two ways, after leaving home so young, but I’ve always been determined and focused on doing my best, I wouldn’t let life beat me again.

“I took a job in sales and marketing and my office career started from there.

“I moved to London when I met my husband and I have been there for 11 years, I had my two children and I wanted to return to Pitlochry for a better life and to be able to offer more to the girls.

“And here we come up to 2019, I separated from my husband and suffered from severe depression.

Caroline started growing seed plants

“In 2020 Covid-19 took the world by storm and I was eventually fired from my job as a purchasing and logistics manager. I know for most of the people the lockdown was really hard, but for me it couldn’t have come sooner. I had the space to breathe I needed.

I was trying to protect my girls from how I felt, trying to be the best mom possible for them, but after closing and turning off the lockdown, I walked every possible square inch of Pitlochry, my attention turned to my old man. and tired garden that hadn’t had love spent on it. I had dedicated the last 18 years exclusively to my children, now I have had time to cultivate something else “.

Caroline saw that her mostly retired neighbors had lovely gardens, while her rotten floor in front wasn’t pretty.

“My house is down the street,” he admitted. “I tore off part of the wooden deck and made my first back edge.

Bubble wrap recycled greenhouse kicked off Caroline, until she was blown away by winter storms
Bubble wrap recycled greenhouse kicked off Caroline, until she was blown away by winter storms

“I had a makeshift greenhouse made of weird pieces of wood, nets, plastic from the furniture and a roll of bubble wrap, it wasn’t pretty but it worked wonders.

“2021 was the time when I decided I needed more. It was then that I decided to take the rest of the deck and totally place it in a planned garden.

“Little by little he joined. I spent all my free time in what had become my ‘wellness’ garden. During the second block I learned so many new skills, reading about plants and farming, watching YouTube videos about gardening and how to use power tools, which became my newfound love.

“Most of the things in the garden are homemade or free and recycled. I try to reuse as much as possible since the funds are limited, so I have to find economic ideas “.

During the severe thunderstorms of October last year, Caroline lost her trusty makeshift greenhouse.

“I was lucky enough to have a cheap greenhouse in February and that’s when I started growing for the new borders I had made right around the house,” she said.

“Then I heard from one of my social media groups that I had been selected to star in a show garden for Hampton Court Show Garden.

“There are six of us, we live around the UK, we are cultivating things for the team, but I am the only one in Scotland.

“It was pretty hard work to work full time. I didn’t really think about how much work was going to be involved. “

Wonderful Flowering - The old bridge wood has been turned into a winding path, Caroline Bavey has filled the space around with native annuals and continued to put in her pond
Wonderful Flowering – The old bridge wood has been turned into a winding path, Caroline has filled the space around with native annuals and continued to put in her pond

The chance to try her hand alongside the best gardeners at the show near London was a huge boost for hardworking Caroline.

She said: “This kind of thing doesn’t happen to normal people like me and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m super excited to get there.

“Then a couple of weeks ago I was invited as a guest to come to Chelsea to judge the everyday, a double wow. I feel privileged and very grateful ”.

The opportunity is an expensive affair: two trips to London, staying close to the Hampton Court Festival from July 4th to 9th, and expensive items like the large quantities of compost for its garden exhibits and transporting the plants there.

But the resourceful mom has put together a plan.

He revealed: “I created a GoFundMe page to help with costs. So far, around £ 300 of the £ 2000 I will need has been donated.

“Then I got the idea of ​​selling my spare seedlings.”

A plant sale from Caroline's stock seedlings helped raise a few pounds to help with her Hampton Court Festival expenses
A plant sale from Caroline’s stock seedlings helped raise a few pounds to help with her Hampton Court Festival expenses

Caroline held a plant sale two weekends ago and the people of Pitlochry flocked to her garden to purchase her potted plants, with over £ 300 delivered for the garden fence.

She revealed: “Opening my garden and sharing the journey with strangers was a great experience.

“My garden and block helped me in a very dark time in my life, they really saved me, in more ways than one.

“Hearing the news just a couple of weeks ago that I received an invitation to do a garden show at Hampton Court lifted my spirits enormously.”

There is a link here for Caroline GoFundMe’s appeal: https://gofund.me/07f97reste

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