Gran’s Chelsea Flower Show bid after Harrods deal

Garden designer Sheena Seeks. Picture: Neil Hanna
Garden designer Sheena Seeks. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A GRANDMOTHER is hoping to enjoy the sweet smell of success at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show after being chosen to design the first ever show garden for Harrods.

The exclusive department store’s Fragrance Garden highlights the science of creating scents from flowers. Award-winning garden designer Sheena Seeks will showcase roses, violets and lavender whose oils are commonly extracted to make perfumes.

Mother-of-three and grandmother Sheena, 64, was a struggling sculptor and children’s book illustrator for years while bringing up her family.

She only graduated in garden design in 2008 and is faintly incredulous at her meteoric rise since her late career change.

Last year, judges declared her quarry design the best conceptual garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Now she is aiming to go one better by winning the same category for Harrods at the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship Chelsea show.

One side of her garden will boast natural flowers enclosed in acrylic laboratory beakers and test tubes, which reappear on the other side transformed into giant paper blooms.

Sheena said: “Harrods wanted a garden to do with perfume and so I decided to research perfume making. One side of the garden is going to look like a perfume laboratory, inspired by the processes where flowers are embedded into wax or have their oils extracted to capture their scent. The paper flowers represent the science of turning natural flowers into something man made, artificial flowers.”

Perfume has been sold at Harrods for over 100 years but new technology means shoppers can now isolate their favourite single scents to create personal, unique fragrances.

Sheena said: “Designing this garden has given me the freedom to explore the idea of the garden as a space where nature meets technology. I was very flattered to be invited by Harrods. It is wonderful, a lot of fun and a fantastic opportunity.”

Sheena, who lives in Portobello, said she was inspired by walks on the beach there.

She graduated from Edinburgh Art College in 1983, but it wasn’t until she won a competition to design a show garden for a local garden centre in 2007 that she embarked on a two-year diploma in garden design at the Royal Botanic Garden.

The mother-of-three said: “For many years, I was bringing up the kids and struggling. But things really took off when I took up garden design.”

Harrods’ Deborah Bee said: “We wanted something that was elegant, contemporary, conceptual and that would incorporate unusual technology. [Sheena] has gone way beyond the brief. We were amazed.”