A Celebration of Touring at The Chelsea Flower Show

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The Caravan Club has named 2012 'A Celebration of Touring' in order to celebrate caravanning and motorhoming and the joys and benefits that it brings to hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

As part of the celebrations The Club is very pleased to be working with garden designer, Jo Thompson, on a 'Staycation' inspired garden called 'A Celebration of Caravanning' at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The garden will promote the benefits of holidaying in the UK and will highlight the enjoyment of touring to a wider audience, promoting both the pleasures of caravanning and The Caravan Club, to the thousands of visitors that will be attending the show between 22 -26 May 2012.

Lawrence Bate, Director of Marketing for The Caravan Club, says, "Caravanning is a very British pursuit, and what better year than 2012 to fly the flag for touring and enjoying England. 2012 will see many visitors to the UK and a caravan or motorhome is a viable accommodation option, which is both flexible and affordable."

He continues; "The Club already represents over a million members who recognise the positive aspects of touring but The Club hopes that by supporting this garden more people will gain insight into this wonderful leisure pursuit."

Taking part in such a high profile event will also give The Caravan Club a great opportunity to talk to the national media about the thousands of beautiful gardens across the British Isles, many of which have Club sites nearby. I, for one, am very excited about The Club having such a fantastic presence at such a prestigious and respected event, especially with an extremely talented designer (who has a personal passion for caravans) representing The Club's interest. I'm sure it will hugely benefit The Club as a whole and I can't wait to find out how the garden does at the show and view the end result.

About Jo

Jo started her career in garden design in 2005. She is recognised for her unique planting design skills and has been named as one of the 10 rising stars in garden design by House and Garden magazine. She is also a visiting tutor at the London College of Garden Design.

Jo's no stranger to the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2010 Jo was awarded a gold medal and Best Urban Garden in show for her 'Unexpected Gardener', a courtyard garden for the charity Thrive, and, with her love of caravans, she is the perfect designer to be representing the Club at the Chelsea Flower Show.

About our Garden

The Caravan Club's 'Celebration of Caravanning' garden combines the latest colours and planting trends with a practical and useable space. It takes inspiration from a bygone era, of nostalgic family caravanning holidays, a very British past time. This is the first time that a caravan has appeared at the Chelsea Flower show, and The Caravan Club want people to see caravans and caravanning in a different light.

A liberal use of pink and cream roses and peonies soften a fairly geometric and simple layout which is based around a vintage caravan at the far end of the garden.

"This garden was always intended to be a real garden," Jo says. "A place that people could identify with, recreate at home, a space that you might find at the bottom of your own garden. I hope people find it welcoming with familiar and traditional plants arranged in a fresh way."

Working with UK craftsmen, Jo's designs for a water rill, to cool bottles of English sparkling wine, oak benches and a dog kennel echoing the shape of the 1950's caravan are important British-made details in the garden. As are the cut flowers grown on a smallholding in Somerset which will decorate the interior of the caravan.

I am pleased to announce Jo has agreed to give us regular updates on Club Together, allowing us to follow the progress of The Caravan Club garden. Jo will also be giving us some helpful hints and tips on what we should be doing in our own gardens, invaluable advice from a top designer exclusive to Club Together.

Photos shown are of The Caravan Club garden design and Jo out and about caravanning.


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i am flabergasted  at what cost to the caravan club and will the outlay of this  be published will members get free or reduced tickets not that with fuel/pitch costs redundacys and the financial situations many would be able to afford a trip to show .finally who decides how moey is spent i can not recall voting to sponcer such an expensive show

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I agree with Jan, although I'm not surprised that yet another chunk of Member's subscriptions is being wasted by the Marketing Department. They have a rare talent for spending other people's money. After I changed my 'van insurance away from the Club (after 25 years), they bombarded me with Junk Mail shots for several months trying to "advise me" on the value of CC insurance. Scrapping this Department would save member's funds to the tune of several million pounds and the sooner, the better.

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This seems to be yet another elitist venture just like the Ball. Perhaps under the freedom of information act we can find out how much this event is costing us the Members. No doubt there will be all sort of junketing going on there with Committee and Management members and partners getting tickets and reception invites. The world that the Management and those that direct the direction of the club seem to inhabit seems to be miles away from the majority of ordinary members.

Another big waste of money to what result? Floods of new members to swell our coffers or invites to the few to other such events


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what a lot of moaners !!!  Some of us love chelsea AND gardening, I would have been more pleased if they had actually found a caravanner to design it though (sorry Jo !) I would adore to have a vintage caravan as a feature in my garden but I would need a crane to get it in ! Ours takes up a lot of the front drive and I do have a screen of globe buddleas on one side to make it less obvious though. Yes the tickets are expensive but my husband paid a hell of a lot more for a ticket to the Open !!! 


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I confess to being disappointed by this design, I hoped it would have more realistic tips for us who keep our caravans at home, but this is nothing more than a caravan used as an alternative to a summerhouse, a semi permanent structure in a garden. It promotes "staycations" as "stay at home" not tour in this country, I know times are hard but this seems a defeatist attitude !


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I agree Firedragon, the design does come off as being a playhouse in the garden rather than a tourer.  I cannot see how this is promoting our pastime to the masses who attend Chelsea.

Sorry Lawrence (Bates) don't see how this " flies the flag for touring and enjoying England". Or how "many visitors to the UK will see a caravan or motorhome is a viable accommodation option, which is both flexible and affordable". 

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Agree with the members comments. HO seems to be creating an empire but at the expense of the core aims of the club. We see waste on this,new flashy packs etc., but on opening day the ceiling in the toilets at Grassington had fallen in. Get your priorities right in these hard times.

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In any club you never please all of the members all of the time and the most you can hope for is to please some of them some of the time. You can bet whichever site you go to you will find someone who loves it and someone who CAN'T or WON'T stop moaning. Just reading the comments posted on Club Together on every topic illustrates this.  ( No dogs ! No children! No leaving at 12.00! No wardens! No garden at Chelsea! No need to spell correctly!  just to name a few views I have read)   That's life.

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Just read all these postings about the C.C. garden at Chelsea. I agree with Firedragon,the show is a great event albeit very expensive and mostly extremely difficult to get around. However, I'm on the side  of those who feel that this is a very unnecessary waste of our resources given that club costs are always going up.What has been the cost of this extravaganza...can anyone tell me? My guess £30-50,000. The C.C. is well known and if it's a P.R.stunt, regardless of how pleasant it is...then sorry,it's not necessary.Anyone wanting to make caravaning/motorhoming their leisure activity,they will do it whether the CC.is represented at Chelsea or not.


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I like the annual Chelsea Show and all it stands for and without support from sponsors we'd all be the poorer in many ways. Whether it's the best bang for the CCs buck I'm not too certain as it appears from the drawings that the the brief to Jo hasn't been as good or helpful as it could be. As others have said the design appears to use a caravan as an alternative summer house, which is all very well but it doesn't address the basics of the CCs raison d'etre which is to help and support caravanners and caravan touring.

Jo would have done much better to go for a design which would help thousands of caravan owners understand how they can live more pleasantly with a highly visible large white box on their drive. I'm sure a professional designer could come up with lots of innovative ideas about how to hide or disguise such an intrusive element in the suburban landscape and help ease neighbourly tensions over what can be a divisive and inflammatory issue.

So a missed opportunity I think CC. The same as the rejection of my suggestion that you allow local college trainee garden designers and horticulturalists loose on nearby CC sites to allow them to stretch their wings and bring innovation and interest to your sites. 

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I agree with Steamdrivenandy...it would be a real opportunity to allow  budding garden designers from local horticultural colleges to enhance our CC.sites but I would have liked to see a local college have the opportunity to design for the CC at the Chelsea garden show. What an exciting chance that would be for some up and coming designers.

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My suggest was actually twofold.

The first idea was that selected club sites with potential that have low occupancy early in the season should try out planting up and running a crocus, narcissus or tulip festival. These can attract thousands when held in stately homes or similar and would encourage additional bookings just to spend a few days amongst a glorious floral display. All it would takeis some design brainpower and some planting during the 'off' season.

The second part was that selected sites could offer space to new garden designers at local colleges to actually have the possibility of their design being built. The Club could be as brave and as innovative or as traditional as it wished, the important thing is that they would be designing to a brief for a plot. The CC could stipulate minimal maintenance, blending in, standing out, disguising structures, native species, facilitating caravan use, removing regimentation, redesigning waterpoints etc, etc the possibilities are endless, the students would relish the challenge and new ideas tested.

On both counts I was told that sites didn't have time for such things and all sites had to do the same. How debilitatingly boring is that? The Caravan Club and McDonalds everything the same always.

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