FLOWER FLUFF-UP

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - KEY TO SUCCESS -

WHEN his fi­nan­cial backer for the Chelsea Flower Show pulled out at the 11th hour, Char­lie Al­bone went with his in­stinct, and bluffed.

“I told a lit­tle bit of a porky pie and said I had spon­sor­ship, that it would all be all right,” Al­bone says.

“I had to ring all my con­tacts and luck­ily the Husq­varna group came to the res­cue at the last mo­ment.”

Al­bone isn’t al­lowed to say how much “it” was, but an av­er­age en­try at what he calls “the Olympics of land­scape de­sign” costs about $750,000. “I, of course, used my

Selling Houses bud­get­nu­ance to do it a bit cheaper than that,” he says. “The gar­den that was next to us was a Dubai gar­den, and they had an un­lim­ited bud­get, so, when you’re next to that, it’s test­ing.”

The Selling Houses Aus­tralia co-host made a splash with his gar­den de­sign. It is a peace­ful place where he imag­ines he could catch up with his late fa­ther. In it, Al­bone com­bined Aus­tralian and English plants, and he won a Sil­ver- Gilt medal for his ef­forts.

The an­nual event, which sells out months in ad­vance, usu­ally at­tracts celebrity and royal guests each year. Ex­cept this year.

“Sadly, it poured with rain,” Al­bone says “Let’s just say the best celebrity I had in the gar­den was Holly Valance. She and her bil­lion­aire hus­band were very kind about the gar­den. And the Prince of Kent came too, which was nice. I got to show him the gar­den.”

CHAR­LIE’S CHELSEA GAR­DEN WithAn­naBrain

WED­NES­DAY, 8.30PM, LIFESTYLE

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