We were watching a programme about this year’s Chelsea Flower Show (the biggest and most prestigious in the country) last night when up popped a piece about Birmingham. Not what you’d normally associate with greenery and gardening, perhaps (although the city boasts lots of green space and some lovely parks) but they seem to do well at the Show year after year. Last year saw them win their fourth gold medal, and this year they’re at it again with a garden based around a theme of sporting involvement, whilst show-casing the amazing craft of Willard Wigan.
Wigan is a local artist who has won fame around the world for his miniature sculptures. Often depicting local scenes or famous people (Shakespeare, for example), these fit inside the eye of a needle and are so tiny you need a magnifying glass to see them. Tiny, but utterly beautiful.
Of course, the garden doesn’t feature microscopic sculptures. Instead, they’ve gone for a theme involving giant needles, plus some iconic images that have featured in Wigan’s past work. There’s a magnificent humming bird supping nectar from a giant red flower, together with wicker statues of well-known sporting heroes, water features, and of course, lots and lots of colourful plants. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure what Mo Farrar and Usain Bolt have to do with Birmingham, but the overall effect is striking and I’m delighted to see Wigan given credit for his wonderful work.