David Coton was delighted to recently meet with Frank Honald, President and Owner of Henri Studio USA, who had flown in from Chicago to discuss the opportunity of bringing their products back into the UK next year.
Hand crafted cast stone ornaments are a superb addition to any garden and Chilstone have been creating top quality architectural stonework since the 1950s, David Coton recently paid a visit to their Kent HQ to discover the techniques that have made their products so successful.
Chilstone's busy workshop is set in 35 acres of woodland with beautiful show gardens opened to the public by Alan Titchmarsh in 2007. There you'll find an array of temples, bird baths, sundials, benches, fountains and benches, all created by hand using Chilstone's unique reconstituted stone.
Although extremely popular in the Victorian era, manufacturing ornaments with composite stone had died out until Michael Dibben, the founder of Chilstone re-invented the process.
Now, Chilstone products can be seen throughout the world, for example at Hammenhog in Sweden and Japan's Barakura Gardens, and in this country's great gardens including Kew, Hever and Warwick castles, and Kensington Palace.
Easily distinguished from mass produced ornaments, Chilstone products are entirely hand made with great attention to detail. They possess a finish identical to carved stone and are often based on the work of great designers and classical subjects.
Colour and texture closely resembles fine quarried stone, and the composition of the reconstituted stone encourages moss and lichen to enhance its appearance, developing an attractive patina and aged appearance that blends into the landscape.
Interestingly, Chilstone ornaments and statuary that have acquired sufficient character increase in value and can be seen as an investment as well as a beautiful garden enhancement.
Chilstone products also make wonderful gifts to mark a special occasion or to commemorate an anniversary, perhaps marked with an inscription or bearing a plaque, and the whole Chilstone range can be found on GardenSite.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2020.
Sustainability and a growing awareness of wildlife are two of the key gardening trends identified by the Royal Horticultural Society for 2020, with gardeners in a position where they can make a substantial impact regarding environmental issues.
Gardening is such a popular activity with interest only increasing over recent years that the magazine rack in your local newsagent or supermarket is packed with publications offering inspiration and practical advice.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is dull and overcast, David Coton suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.