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Spotlight to shine bright on crafts and gardens at this year's Devon County Show

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Spotlight to shine bright on crafts and gardens at this year's Devon County Show

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The spotlight will shine brightly and musically on the Crafts & Gardens Marquee this year at Devon County Show.  

An installation, featuring a grand piano bedecked with flowers and in a woodland setting, is to be masterminded by Plantsmen, Horticulturalist, Florist and Show Garden designer, Kenny Raybould.

The installation will measure 5 x 5m and will be one of the centre pieces of the huge marquee - the largest on the showground.

Kenny Raybould from Grown That Way will be creating a show-stopping garden incorporating a grand piano in the crafts & gardens marquee at Devon County Show

Kenny moved down to the South West during Covid and now runs a growing and research project at Grown That Way in East Cornwall.  He has built a number of show gardens across the UK and is preparing an installation at Tatton Flower Show which will follow hot on the heels of Devon County Show. 

Kenny, a resident of Plymouth was stirred to create this garden after the recent felling of 100 trees in the city. 

Kenny said: "The installation will be something visitors can smell, hear and touch but it will also convey important messages about the state of the planet. It is designed to provoke a reaction and encourage a connection with nature – both the things we love and the things that make us sad. 

"The piano symbolises the disappearing music from nature and the plants and saplings will offer hope, though they will also be surrounded with dead branches to represent the continuing devastation of our woodlands.

"But we promise to introduce a fun element too.  The piano will function as a ‘street’ piano, and visitors who so wish, will be able to tinkle away at the ivories, providing some background music to the Crafts and Gardens section."

The Show is extremely grateful to Rick Nowels, a prolific song writer whose repertoire includes Belinda Carlisle’s international hit, Heaven is a Place on Earth, and who has granted permission for the lyrics to be adapted to celebrate the county of Devon and performed at Devon County Show 2023. 

"Having visited Devon from his homeland of California on a number of occasions, Rick said: ‘Devon is indeed a heavenly place on earth.’

The song Devon is a Place on Earth will be performed in an official opening ceremony at Devon County Show 2023 on Thursday, 18 May, at 10.30am in the Crafts and Gardens Marquee accompanied by the piano and a Devon-based choir. 

Deborah Custance-Baker, the show's chief steward of Crafts and Gardens, is "delighted" that Crafts and Gardens will take centre stage for 2023

"The marquee is going to be buzzing with activity for everyone's interests", she said. "There’s just so much going on we’re expecting every visitor to the showground to pay us a visit to see Kenny’s installation as well as this year's Sheep to Sweater feature, supported by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen and the Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen, and Joe Swift, from Gardeners World, who will be giving a talk in the marquee on Friday, 19 May, at 11.30am, as well as numerous independent traders producing innovative and different products - things that you just won’t find on the high street."


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