Saturday, 13 February 2016

Glimmer of hope emerges in Japan Snailgate drama

A LAKE District hotelier faces a race against time to get his snail-plagued garden ready for World Cup glory.

RUSH: Lake District hotelier Jonathan Denby faces a race against time to get his world cup garden ready for judging KATIE ROBINSON

The slimy stowaway held up a container in customs, bound for the Gardening World Cup in Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan.

Now garden designer Jonathan Denby faces a mad dash to get his Lake District artefacts into his Peter Rabbit inspired exhibit before the judging deadline.

Customs officials at Hakata have said they have to clean every item in the container to make sure nothing is contaminated.

But with tonnes of Cumbrian slate and limestone and other integral pieces to the Beatrix Potter garden, it’s no mean feat.

Mr Denby, from Grange, was told on Friday that the container would have to be returned to the UK without featuring in the show, but now there is a faint glimmer of hope.

Officials have planned to scrub every item clean on Wednesday – the last day before judging.

Mr Denby said: “We hope that a customs official will be available to give us the all-clear so we can bring in the important and precious items like the antique Georgian water pump, identical to the one at Beatrix Potter’s former home at Hill Top, and wheelbarrow – the items that give the garden its Lake District character.

“The deadline is midnight on Wednesday, before judging takes place at 8.30am on Thursday. We will be waiting with a van at the customs house of Hakata Port, hoping that we can make the 120km mad dash to Huis Ten Bosch in time.”

If the items don’t make it to the show in time, Mr Denby will still install them in the garden ahead of the show opening to the general public, but they won’t be taken into consideration with the judging.

Mr Denby said: “My hopes have been dashed several times in the last few days and I am so excited to have the possibility that we will have the things.

“We are longing for this news. It has really raised my spirits.”


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