A MATRIMONIAL lawyer, a financial adviser, a quality controller and a graphic designer have got together and come up with ... a garden full of pants.
But, perhaps disappointingly, they're not washing their dirty laundry in public - they're hanging crisp, clean undies out on the line to dry as part of their garden display for a premier horticultural show coming to Wales next month.
The four have, in fact, all recently ditched the day jobs in favour of a career in gardening and are studying horticulture at Pencoed College, near Bridgend, where, you could say, they're blooming.
Now they have got together to enter the garden design competition at the Royal Horticultural Society's Spring Show being held in Cardiff in April.
They've taken for their theme the motto on the Cardiff coat of arms, Awake it is the Day. The design is of a frosty, early morning spring garden, made using local, home-grown materials. It features a sun made from Vale of Glamorgan rock, silver foliage plants, confers, alpines and a washing line. The pants, by the way, will be made from stained glass.
The design was the brain wave of Anthea Guthrie who set up her own garden design business in October after 20 years as a matrimonial lawyer.
Getting her idea into a detailed design is the job of Andrew Arnott, a trained graphic designer who set up his own gardening business 18 months ago. Advising on plants and construction will be Mike Crawford Jones, who turned to gardening after a 35-year career as a quality controller at a paper mill. Also helping with advice and hard graft will be Rauf Marsh, who set up his garden business after a career as a financial services adviser.
"Many of the companies who enter the competition are used to competing at Chelsea and have a budget of several hundred thousand pounds to play with," says Anthea. "We've got to do ours with less than £1,000 and are having to beg, steal and borrow plants and materials!
"The garden is a twist on the rockery/conifer style which was popular years ago but has gone out of fashion. Still, it's a very practical, low-maintenance design which allows lots of variety.
"It's a spring show and the first time the RHS has been to Cardiff for more than 80 years so I thought it would be appropriate to do something crisp, fresh, clean and new - and, of course, using local, Welsh materials."
The rock for the garden - a golden, creamy coloured stone - has come from Anthea's own back garden in Moulton. The glass for the clothes and icicles is being made by local artist Eugene Nowakowski, based at Model House, Llantrisant. Anthea plans to play a bird song CD in the background. She's also on the lookout for an old-fashioned clothes line prop .
"We are very excited about the whole event. It would be fantastic to win a medal but even if we don't the experience of putting a garden together has been very worthwhile."
Course tutor at Pencoed College, Derek Cashmore, thinks the students have a good chance of success.
"It's a very innovative design which will capture the imagination," he said. "It's all the more impressive because it's being done on a shoestring budget."
Many students who have gone through the college are people on their second careers, he said.
"Over the years we've had doctors, lawyers and accountants who want a change of direction. There are a lot of landscape gardeners on the market now but only about 10% are suitably qualified."
More than 20,000 visitors are expected at the RHS show, being held in the spectacular setting of Bute Park, Cardiff, on April 22-24. The event is a key feature of the city's centenary and golden anniversary celebrations and will feature many of the regular exhibitors at the Chelsea Flower Show as well as home-grown talent. It's the first time the event has come to Cardiff since 1920 and there will be plenty of RHS gardening experts on hand to offer help and advice.
To book tickets, call Ticketline UK on 029 2023 0130.