The show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are some of the biggest and most impressive exhibits. Every year, it amazes me how the designers can get a brand new blank canvas to look like a mature garden in such a short space of time. I think the key is just clever design and a lot of plants.
Here are some of the gardens featuring at this year’s show:
Cloudy Bay Sensations Garden, designed by Gavin McWilliam and Andrew Wilson and sponsored by Cloudy Bay
This colourful garden has been designed to reflect the tasting notes of the Cloudy Bay wines. Using this as the basic concept, planting and flower colours, perfumes and textures are used to visualise the sensations experienced when drinking the wine.
Everything in the garden, from the deep blackberry raspberry red flower colours, to the sweetly-scented roses and irises, oak and charred oak features, are there to remind you of a delicious glass of wine on a summer’s day.
Features in this sensory garden include limestone surfaces, oak, water, fragrant plantings, hazel and fruit.
‘From the Moors to the Sea’, designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould and sponsored by RHS Garden
The garden is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of RHS Britain in Bloom, as well as Alan’s 50 years in horticulture. This is the first time that Alan has designed a garden at Chelsea since winning gold at the show in 1985. I’m looking forward to seeing it, although I’m sad he won’t be presenting the tv coverage this year.
The garden is split into two areas – a raised upper section of moorland with wild turf and flowers, native hedging, pine and birch trees, and a lower coastal section, linked to the upper part by a gentle stream. Coastal palms and shrubs provide shade and privacy.
Some of the plant used in this design include Echium, Agapanthus, Cordyline australis, Teucrium and Kniphofia.
RBC Waterscape Garden – Embrace the Rain, designed by Hugo Bugg and sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada
This contemporary garden is designed to illustrate global water issues, while demonstrating practical solutions for home gardeners.
This design cleverly shows how naturally occurring water management features can be replicated. Water is directed through the garden at different speeds, and the geometric shapes used are there to make it enticing to walk around.
Some of the plants used include Iris bullyana, Iris robustra ‘Gerald Darby’, Euphorbia ‘Whistleberry Garnet’ and Geum ‘Lemondrops’. A variety of plants will have different roles in the garden’s filtration, rain garden, and retention pools, inviting unusual combinations and contrasts including Juncus inflexus, Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ and Amsonia tabernaemontana.
The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes and sponsored by BrandAlleyUK
This garden is principally inspired by three Renaissance gardens on the Italian Riviera: Palazzo Doria Tursi, Villia Cambiaso and Villa Durazzo Centurione, and also by Paul Hervey-Brookes’ time working on the restoration of the renaissance garden in Italy.
A formal design, it includes the early Renaissance use of clipped hedges to create rooms; the Imperial Renaissance use of formal sculpture and buildings, and the late Renaissance idea of water play in grotto fountains and jets.
Some of the plants used in the design include clipped hedges and structural plants (Buxus, hornbeam, Cypress and Alnus), and soft pink mauve and white flowers such as, Anchusa italica, Digitalis, Malva, Sanguisorba and Daucus.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden, designed by Matthew Childs and sponsored by Brewin Dolphin
That lovely calm freshness of a dewy summer morning is captured in this design, by Matthew Childs. The garden is about possibilities and nurturing potential for the future.
This garden includes features such as lush, leafy planting, archways, paths and sculpture, and has a contemporary look.
The colour scheme includes greens, yellows, white and cream. Some of the plants used are multi-stemmed Betula nigra, underplanted with ferns, hostas and grasses, as well as Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’ globes.
The Extending Space, designed by Nicole Fischer and Daniel Auderset and sponsored by Auderset and Fischer
The Extending Space garden is inspired by the variety of landscapes found within one of the Europe’s last remaining large pine forests, Pfyn Forest National Park in the Swiss Valais region – also one of the most significant and diverse meadowlands in Switzerland.
Reminiscent of a real forest, views are frames by trees and shrubs, offering glimpses of wildflower meadows, a river and a lake beyond.
The design also features a pine pergola and natural planting highlights the diversity of some of the plant species found in the microclimates of Pfyn Forest National Park.
The Homebase Garden – Time to Reflect, designed by Adam Frost and sponsored by Homebase
Adam Frost’s ‘Time to Reflect’ is themed on memories, taking inspiration from his father’s passion for stone, water, wildlife and the countryside.
Also, designed with the home gardener in mind for Homebase, this garden is to demonstrate how an outdoor space can be used to enjoy the company of others, whether it’s spending time gardening, cooking, eating or relaxing.
Some of the features in the garden include copper rills, moving water flowing into pools, wildlife, paths and gazebo with a heather roof.
The Laurent-Perrier Garden, designed by Luciano Giubbilei and sponsored by Laurent-Perrier UK ltd.
This garden design is so posh it’s in black and white. I think in real life there will be colour.
Luciano Giubbilei’s interest in texture, form and light has lead to this design, which explores the idea of physical composition through layering.
The garden is formed by a series of defined layers and the planting is made up of delicate forms alongside stronger, bolder leaves. Some of the features in this garden include metal patina, raw concrete, stone surfaces with contrasting finishes, flowing and still water.
The M&G Garden, designed by Cleve West and sponsored by M&G Investments
This beautiful-looking design is meant to be a contemporary interpretation of the ‘paradise garden’, showing that paradise spaces have barely changed through time.
The concept of the ‘Paradise Garden’ was invented by the Persians more than 1,000 years ago and used water, shade and planting for sanctuary and contemplation.
Some of the features within the design include a tall octagonal fountain, flowing water, a stone relief interpretation of the Tree of Life, arithmetic and ancient science, gravel beds and multiple planting styles.
Key plants included are English yew (Taxus baccata), Hairy Canary Clover (Dorycnicum hirsutum), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Hairy Melic (Melica ciliata), Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus ‘Rue Ledan’), Silver Mound (Artemisia schmiidtiana), Centaurea ‘Phoenix Hybrids’, Dianthus carthusianorum ‘Miss Farrow’, Gillenia trifoliata, Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea), Senecio polyodon, fennel, Euphorbia ‘Compton Ash’, mint and thyme.
The Telegraph Garden, designed by Tommaso del Buono and sponsored by The Telegraph
This garden is a traditional Italian design with a modern look, inspired by revisiting the components traditionally found in the great historical Italian gardens. The aim was to create a functional space to relax and enjoy.
There is a sunken area in the middle of the garden, with neat box domes to give it a formal appeal. A fragrant bay hedge encloses the garden, with 12 ‘roof trained’ Plane trees (Platanus acerifolia) at either end.
Soft plantings include colours such as deep blue, lime green and intense pink.