So the dust has settled over another fab Chelsea Flower Show, Lazy Susan has taken stock and here we bring you a few of our highlights. Once again the 2012 show witnessed the great and the good from the world of horticulture gather to showcase some of the best and most innovative garden designs, as well as some rather unusual plants which I can only guess at how long they took to perfect.
Again, and this is a purely biased perspective, but the garden furniture side was not as good as it could be and we felt it was sadly lacking the emphasis that its had for the past couple of years or so of ‘growing your own food’… However, coming away from the show, you can’t help but to have seen something which would sit in your own garden, the inspiration is everywhere and it made us want to revamp the Lazy Susan showroom garden.
As we’ve seen in recent years, many of the gardens on display followed some sort of theme, while others were a little bit more shall we say ‘freeform’. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee immediately following the show, one garden spelt out the occasion by carefully arranging plants to read ‘The Queens Diamond Jubilee’ in capital letters (see below).
Equally as eccentric, but on an altogether grander scale was the Westland Horticulture Magical Tower Garden by TV garden guru Diarmuid Gavin (pictured below). This multi-level garden formed a pyramid shape, with each level featuring a different item such as a shed, containers and even flowerbeds. The whole structure was held together with scaffolding, and at its heart was a helter-skelter slide. This garden was all over morning TV and is surely going to be talked about for many years to come by people who saw it for themselves, especially like us if you had the chance to climb to the top.
There was a big emphasis this year on wild flowers and they were featured in many of the show gardens. Its a nice environmentally sound touch and extremely important as far as pollinating insects, primarily bees, are concerned but growing your own food is, and again this is only our humble opinion, equally as important and people need information and places such as Chelsea to show people how to do it, especially in small spaces and in city gardens.
For us, some of the show gardens, such as the Monet inspired one were a little, shall we say, out of this world, but I’m sure they’re a designer’s dream. The show gardens are one of the most popular attractions at Chelsea. They are often too expensive and sometimes a little too crazy for many people to relate to but we felt that this year there were some fab ideas in the main gardens particularly in terms of the planting schemes.
Another highlight was the ripple pool at the centre of The World Vision Garden (above). Representing the effect the children’s charity has in the world’s hardest places, circular ripples spread from the middle of the pool to its edge. Symbolising how World Vision’s work with children also helps families, communities and, ultimately, entire countries.
The main sponsors of the Chelsea Flower Show, M&G had their garden designed by award-winning landscape and garden designer Andy Sturgeon (shown above). A modern take on the Arts and Crafts movement, it celebrated traditional craftsmanship and the beauty of natural materials. Andy has created what has been dubbed the ‘New English’ style of planting, with which he hopes to capture the fundamental design principles of the Arts & Crafts movement.
The Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Garden really stood out for us too (see above). Designed by 2011 Scholar Caroline E Butler, and sponsored by Bradstone, sponsor of the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scheme, the Bradstone Panache Garden aimed to express vitality and energy through form, colour and atmosphere. The garden was inspired by the joyous movement of kites in the sky, reflected in the continuous curve of a path towards a seat which then became a flowing wall.
The man himself was convinced that his “unfashionable” garden wouldn’t win a gold medal, but he was proved wrong with his Furzey Garden (above). Chris’ woodland design incorporated acid-loving species including rhododendrons, azaleas and primulas. Ericaceous plants and shrubs that seem to have fallen out of favour with designers at Chelsea in recent years, but Chris utilised them to spectacular effect with this design.
Another favourite of ours was the L’Occitane Immortelle Garden (pictured above with the lovely Amanda Holden), recreating the Corsican maquis (Mediterranean vegetation) and brought to life in the heart of Chelsea. L’Occitane has chosen this magnificent island to inspire their garden as it is the home of their award-winning skincare collection.
The one garden at the show that really did make us stop and think was the Quiet Time: DMZ Forbidden garden (see above). Again, not one for our showroom, but it really stopped us in our tracks. Created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean conflict, this garden made use of the vast treasure trove of indigenous plants that have thrived in the almost pristine conditions in the sanctuary of the demilitarised zone.
The dates for the Chelsea Flower Show 2013 have not been announced as yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be in May. If you’ve never been before, I can’t recommend it enough. Such a great place to get inspired. Tickets usually go on sale from around November 2012 when you can purchase your tickets at the Official RHS flower shows 2013 website.
I’m led to believe that the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show is aiming to bring together the very best show gardens, flowers and gardening from around the world. As always you’ll be able to see magnificent floral displays, model gardens, English garden tools and a host of garden structures and artifacts by world famous names. And fingers crossed, much more on the garden furniture front!