Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Chelsea Flower Show

I can't believe after all the cold and damp of the Jubilee celebrations that just over a week ago my son Matthew, daughter-in-law Lynsey and I were basking in glorious sunshine at the Chelsea Flower Show. We had looked forward to this since getting the tickets as a Christmas present and we weren't disappointed.

Brewin Dolphin Show Garden
Equipped with our map of the site we planned our route and the first show garden we came to, the Dolphin Brewin garden, just happened to have won Best in Show. It was beautiful as it combined the formal structures of yew topiary and beech hedges with lots of herbaceous planting.
Dolphin Brewin Garden
The next garden didn't seem at all out of place in the sweltering heat of Chelsea.It was Trailfinders Australian Garden.
This one was designed by Jason Hodges and was much more about features such as a plunge pool, barbecue and pizza oven (all the things essential in an aussie backyard) rather than the planting.
Trailfinders Australian Garden
The next garden, which featured a Victorian greenhouse set in an English country garden, more than made up for the lack of flowers with its' amazing show of blooms.

Country Greenhouses Garden

We went on to visit, Fresh Gardens, a new for 2012. These smaller gardens had no brief and so no constraint and consequently some quirky new ideas emerged including the QR Code Garden which was very appropriate as it was also the first year that smart technology had been used at the RHS.I had already noticed the QR codes earlier and enjoyed using my QR reader app on my phone to try and get more details of some of the plants I had really liked.

By now it was time for refreshments and so Lynsey and I enjoyed a cool glass of Pimms.

After our refreshments we headed for the remaining  large show gardens.

Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden
This lovely garden, designed by the television gardener Joe Swift, had four bold cedar wood structures that framed  the foliage but the stunning part was the colour palette of burgundy and rusty brown. For this alone it deserved its Gold Award.

The World Vision Garden, The Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary
Garden and TheArthritis UK Garden.
The Telegraph Garden
The RBC Blue Water Garden
Our last stop before lunch was Diarmuid Gavin's giant pyramid shaped terraced garden. It won the award for "most creative show garden" which I'm sure you will have seen on the BBC when it had Chelsea pensioners forming a guard of honour on each of the seven levels.
Westland Magical Garden
After a sit down and a bite to eat we looked forward to exploring the Artisan Gardens, mainly because they were set in the tranquil wooded Ranelagh Gardens which provided welcome shade. We were in for some lovely surprises as designers such as Kaffe Fassett and Orla Kiely had some amazing sheds and summer houses.

Kaffe Fassett's summerhouse

Orla Kiely's shed
The garden I most wanted to see in the whole show was the Satoyama Life Japanese garden. It was designed to reflect the symbiosis between our lives and nature and reflect the simple life of the Satoyama region of Japan It was tranquil and absolutely gorgeous and definitely deserved to win Best Artisan Garden.It made me want to go back and visit Japan again.
Satoyama Life Garden
There were lots of other stunning artisan gardens but none compare with this little gem.

All that remained for our tired little feet to do was get us to the Grand Pavilion to soak up the atmosphere and select a few to special plants to drool over. i was delighted when the first display I saw on entering was Hewitt-Cooper's carnivorous plant display. I had become fascinated by these after visiting Charles Darwin's house in Kent and I went on to feature these in both fabric and wallpaper designs for my Final Major Project at college.

Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants
I will leave you with some delightful bulbs that caught my eye.
Tulip, Fritillaria and Alliums


  1. What awonderful day, played tennis opposite Chelsea but never made a flower show!!!!
    Thank you so much for message on my blog....think you could feel the smoke coming out of my ears from Norton!!!!!
    Having trouble with new blog...couldn't upload pics of ema under the Angel (an image you have used too)...wondering whether to bother with the change and call it a day altho would miss all the lovely posts from evrybody.....
    So glad to see you are enjoying post college life so much...and a well deserved rest!

  2. Hi Chris, I have just got back from the opening night of the Degree Show at CCAD. It was well worth the visit. While there I was speaking to Claire Baker and she said you were going next Tuesday to alumni do so I will see you there.

  3. I feel as if I visited the show Mavis, your post was so lovely taking in all the highlights. Loved Kaffe's shed! jayne x

  4. Thanks Jayne, it was lovely especially as I have never been able to go before as it is always in term time.