This year, my lovely hubbie bought us tickets to go to the Chelsea Flower Show in London. I’ve always wanted to go but for lots of reasons, we have never been. I was a little worried that this years show would not live up to my expectations as lots of reviewers were saying that with just 7 Show Gardens, how could it? However, as newbies we were just excited to be there at all and the sun was shining! For us, this is not a local event but after a 3 hour journey, we arrived! I will split this into a few posts as there is quite a lot to share!
Firstly, we went on the Tuesday which is the day the awards are presented so there were lots of excitement about who would get Best in Show! I will try to show you some of the Show gardens in this post and make comments on the ones I loved the most.
This one is called “The Chengdu silk road” and was on the largest plot and was a very striking garden. It won a Silver-gilt. It had quite an industrial feel and Hubbie and I just didn’t feel it worked. It was almost as if the designers tried too hard if that makes sense? The planting was quite soft with lots of primulas and buddleia which was such a contrast to the severity of the pink, steel “mountains”. It was different though and brave so deserved its silver-gilt.
We both were looking forward to seeing this garden because a friend of ours completed all the stone walling in this garden -Paul Nash – Paul repaired the dry stone walls in the old house garden when we moved in and is very talented! This garden was one of our favourites and it’s not tricky to see why! The planting was exquisite; cottage style planting which we love, with a path that moved through the whole garden. In the centre was this gorgeous structure with a roof shaped like a leaf. This garden won a Silver-gilt (should have been gold and best in show in our opinion!)
This is the M&G garden which was inspired by a Maltese disused quarry. It was certainly brave and unusual but not our choice. It was awarded Best in Show and a Gold award which surprised us at first however, it was unique. The designer, James Basson has been quoted as saying, “It’s not supposed to be pretty!”
We couldn’t get near this garden as the BBC were presenting at the time (here is the lovely Rachel de Thame)! This garden took floral heritage as its inspiration and had 3, 30-year-old apple trees in it to mark the fact that Covent Garden was once an orchard garden. It was a beautiful garden but we didn’t feel the modern seating were appropriate somehow, although I did like the green archways. This garden was awarded a Silver award.
This garden was called Breaking Ground. The metal barriers represent breaking down barriers in Education and the purple Salvias represent lateral thinking. It was sponsored by Wellington College who hope to create a fund for children who would not otherwise be able to afford their fees. We both really enjoyed this garden. The planting was simple, yet effective with Salvia and Hawthorn. This garden received a well deserved Gold award.
This is the Royal Bank of Canada garden which was inspired by the vast diversity of different plants and of the lakes in Canada. I loved the granite boulders and old pine trees used in this garden. It was another very busy garden which received a gold medal.
There were 2 other show gardens which I couldn’t photograph due to all the people! They were called, The Welcome to Yorkshire garden and The linklaters garden for Maggie’s. I liked the Welcome to Yorkshire garden best due to its informal planting and little folly. We didn’t get to see The linklaters garden at all as there was a queue to see it!
Our favourite by far was The Morgan Stanley Garden but they were all amazing! We had a fabulous day and it was worth the long trip to get there. A good tip…..park at Westfield and get the tube to Sloane Square.
In the next post, I will review some of the other gardens and what we found in the Main Pavilion.
These are my own opinions! I am not a garden designer or a horticulturalist but I do know what I like.
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