Chelsea Flower Show Centenary 2013 Part #002

by Culti-Vate


Part two is all about the gardens at Chelsea, not just the large main avenue show gardens but also the smaller artisan gardens and the new fresh gardens  category at this years show. The main show gardens always have that ‘wow’ factor due to their size and the sheer quantity of plants, however I personally enjoy the smaller gardens more. `there is just as much pressure on them to produce something spectacular, but in a way it’s even harder due to the small scale on which they have to do it, which in turn means every inch has to be perfection to achieve that ‘wow’ factor. There is a new category this year the form of ‘Fresh gardens’. These gardens can take a more artistic and conceptual route – jumping out of their gardening ‘comfort zone’ so to speak! Hailing from an art background, and being a lover of conceptual art myself, I was intrigued to see and read more about this new show garden category, which turn out to house my favourite gardens of this year’s show!

Show Gardens

The Laurent -Perrier Garden designed by Ulf Nordfjell.

This garden has grown on me over time; when I was standing in front of it I liked it, but there was nothing in particularly that stood out for me at the time. However, now I realise how much I like the planting of certain areas. The use of ground covering Thyme mixed with tall upright Dianthus (which if they had been in flower would have looked delightful) mirrored the shades of the surrounding Irises and Violas, working together beautifully with the intricately placed lavenders among the gravel area. For me this wasn’t a stand out favourite of the show, but I will take away some of the great planting ideas.

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The Telegraph Garden designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole.

This was one of the gardens I was particularly excited to see this year, not only because of the designer, whom I admire, but also because the concept behind the garden was interesting. This is due to  it mixing three elements of design; the english country landscape, modern abstract art & the japanese approach to garden design. The garden was designed to be viewed from the cloisters, but when I was there you couldn’t walk around the colonnade. This created confusion amongst people who didn’t understand why there was no ‘useable space’ within the garden.

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RBC Blue Water Roof Garden designed by Nigel Dunnett & The Landscape Agency.

Living in Sheffield for a short time I have seen quite a bit of Nigel Dunnett’s planting before in around the city (he is based at the University of Sheffield), so it was interesting to see his use of plants in a smaller more structured environment. Personally I wasn’t a fan of the hard landscaping in this garden or the use of a London backdrop, but I did enjoy the natural planting in the surrounding beds. Like many of the the other gardens through Chelsea there was an abundance of cow parsley and Ravens wing cow parsley.

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The Wasteland designed by Kate Gould.

This garden was all about giving old & unloved industrial materials a new lease of life. Kate Gould definitely succeeded in showing how old mattress springs, corrugated steel and rusty metal panels can created a garden just as beautiful as any other materials can. The re-use and re-cycle message in this garden is shown in such a understated way and with such ease that you have to look closely to notice that the seat is actually the end of a bath or the trellis is actually a flattened shopping trolley. This garden was a definite favourite of mine.

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Stockton Drilling’s “As nature intended” Garden designed by Jamie Dunstan

I really loved the strong use of materials here, which created a very minimal and striking garden. The use of Barley on mass worked beautifully with the deep green of the Yew paired with the delicate fluidity of the Willow woven into bold angular shapes. It is a shame the Barley had begun to yellow, it definitely wasn’t enjoying its surroundings at Chelsea.

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The Homebase Garden “sowing the seed of change” designed by Adam Frost & Stockton Drilling’s “As nature intended” Garden designed by Jamie Dunstan.


The Brewin Dolphine Garden designed by Robert Myers & Stop The Spread Garden designed by Jo Thompson landscape & garden design.showgardens02

Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Flemings and designed by Phil Johnson.

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Trailfinders Australian Garden being presented Best Show Garden award by Alan Titchmarsh on May 21st. IMG_7558 copy

Artisan Gardens

Get Well Soon Garden designed by Kati Crome & Maggie Hughes.

The garden is based around ways in which a garden and its plants can help heal and improve health, from ancient remedies to modern day therapies. I particularly liked the beautiful stone work throughout, which was intended to sooth pressure points on your feet while you walk.

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Le Jardin De Yorkshire designed by Alistair W Baldwin Associates.

This garden brings together elements of Yorkshire and France, representing Yorkshire’s winning bid to host the Départ of the Tour de France. Showing iconic elements of Yorkshire with its rolling hills, agricultural background and dry stone walls that are then linked with the Tour de France by an installation of bicycle wheels representing a peloton. There was also a hidden gem, the rare Lady Slipper Orchid Cypripedium calceolus, which grows wild in the dales!

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Fresh Gardens

The Sonic Pangea garden designed by Stefano Passerotti and Anna Piussi & the 9 Billion Conversations Garden designed by Ruth Willmott and Fredric Whyte.

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More from the Floral Pavilion…

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Beautiful Irises from the Cayeux Iris nursery

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Euphorbia & Ravens wing, the plants of the moment. They appeared everywhere from inside the floral pavilion to the show gardens, from artisan gardens to the fresh gardens… They were everywhere!! These were spotted on Hardys stand in the floral pavilion.


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Part #003 coming soon, with more of the Fresh gardens and Artisan gardens along with a few other great displays at this year’s centenary show!!