Chelsea Flower Show Centenary 2013 Part #003

by Culti-Vate


So yesterday was the final day of Chelsea and I have one more post for you. I saved the best till last (in my opinion!). There were five gardens in particular that stood out for me at Chelsea this year, for varying reasons, from the planting to the concept they all had that certain something you expect from a Chelsea garden. Not one of my top five is a Show garden, they are all from the smaller garden categories, which may be a surprise… but I felt they had more to offer this year and took more risks in their gardens than most of the main show gardens did. So here they are my favorite highlights.

Fresh Gardens

The Mindfulness Garden designed by Martin Cook.

This garden stood out for me because of the planting, the chaos and bold use of colour throughout made it a delight to look at. This garden also showed that less is not always more when dealing with plants! The garden represents the chaotic time we live in and the need for calm reflection, the planting represents the chaos of life and the sculpture and verse being the moment of calm. The designer also based the ideas of the garden around the contrasting elements of artists Jackson Pollock and Barbara Hepworth. For me this garden was all about the plants, I adored the vibrancy and chaos within it,this garden brought the fresh garden area alive.

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The Massachusetts Garden designed by Susannah Hunter with Catherine MacDonald

The idea and the planting in this garden was lovely but for me the star was the leather work. The intricate floral designs that mirrored the real plants within the garden stood it apart from its neighbours. I am a great lover of  textiles and fashion so to see a material such as leather being used in such a decorative and beautiful way in a garden was wonderful. The leather paneling added such depth to the garden, especially the clever use of it to represent the water element within the garden. A favourite was the panels of Irises, they complimented the real Irises perfectly.

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Digital Capabilities designed by Tom & Paul Harfleet

I loved this garden simply for it’s cleverness and interactive ability! When tweeting #RHSChelsea the panel would activate and reveal the exciting hidden exotic world behind them. This garden represented our use of technology and the internet to explore and interact, the exotic planting being the new and exciting things we seek, contrasted by the more natural planting in front of the panels. Also if you tweeted directly to @DigCapabilities with the word ‘snap’ a hidden camera from inside the garden sent you a photo from beneath the leaves! All round a very clever and engaging garden, it definitely delivered on the title ‘Fresh gardens’ perfectly. 

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Artisan Gardens

Un Garreg (One Stone) designed by Harry & David Rich.

I thought this artisan garden by the Rich brothers was just beautiful! Their planting was spot on and their concept of using the garden as a way to represent reconnecting with the landscape was express so well in the gardens natural beauty and the mixed use of stone. It was also great to see people my own age creating and getting recognition at Chelsea!

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Motor Neurone Disease – Hebridean Weaver’s Garden designed by Jackie Setchfield & Martin Anderson.

There was something very calming about this garden, I felt like I wanted to wander into it and perch on the grass bank just watching Chelsea pass by. Again like so many of the gardens, this garden excelled in the planing, the foxgloves intermingled with cow parsley made you feel as if you had stepped out of Chelsea an into the wilds of the Hebrides.

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Other delights at Chelsea…

Rebecca Louise Law – beautiful hanging floral arrangement.

Such a wonderful idea! It must have taken days to thread every delicate flower onto the string. The dangling flowers created a magical effect, and what was even better was you were able to wander through it and get lost in the flowers!

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Mark Quinn’s commission for Chelsea.

I have loved Mark Quinn’s artwork for a very long time, he is one of my favourite sculptors, so I was very excited when when I read he had been asked to create a piece for this years Chelsea centenary. His multi coloured Orchid added a wonderful splash of colour to the main avenue.


Chelsea was great this year, I really did enjoy it. The exhibitors pulled out all the stops to make it a great show, even with dire weather we have had! So congrats to all of them for their wonderful medal winner display, and I can’t wait to go back next year!