Taming The Wild At Chelsea
The Gardener|September 2019

Part Two of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Gillian O'Donoghue

After covering two RHS flower shows in the past few weeks, Chatsworth and Hampton Court Palace, I’ve identified a common thread running through all the RHS shows this year, and that is ‘nature and nurture’ using reclaimed and recycled elements and sustainable planting schemes. Most of the gardens have been designed to attract wildlife, and with ‘wellness’ being the new buzz word, living walls that are both ornamental and edible are also a highlight at the shows. Chelsea is certainly the biggest show stopper with designers going all out to impress the judges and the crowds.

In the August issue I showcased the Gold Winners of the Show Gardens and the new category ‘Space to Grow’ gardens. In our spring issue I’d like to feature the quirky Artisan Gardens that won Gold.

A PALACE play garden in the woods

Colourful performers amidst the verdant forest hues included varieties of alliums, astrantias, geums, salvia, foxgloves, lupins, buddleja, purple and bearded irises and verbascum. Not only were flowers, foliage and grasses intensively planted, but vegetable and herbs were also seamlessly woven into the themes.

Before I move on, I feel I must include the Back to Nature Garden, which was co-designed by The Duchess of Cambridge and landscape architects Davies and White. A perfect example of a natural garden using branches from the forest to create play areas including a gorgeous tree house, logs for children to crawl through, a waterfall and a wooden ramp to help the children cross the meandering stream. It was amazing to see what can be achieved in a tiny space with careful and creative thought. Literally, I felt as if I’d stepped into the Delamere Forest in Cheshire, it was so realistically planted.

I took a while to find The Artisan Gardens, which were situated a bit off the beaten track. These gardens demonstrate new ways to design gardens for different purposes, resulting in quirky, bold and exciting creations.

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