It’s another spectacular year at RHS Chelsea with a treasure trove of gardens boasting beauty, wonder and an exuberance of foliage and flowers, just what you would expect at the greatest flower show on earth. With twelve huge show gardens flanking Main Avenue and beyond and a spectacular feature garden; The RHS Back to nature Garden, designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White, there is plenty to see for visitors to the show.
When the doors open to the RHS Members on Tuesday morning, the judges will have delivered their verdicts and the coveted medals will be on show for all to see. But before that moment, the gardening glitterati will chatter and gossip and make their own judgments on which gardens will win the coveted best in show and people’s choice.
It’s a real privilege to see the gardens as dawn breaks on Press Day. The light is pure and clear and the showground is quiet; the calm before the storm.
The Greenfingers Garden
Designed by Kate Gould
It’s a well-known fact that spending time in gardens and in nature has a therapeutic effect on mind, body and soul. This garden is designed to spread the message of the vital work that Greenfingers does, building inspiring gardens for children’s hospices. The garden is on two levels with a lift connecting them and is planted with soft, calming lemon and white with a rich backbone of foliage trees and shrubs.
The charity is driven by the belief that time spent outside, can offer children and families under considerable stress a vital opportunity to experience fresh air and engage with the natural environment. This lush, green garden provides a peaceful, uplifting space where life-limited children and their families, friends and careers can come together for play, relaxation or peaceful reflection. It offers an accessible space for people of all ages and abilities. IT’s the 20th anniversary of the charity and the garden will promote its work and spread the message.
The Dubai Majlis Garden
Designed by Thomas Hoblyn
The most striking thing about this garden is the soft turquoise blue pool that dominates the foreground of the garden and then fades gently into the background, alluding to nature’s ability to weave its way around obstacles. It’s the perfect contrast with the sculptural landscaping that sweeps around the garden with the crisp, neat cushions of topiary-esque plants that have been neatly grazed by the mountain goats. It’s a thinking space, a meeting space (Majlis means ‘place of sitting’, and refers to special gatherings where people meet to converse with open minds. The garden combines plants from across the world’s arid regions and celebrates the unity and collaboration within Dubai’s diverse culture.
White limestone creates a Middle Eastern feel, while the burnt sienna gravel mimics eroded rock and iron rich soils often associated with arid locations.
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
Designed by Mark Gregory
You can’t help but be wowed by the spectacle of this garden. It’s an engineering feat of extreme proportions, featuring a canal and a lock, along with a lock keepers cottage and more.
The whole scene exudes industrial heritage and the wild scapes of Yorkshire filled with perennial wild flower meadows and dry stonewalls. It’s a slice of Yorkshire that focuses on the beauty of the natural and the cultivated, with rich native flora and the cultivated plants within the lock keepers cottage. Designed to inspire garden lovers to explore the natural beauty of Yorkshire, this garden evokes the very essence of the county and will simply wow everyone that stops to admire it.
The Morgan Stanley Garden
Designed by Chris Beardshaw
The textures and contrasts in this garden are wonderful. At the front you look into the garden over a formal paved terrace that is punctuated with large topiary cushions. Neatly clipped and soft, they draw your focus into the richly planted herbaceous borders beyond. A dramatically windblown black pine is propped to one side but lends its wizened trunk and dense canopy to the design.
Chris Beardshaw has taken the challenge to create a beautiful garden with a lighter footprint, to stimulate discussion and highlight some of the challenges. This garden will be recycled and repurposed to a community project in East London after the show.
The M & G Garden
Designed by Andy Sturgeon
There is something very primordial about this garden. It is vibrantly green and lush and simply screams its junglesque song from the blackened timber sculptures that dissect the garden. It has captured the energy and vitality of spring within the plants in its design and is packed with unfurling fronds and bursting buds on every tree and plant. There’s a range of pioneering plants in this garden including some ancient species such as equisetum and restio all within the woodland floor.
Andy has captured the essence of life itself and all its excitement, within this vibrant space. The blackened timber is a foil to the drama within the garden, framing the vistas as they slice through the garden, defining the paths and the places to pause and sit. Water, the very essence of life plays its part and trickles through the garden in streams.