Every year the Royal Horticultural Society hosts The Chelsea Flower Show. Attracting in excess of 157,000 visitors annually, royalty and stars of stage and screen among them, it is one of the most famous gardening shows in the world and a big part of London’s summer social season. Whether you are an avid gardener or not, you cannot help but be impressed by the beautiful show gardens and floral displays. Garden designers and florists compete for the coveted Chelsea Flower Show awards, and corporations sponsor designers and gardens to create publicity. Charities are also involved, and use their gardens as an opportunity for fund raising and to increase public awareness of their causes.
My husband and I attend the show each year, and I am always inspired by the amazing gardens the designers manage to create. Some of the gardens would require a rather generous budget and are more the stuff of dreams than reality, but I always come away from the show with new ideas. This year did not seem quite as spectacular as last year in terms of show gardens, but the weather has been so out of the ordinary it has wrecked havoc with planning and planting. Irrespective of this, there were so many beautiful gardens it is hard to choose a favourite, but here are a few that really caught our eye.
The Monaco Garden, designed by Sarah Eberle, reminded my husband and I of our visits to Monaco and the way that the architecture and landscape work together there to create a beautiful setting. I loved the lavender planted on the roof, the way the garden reflected the landscape and building style of Monaco, and the way the plants enhanced the relaxing setting. And the pool was just gorgeous – crystal clear and very inviting! This garden won a very well deserved Gold medal.
Judged Best Show Garden, The Daily Telegraph Garden designed by Cleve West used both traditional and modern materials, as well as lush planting. Reclaimed stone used in the pillars alluded to a sense of permanence, while the more changeable, eclectic mix of planting juxtaposed traditional yew hedges.
The Irish Sky Garden, designed by Diarmuid Gavin, contrasted an ultra modern sky pod full of greenery hanging from a crane with planting and pools below. Grasses, pine, clipped yew and box create a green paradise at ground level, while the sky pod makes you wonder what the garden would look like if you were up there. Twenty-five pools make this garden really unique, and the way some of them reflect the pod above is quite striking. It was extremely unique, and although I was unsure about it, it is one of the gardens that has most stuck in my mind. It also won a Gold medal.
If you click on the links I have put in the names of the show gardens they will take you to the RHS site and 360 degree virtual tours. It’s almost like being there and they are well worth a look. We had such a lovely time, and there is so much to the Chelsea Flower Show, it definitely deserves more than one blog post, so please watch this space over next few days for more of the highlights of our visit to this iconic summer event.