Wednesday, 03 June 2015
Chelsea Flower Show 2015 has passed in a whirlwind (helped by the strong winds in the run-up to the show!) For those of us not lucky enough to get along in person, here is a summary of the highlights, winners and trends we might want to incorporate back home in our own gardens.
Orange broke through the normal Chelsea pallet of white and lilac. Orange-hued irises, erysimums, poppies and even grasses were all on show. Planting an orange flower or two has got to be the easiest way to add bit of Chelsea Flower Show 2015 to your garden.
Verbascum (also known as mulleins) were to be found in many a show garden. They made a subtle change to the ubiquitous foxglove (which of course still featured heavily) and suit a cottage or rustic garden style. Even better, they are easy to grow. Viburnum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ won the accolade of Chelsea Flower show 2015 Plant of the Year. It’s colour changes with the season. In April the shrub has white flowers with pink pines to their edges. In summer red berries ripen to black and provide great fodder for birds. A second flush of flowers blooms in late summer before the foliage turns fiery orange/red in autumn.
This year’s Chelsea favoured softer, curved lines rather the hard, straight edges seen in the last few years. The wave-like benches made from olive ash wood by Tom Raffield for Matthew Wilson’s Royal Bank of Canada Garden are stunning. The benches are handmade using steam to bend the wood in Tom’s Cornish workshop.
The curved, while washed walls in Fernando Gonzalez’s Pure Land Foundation Garden are designed to mimic the mountains of China. They are a striking backdrop to more orange planting that represents the principal colour scheme used in Buddhist art.
Water features were much talked about. Jo Thompson had three synchronised swimmers making the most of the dipping pond in her garden for M&G. Dan Pearson’s Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden brought the trout stream from Derbyshire to Chelsea (more below).
A water feature acted as an aquatic chandelier in the Home: Personal Universe Garden by Fuminari Todaka. It dropped a circular curtain of water into a small pond and acted as a sculpture whilst delivering lovely white noise which would calm and screen noise in any city garden. The easiest way to incorporate the water trends from this year’s Chelsea’s to instal a still water reflective pool. These don’t require wiring or pumps. Just grow tall plants up to the edge of the water and enjoy the calming symmetry of the reflected view.
The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge winner Sean Murray was a man after our own heart when he featured a great spot of up-cycling to make a sculpture out of rusting tin cans. Some the cans were even dug out from his own garden. It makes a great frame through which to look at his planting.
The flowing metal lattice used the Dark Matter Garden is a wonderful way to draw you into the garden. It also works well as a garden boundary.
Jo Thompson also created a gorgeous frame though which to view her garden and pool. This time it was made from Purbeck stone to remind her of her childhood on Dorset.
Stone featured heavily this year with dry stone dykes seen in Sean Murray’s garden and the rockery in Dan Pearson’s garden. Maybe rockeries will enjoy a resurgence as a result?
Dan Pearson’s Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden won best show garden and is now being painstakingly transported to Chatsworth House itself. He managed to make a temporary garden look like it had been formed solely by nature over hundreds of years. Large stones shipped down from Chatsworth itself represented the Chatsworth House rockery. His flowers grew in-between stones and grasses in a naturalistic planting which is great for those of us looking for a low maintenance garden. Plant varieties can be chosen to self-seed and placed close enough to each other to reduce need for weeding. Dan featured rustic plants such as buttercups, teasels and primroses (yes, orange did make an appearance).
Walker’s Nurserie’s Sculptor’s Picnic Garden supported by Doncaster Deaf Trust won best artisan garden. Large, bare oak branches and roots formed a canopy around a place to sit, eat and contemplate life on the edge of a woodland.
This category was established to make designers think out of the box and was won this year by the National School’s Observatory’s Dark Matter Garden. It must be quite hard to come up with a design that represents Dark Matter when it can’t be seen. But we’re still readily drawn into this garden by the use of the warped lattice of metal rods. They represent light moving around large objects in the universe with the long grasses moving in the wind meant to represent the pulse and flow of invisible forces. This garden is being re-built at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory.
The people’s choice awards have now been announced too. We’ve voted the Sentebale Hope in Vulnerability garden the best show garden and the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Garden the best Fresh garden. The Breast Cancer Haven garden supported by Nelsons won the best Artisan garden.
And the garden product of the year went to the Potato Pot by Agralan. The special designed pot allows you to harvest larger potatoes and let smaller ones grow bit more.
If you’d like advice on incorporating any of these concepts or features from Chelsea Flower Show 2015 in your garden please get in touch.
All at Vialii