Chris Beardshaw’s design for Morgan Stanley and the NSPCC – just a beautiful garden at every level with abundant planting and a calm but positive use of colour. It won ‘Best in Show.’
The celebs may dip in and out, but the trends percolate down into our gardens – it’s probably more influential than any other show in the world.
I spent yesterday morning at the Chelsea Flower Show as a roving reporter for BBC Radio Kent’s excellent Sunday Gardening programme. Exhibitors were still putting the last minute touches to their stands, and the garden designers were anxiously tweaking their creations.
The BBC Radio Kent Sunday Gardening team, from left: me, Phil Harrison, Jane Streitfeild of the NGS, Steve Bradley and Louise, who kept us all organised.
Designer Laura Anstiss putting the finishing touches on the Supershoes Laced With Hope garden with Frosts.
One of the puzzling things about going round while it’s still being constructed is knowing what’s meant to be in the garden and what isn’t. This ladder does look rather wonderful here. But it disappeared later so presumably not…in the VTB Spirit of Cornwall garden by Charles Stuart Towner.
Then I went round the show again to see what I think is going to be big in ‘ordinary’ gardens over the next few years.
Paul Hervey-Brookes titivating the Viking Cruises Wellness Garden. He won a Gold medal for the garden.
All very different at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018
There is a definite wind of change blowing through the gardening world, judging by this year’s RHS Chelsea
The grasses and structured hedging of the past few years has almost completely been swept away.
Instead there are huge beds full of flowers and colour.
The David Harber and Savills Garden by Nic Howard – this garden was widely praised by garden writers on Twitter. Many of us were surprised it only won a Bronze medal.
While I don’t normally want to see graffiti in gardens, I loved this garden for Supershoes Laced With Hope.
It was a colourful Chelsea, with lots of planting.
Yellow is an emerging garden colour
At Capel Manor College, their display is called 50 Shades of Gold. I spoke to one of their designers who said ‘A few years ago, I’d never have considered using yellow in a garden.’ Their display is a celebration of yellow flowers of all kinds across all seasons.
And I spotted yellow in a number of other gardens, too, including Sarah Price’s garden for Morgan Stanley.
The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate garden, with yellow oilseed rape (!) in the foreground. All our mothers would be scandalised.
Lilac and yellow in the beautifully abundant Hillier ‘Stihl Inspiration’ garden. Hillier won their 73rd Gold medal at Chelsea for this garden.
Yellow in the gorgeous LG Eco-city garden by Hay-Joung Wang. She won a Silver-Gilt medal.
The free-standing arch
Taking that show gardens are a very pampered version of small town gardens, it’s interesting to see how many feature a free-standing arch. Adding height halfway along a small garden gives it a sense of proportion and gives the eye somewhere to pause, thus making the garden feel larger.
The exquisite ‘Hospitality Garden’ for G-Lion by Kazuyuki Ishihara. Love that moss!
This arch in the Urban Flow Garden by Tony Woods of Gardenclublondon is made of a specially fired porcelain so it doesn’t need any maintenance and lasts forever.
The corten steel arches and side of the arch were made by Stark & Greensmith. This garden won a Gold and Best in Category.
I rather like this ‘Forest Shower’ from www.hardy-eucalyptus.com. The stand showed some smaller growing Eucalyptus, which can be planted successfully in small garden in a range of colours and heights. You can also prune and train some of the taller ones into shrubby bushes and shrub-on-a-stick. The forest shower is made using Eucalyptus log sections. The tree is E. perriniana juvenile form.
Beautifully textured corten steel has been around for a few years, but at RHS Chelsea 2018 it is big, big, big.
Water feature with corten steel in the Stihl Inspiration garden for Hillier.
Corten steel screens for Stihl Inspiration, Hillier at RHS Chelsea
Pots of corten steel at Capel Manor College.
Corten steel grid made by Stark & Greensmith in the Urban Flow garden by Tony Woods.
Wood and willow – poetry and the personal touch
I saw statues, screens and accessories made of largely natural materials.
Giant horse sculpture on the Flowers From the Farm stand, a collective of British cut flower growers.
The Oak & Rope Company, exhibiting for the first time, won a Gold for their stand. It featured their hand-carved personalised garden furniture, screens, planters and accessories.
The Oak & Rope Company’s screens, steamer chairs, oak planters and more can be personalised with poetry, messages or personal names. Making your garden personal is very much a growing trend, whether it’s using upcycled and vintage furniture and accessories with a ‘story’ or with names and favourite poems.
If you’ve watched RHS Chelsea 2018 or been to the show, what did you pick up as a trend? What was your favourite garden or new product? Let me know in the comments below or on social media – Twitter is @midsizegarden and Facebook is The Middlesized Garden.
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