I can’t believe the RHS Chelsea Flower Show finished a week ago – it seems like I was helping set up the Hyde’s display only yesterday! As promised here are my highlights from my two days at Chelsea – one as part of a visit with work colleagues and one with my parents.
The show ground looking deserted at 7am in the morning!
In the week the weather was lovely and sunny, the last day was not so perfect however – rain was bucketing down but it didn’t dampen me and my parents spirits. We were at Chelsea so nothing was going to stop us enjoying ourselves!
The photos I’ve shared are of my favourite Show, Fresh and Artisan gardens and of course the Great Pavilion. I’ve included some other random shots too, it was hard to narrow it down because I took so many pictures!
Celebrity sighting – Joe Swift interviewing Monty Don!
For those of you who don’t know anything about Chelsea at all here is a quick summary of the different areas of the show ground:
Show Gardens – these gardens demonstrate the latest ideas in garden design, complemented by sublime planting and modern hard landscaping materials. Garden designers from around the world work with construction companies to inspire and delight all who see them.
Favourite Show Gardens
The M&G Garden, designed by Cleve West
RBC Waterscape Garden, designed by Hugo Bugg
The Telegraph Garden, designed by del Buono Gazerwitz
The Laurent-Perrier Garden, designed by Luciano Giubbilei
The Homebase Garden – “Time to Reflect” in association with the Alzheimer’s Society, designed by Adam Frost
Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden, designed by Wilson McWilliam Studio
A Garden for First Touch at St George’s, designed by Patrick Collins
Positively Stoke-on-Trent, designed by Bartholomew Landscaping with Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Fresh Gardens – these gardens expand our horizons by welcoming new ideas and the latest in contemporary materials and design. They are described as being innovative, unusual, informative and challenging, the cutting-edge face of Chelsea.
Artisan Gardens – these gardens engage visitors with their artistic and naturalistic approach. The small plots are crafted with incredible workmanship, maintaining traditional skills and enhancing the beautiful surroundings of the show ground.
Favourite Artisan Gardens
The Topiarist Garden at West Green House, designed by Marylyn Abbott
The DialAFlight Potter’s Garden, designed by Nature Redesigned
The Great Pavilion – this is the centrepiece of Chelsea, it is a horticultural haven of stunning floral displays from the UK and around the world, complemented by floristry and informative scientific exhibits.
Inside the Great Pavilion
My favourite Show Garden was easily the Hope on the Horizon garden, designed by Matt Keightley in support for Help for Heroes. It represented the process which injured servicemen and women go through on the road to recovery.
Hope on the Horizon
It was an amazing creation, the garden itself was as beautiful as the idea behind the design. I loved the planting scheme, the tree avenue and overall colours especially. There were words inscribed on the stonework throughout the garden such as “They are just blokes but they are our blokes” and “Inspire, enable, support”.
I was astonished that it only won a Silver-gilt medal – in my eyes it was worthy of a Gold, without a doubt. Come on judges, what were you thinking?! People really showed their support for this garden however because it won the People’s Choice Award, an award which is voted for by the public alone. It couldn’t have gone to anyone better!
Me in front of my favourite show garden
My favourite Fresh Garden was The Mind’s Eye, sponsored by the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) in partnership with Countryside. It was designed as a sensory garden for blind and partially sighted people, as well as those with sight.
It really was a sensory canvas, some of the plants were a blaze of colour, I could smell the herbs which were planted along the pathway – the aroma was wonderful! The wall of water was a great added dimension, when I closed my eyes I could hear its calming sound.
The Mind’s Eye
I have two favourite Artisan Gardens, one was the Viking Cruises Norse Garden and the other was Togenkyo – A Paradise on Earth. I was drawn to these two in particular because of the strong concepts and ideas behind the designs.
The Togenkyo garden was inspired by the place itself, it was like a little piece of Japan had been plonked into the middle of Chelsea! It was fantastically sculpted, the use of greenery was what I loved about it the most – the appearance was very natural and tranquil.
Togenkyo – A Paradise on Earth
I couldn’t not choose the Norwegian style garden, I can’t turn my back on my roots! It was designed to reflect the spirit of the Viking era, taking inspiration from the Viking Age, Nordic style and maritime exploration.
The main feature was a structure based on the prow of a Viking ship, there were stepping stones leading up to it which I was tempted to leap across! The colours of the plants complemented the water elements and overall idea of the garden beautifully.
Viking Cruises Norse Garden
I could have spent the whole day in the Great Pavilion, there were countless incredible displays which I could have spent forever looking at, as well as talking to the horticulturists responsible for them.
I am biast in saying my favourite display was the Hyde’s – I was delighted when I found out they had won a Gold medal, that is their 10th gold medal in 10 years of exhibiting at Chelsea. Not a bad track record to have!
The Hyde’s Gold medal winning display
They gave everyone who helped them set up a replica of their Gold medal certificate, mine is now in a frame in pride of place at home. I was very lucky to have been involved in the setting up process, hopefully next year I can return. . !
Me in front of the Hyde’s display
I had other favourites in the Pavilion, such as the Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres display which celebrated 150 years of plantsmanship this year. They won the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2014, for their hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’.
I wasn’t a huge fan of it to be honest, it reminded me of a funny looking begonia and I wasn’t keen on the colour either. . . still you can’t please everybody!
Plant of the Year – Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’
I enjoyed the David Austin Roses, Kirstenbosch’s South African, South West in Bloom’s displays, various bonsai and cacti exhibits. . . the list is endless!
David Austin Roses
Unusual Hippeastrum display
Nong Nooch display
South West in Bloom display
Carnivorous plant display
Tropical plant display
There was fabulous floristry there too, I loved the dresses made out of flowers. I sent a photo of one to my friend who is getting married, saying I had found her wedding dress!
The Floral Design Studio was full of spectacular creations, the way the designers interpreted each class they entered was awesome. I would never have the eye to do that in a million years but I could still appreciate the hard work which was put into the displays.
Favourites from the Floral Design Studio
I liked looking round the trade stands as well as the gardens, there was one which was showing animals made entirely out of rosebuds and/or seashells. It was seriously impressive artwork, I quite fancied buying the huge gorilla but didn’t really have several thousand pounds to spend, unfortunately!
Favourite sculptures – a ballerina and meerkats!
I loved every minute of my time at Chelsea, from sweating away in the setting up process to getting wet in the rain at 7am on the last day. The cherry on top of the cake was getting to share the experience with my parents, they were so happy to have been and seen it themselves, after years of watching it on TV.
That’s all for now from Chelsea – until next year! 😉