So, very late to the Chelsea blogging party, and, whilst I very nearly didn’t post at all, I was spurred on by the number of times I’ve referenced last year’s two posts (here and here) myself, to source plant or nursery names. Consequently, if I’m the only one who reads this, so be it!
I attended this year on Tuesday, after work, and as always, the show was fascinating, but for me, not quite as impressive as last year.
Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden, by Ishiihara Kazuyuki Design. Again the moss took centre stage and, like last year, I found his design fresh and beguiling.
In the main show gardens, whilst I hugely admired Dan Pearson’s Chatsworth garden, to me it’s not what Chelsea’s about. It was undoubtedly beautiful, moving and completed ‘owned’ its triangular plot, but I like a Chelsea Garden to inform my own gardening and leave me with dreams and ideas about what I could do back home; on the basis that I’m not about to start craning in huge rocks and I’d rather admire wild flowers on the Duver, for me it was brilliant but not inspiring. Does that make any sense?
And, whilst the Sentabale Hope in Vulnerability Garden, also wasn’t exactly relevant to a garden on the Isle of Wight, I somehow completely forgave it. Partly, I think, because it was for charity, and partly because I just loved all the wooden construction and how evocative it was, even in the gloom, of the colours of Africa.
The second garden related to breast cancer, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, was also striking, particularly the contrast between the hard landscaping and the softness of the planting. I also found the sculpture, by Rick Kirby, really moving. It is designed to symbolise the ‘courage and dignity of all those fighting the disease’.
I think my favourite planting was at the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw. After the show, the garden will be transferred almost entirely to form the centrepiece of a new community project that is being launched by Morgan Stanley in East London.
Another garden where I enjoyed both the planting and the design, was the Pure Land Foundation Garden. There was something so fresh about the organic white walls and the warm oranges and yellows of the planting. Plenty of inspiration for my new Bronze bed here.
I wasn’t looking forward to the Telegraph Garden as I’m not a big fan of straight lines in gardens, and I also felt that a Mondrian inspired garden, when he used no green, seemed a strange basis for the planting, but actually I warmed to the garden as I looked more closely. There were definitely some issues with plants not yet flowering, but there were some stunning combinations including the Tulips Couleur Cardinal and poppies, growing through the grasses.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden I’d seen on the early BBC coverage, (I still haven’t seen any coverage since Monday) and I thought the slate looked overwhelming. In real life that wasn’t the case at all, and although the slate made a fantastic feature, it seemed to recede against the planting.
In the Fresh Gardens, I liked the Dark Matter Garden, with all it was trying to convey. And whilst the concept of dark matter is rather challenging, enjoying the shapes and colours of the steel – together with the matching verbascum – was easy.
More curvilinear shapes at the Royal Bank of Canada garden designed by Matthew Wilson. The bench here definitely won my ‘structure of the show’ award. Just stunning.
And what’s even more exciting is that the garden is being moved to the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight after the show.