Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – show gardens


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.

Two Artisan Gardens stood out for me – the Breast Cancer Haven Garden, which won Peoples’ Choice and a Gold medal, and IMG_7268

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.IMG_7272

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.IMG_7319IMG_7320


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’.IMG_7400

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.IMG_7364

Much of the planting used the sort of ‘bruised’ colours I’m trying to bring together in my Mid Century Bed at home.  I particularly liked the Lupin Masterpiece andIMG_7375

and Verbascum Merlin.                                 IMG_7371

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.IMG_7302

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.IMG_7390


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.



As you can see from the photo above, the storm clouds were gathering, and indeed, the heavens opened.  Time to head to the Grand Pavilion…IMG_7420

11 thoughts on “Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – show gardens

  1. mattb325

    Those lupins are utterly magnificent! Thanks for posting, it was nice to see some gardens that weren’t all on the main stretch of chelsea

  2. digwithdorris

    I too was there on Tuesday afternoon and had to shelter from the hailstorm. I had a wonderful afternoon but was less impressed with some of the gardens yet was completely wowed by the scale and ambition of the Laurent Perrier garden. I did come home with lots of ideas and lists of plants and I did find it immensely inspiring.
    The marquee was a stunner this year perhaps as it was not as hot as some years. Lovely photos

  3. Chloris

    Thank you for a great round up of Chelsea. I missed it all this year. As I was away I didn’ t even see the TV coverage. I particularly like the colour combinations in the Healthy Cities garden.

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Yes absolutely. I didn’t see much coverage of it at all, (but then I only saw Sunday and Monday’s TV coverage so it was probably there somewhere), but the planting definitely stood out for me.

  4. homeslip

    Yes, thanks for this review. I agree with you about Dan Pearson’s garden. Even though I’ve been a fan since his Home Farm days and I love reading his page in the Observer I felt that it didn’t come over at all on TV and I would rather appreciate rock formation and trout streams in their natural habitats. I’ve never been to Chelsea despite being an RHS member for more than 20 years. I had a bad experience at the Hampton Court Flower Show one year, I think it was 2003 and it was boiling and I said never again especially as I had missed out on a lovely cycle ride with my husband and children along the tow path to Ham House. Also it is the busiest time for me at the allotment and in the past I was always getting ready to go on holiday with all the preparation that involved. Maybe next year … I think I would enjoy the pavilion more than the smoke and mirrors of the show gardens. I have enjoyed dipping into your blog from time to time Jen. I’m new to blogging but yours is always interesting.

  5. jenhumm116 Post author

    Thanks Homesliip.
    And thanks for commenting on Dan Pearson’s garden. I note everyone else has avoided the issue so I was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way!
    Like you I’m a huge fan, and excited that he’ll be designing the Thames bridge (if it happens) but to me, Chelsea is all about floral abundance, not recreations of the wild (however beautiful and authentic), so it didn’t work for me.
    And with regard to your never visiting Chelsea before, I always go on the 5.30 ticket by which stage it tends to be thinning out a bit and you can actually get to see things without the crush.


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