This year’s Chelsea Flower Show did not disappoint. It is without doubt the highlight of my year, professionally and personally.
I started my garden maintenance business in 2003, just me, my van and a handful of gardening tools and a couple of second hand power tools. I dreamed that one day I would build up a business that enabled me to create and nurture other people’s gardens.
Fourteen years later, I employ a strong team of 13 gardeners and I spend my days creating flamboyant and beautiful planting plans, proudly walking clients through their newly created gardens. Then there is the added bonus of being able to attend events such as Chelsea Flower Show.
As I look to the future and ask myself what do I want to achieve next…, dare I say it…to be considered by my clients and amongst others as one of the top garden designers and to actually design a show garden.
Upon arrival, the hustle and bustle of main street where all the show gardens are positioned filled me with immediate excitement. There were 22 judged gardens at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show and eight show gardens were awarded an RHS Gold medal (the highest accolade sought by garden designers.)
The first garden I immediately looked at was the ‘M&G Garden’, designed by James Basson, whose previous RHS Chelsea Flower Show designs won gold in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The ‘M&G Garden’ was awarded ‘Best Show Garden’and encompassed tall towers that looked like sand stone blocks reaching high up in to the sky, I really liked this garden. The tall stone blocks looked like a Greek or Italian ruin or part of a village that was left for years with the plants naturally taking over. For me, the tower blocks were the main focal point and it was great to see the use of such height in a garden.
I then stopped and looked at the ‘Yorkshire Garden’, this was meant to replicate a sea side walk or the natural surroundings you see when at the seaside. It was very impressive but like the M&G Garden it was replicating nature.
The ‘500 years of Covent Garden’ designed by Lee Bestall was also very good, winning a Silver. The show garden had a sunken garden and a number of unusual trees. In fact it was nice to see that so many gardens had incorporated different trees, from apple to pine with the ‘Royal Bank of Canada Garden’ using Dutch Elm Trees that also featured in many other gardens throughout the show.
The ‘Breaking Ground Garden’ had a fantastic use of water along with large sections of steel frames that resembled a climbing frame. Personally it wasn’t the sort of structure I would use in any of my gardens but it was very impressive none the less.
The ‘Linklaters Garden for Maggies’, the pioneering vision of the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, who understood the need for people with cancer to have access to restorative green spaces, was the inspiration for this garden. The designer, Darren Hawkes, had basically blocked the garden off from the public with large Hornbeam hedges forcing you to walk through the garden. A novel idea but it lacked a little wow factor, the use of a large slate structure was impressive but that was all that seemed to attract your eye.
Last and by no means least, my favourite garden of the show ‘The Morgan Stanley Garden’. Annoyingly, it only received a silver guilt award which I didn’t feel was fair. I can only put this down to the fact that some plants were not flowering, therefore not giving a big enough display that the judges were looking for. The planting was superb, a real mix of plants and not an inch of soil on display.
With several company details in tow, I leave the show thoroughly pleased with this year’s efforts. It was a true British summer day, if you ever get the chance to go I suggest you do.
It is a fantastic day out and you will come away with lots of planting ideas and horticultural inspiration that you can bring back to your garden.
If you were lucky enough to attend Chelsea Flower Show this year, I would love to hear what you thought, tweet me