Review by Dieneke Ferguson
5th June 2018
It was a real pleasure to visit the Chelsea Flower Show (22-26 May) this year. Most gardens aimed to inspire visitors in one way or another: whether it was to improve health and wellbeing, to make a difference by planting to control climate change, flooding and pollution or to transform their urban, compact or unusual outdoor spaces.
In total there were 26 gardens, including the Artisan Gardens and the brand new Spaces to Grow Gardens. In addition the Great Pavillion housed more than 80 magnificent floral displays.
M & G garden
Gold Medal Winner
Three elements, wall, trees and seating create an intimate, sheltered oasis of calm
The garden takes inspiration from the Mediterranean’s sustainable materials and vibrant planting to create a quiet, intimate place for repose and reflection.
It uses Mediterranean flora and raw materials dug directly out of the earth (clay, aggregate, pigment and tile) the space celebrates the expressive language of colour, texture, light and shadow. This is the garden of contrasts.
Scarlet, pink, lilac and yellow flowers are held together by grassy swathes. And pomegranate trees command attention.
Designer: Sarah Price
Sponsor: M & G Investments
The Wedgwood Garden
Gold Medal Winner+
The Wedgwood Garden is the modern interpretation of the secret gardens and tea gardens in vogue until the 18th century. Here people socialised, enjoyed nature and drank tea.
The colours of the planting were drawn from 18th Century colour trials carried out by Josian Wedgwood and which were often dictated by the metal oxides available for the staining of the clay mixtures.
Designer: Jo Thompson
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
Gold Medal Winner
The Garden is inspired by the Yorkshire Dales. Set on the edge of woodland, a beck runs past a stone bothy into soft pastures. The colour scheme has hints of purple, pink and white with a mixture of dense and varied planting. Dry limestone walls.
A celebration of Yorkshire’s natural materials, traditional crafts and artisan food. The stone used in the garden was picked from the Bolton Estate.
Designer: Mark Gregory. Yorkshire is his home county.
Sponsor: Welcome to Yorkshire. Yorkshire.com
Wuhan Water Garden
The Wuhan Water Garden celebrates Wuhan’s water-inspired culture- China’s City of 100 lakes – and calls for sustained environmental action to protect Mother Nature’s most precious gift to humanity. The garden is a celebration of the natural and urban landscapes of the region and the centuries-old water management systems of Wuhan. The vibrancy of the city is expressed through colour and geometric forms in the central area of the garden. This contrasts with the calmer informal woodland style planting of the surrounding landscape.
The garden contains about 75 different species and 5500 plants and is a celebration of Chinese flora.
‘The Wuhan Water Garden’ aims to tell a compelling story about ancient water management with a contemporary environmental message, depicting the unique geography, history, plant resources and technical achievements of Wuhan – China’s City of 100 Lakes.
Designers: Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins
LG Eco-City Garden
The Garden represents the green space allocated to one housing unit in a ‘vertical forest’ of residential appartments.
The garden highlights the increased presence of technology and our dependence on it, and raises awareness of the environmental issues and responsibilities we face in reducing pollution in modern urban life.
Each house has its own spacious terraces accessed from the kitchen and designed to receive plenty of sunlight. The plants and trees play a role in the seasonal control of oxygen generation, humidity control, temperature moderation and the reduction of carbon dioxide.
Addressing serious concern about the decline of pollinators and their habitat, the naturalistic planting scheme shows how to incorporate wildflowers, perennials and a looser meadow-style planting into a garden.
Designer: Hay-Young Hwang
Sponsors: IG Electronics ig.com/uk
The trailfinders South African Wine Estate
This garden is a snapshot of a traditional South African wine estate in the winelands of South Africa’s Western Cape.
Beyond the vineyard is a representation of the wild and beautiful fynbos landscape including agapanthus, gladiolio and pelargoniums shown in their natural environment among an evergreen, leathery-leaved Mediterranean- type shrubland with occasional splashes of bright colours and exotic looking flowers.
Designer: Jonathan Snow
Sponsors: Trainfinders Ltd
Lemon Tree Trust Garden
The Lemon Tree Trust Garden is inspired by the resilience, determination and ingenuity of refugees living in Domiz, Kurdistan Region of Iran. Designed with the input of refugees, the garden highlights the unexpected beauty hidden in the camp. It uses materials typically available in refugee camps, such as concrete and steel. The drought-tolerant planting scheme features plants grown in the area.
The Lemon Tree Trust supports gardening initiatives in refugee communities as a way to restore dignity, purpose and cultural identity. They help bring people together through the provision of seeds and plants, garden competitions and education centres.
The design evokes a garden that would be used by families in a community of refugees in Domiz Camp in northern Iraq, providing a way to bring order to a chaotic situation, as well as a space to come together as a community and to learn about horticulture.
Designer: Tom Massey
Sponsor: The Lemon Tree Trust.
SPACES TO GROW GARDENS
All these urban spaces deliver a message through their design and horticulture. They offer a new source of ideas and trends for everyone showing how to incorporate plants into our lives.
New West End Garden
A modern interpretation of the gardens and architecture of a London square, it combines environmentally positive technology as showcased in Bird Street, located just off Oxford Street, to create a modern pocket of green space in the heart of London.
Designer: Kate Gould
Sponsors: new West End Company and Sir Simon Milton Foundation.
Pearl Fisher Garden
The Pearlfisher Garden has been designed to highlight the threat of plastic waste to the world’s largest garden, the underwater garden of our oceans. A series of aquatic tanks highlight the threat that plastic poses to the food chain. A sculpture of Jason de Caires Taylor;’s Coral Man illustrates the effect of coral bleaching whilst a boundary wall made from 500 recyclable plastic bottles highlights the amount of plastic thrown into the ocean every 2.5 seconds.
A celebration the largest “garden” in the world, the one underneath our great oceans. It aims to highlight the beauty of this underwater world whilst acting as a warning of what is at risk.
Designer: John Warland and Pearlfisher Team
Myeloma UK Garden
The garden design has been inspired by the story of Peter King, who lost his wife Gill and brother Graham to myeloma in 2016. The large-scale head and shoulder sculpture at the centre of the garden is modelled on Peter and Gill’s daughter Gemma and represents the role of the carer. The boulders represent plasma cells for which the cancer arises, as well as symbols of the barriers and obstacles people face in care
Various plants represent how intervention from Myeloma UK, medicine carers and family help someone who is living with myeloma.
There is no defined path through the garden, which mirrors the situation many myeloma patients face.
A contemporary design with a unique, bold sculpture, this garden aims to demonstrate the work of Myeloma UK and what its medical profession and carers do to help myeloma sufferers and their families.
Designer: John Everiss and Francesca Murrell
Sponsor: Myeloma UK
Cherub HIV Garden: A Life Without Walls
The garden represents the breaking down of the stigma around HIV and intends to show that anyone can live well with HIV. The garden represents the journey faced by a young person living with HIV. The end of the journey is an open seating area, symbolising a society where young people are accepted without prejudice.
The aim of the garden is to increase awareness of HIV, the issues surrounding young people with HIV, and how CHERUB (which stands for Collaborative HIV Eradication of Reservoirs UK BRC) are working to find a cure.
Designer: Naomi Ferrett-Cohen
Sponsor: Gilead Sciences and Cherub
Silent Pool Gin Garden
The garden is inspired by the Silent Pool Distillery located in the Surrey Hills. UK-Sourced materials include Portland Stone, Purbeck walling and weathered oak.
This garden is intended for a professional couple who live in the city and require a space to escape to and unwind from their busy lives.
The gin-making process is represented through laser-cut copper panes, copper distillation helmets and a central ‘citrus peel’ sculpture.The planting, in tones of blus, whites, green and copper blends to create a calming ambience.
Five of Silent Pool Gin’s 24 botanicals have been used, including angelica, iris and rose.
Designer: Neale Richards Garden Design
Sponsors: Silent Pool Distillers
These smaller plots are jewels in the showground, each incorporating elements of the master craftsman.
O-mo-te-na-shi No NIWA – the Hospitality Garden
Inspired by ‘Omotenasdhi’ , a Japanese concept of wholehearted and sincere hospitality received with gratitude, the garden’s aim is to instill such a feeling in visitors.
The garden also focuses on Ikenobo, the oldest Japanese flower arrangement, where flowers are carefully inserted even when unobserved or in ‘invisible places’.
The low entrance gate, requiring a stoop, encourages mindfulness.
Inspired by ‘omotenashi’, the Japanese concept of wholehearted and sincere hospitality received with gratitude, the garden’s aim is to offer the feeling to visitors.
Designer: Kazuyuki Ishihara MSGD
Sponsor: G-Lion & Cat’s Co Ltd
The Claims Guys: A very English Garden
This garden is a celebration of craftmanship and tradition with inspiration drawn from the Arts and Crafts Movement. A dry stone half domed niche, promoting the art of the craftsman, is the focal point of the garden.
Designer: Janine Crimmins
Sponsor: The Claims Guys
Contractor: Andrew Loudon Master Craftsman.
British Council Gardens: India – A Billion Dreams
This garden marks the end of the UK-India Year of Culture, launched at Buckingham Palace in February 2017. In honour of this, the garden represents the historic and contemporaries ties between both countries.
The garden is inspired by the documentary on the life of Sachin Tendulkar – India’s greatest cricketer (2017). His journey is a metaphor for the hopes and dreams of young Indian to become a cricketer. The aspiration is represented through flowers and gardens. The garden structure is inspired by the Moghul Gardens of North India and symbolises parts of the game of cricket. It includes Pietra Dura marblework and paintings produced by Artisans in India
Designer: Sarah Eberle
Commissioner: British Council India
The Embroidered Minds Epilepsy Garden
The garden is inspired by Leslie Forbes’ novel ‘Embroidered Minds of the Morris Women’, a novel which investigates William Morris’ daughter Jenny’s experience of epilepsy and the effects it had on the Morris family in the Victorian era when the condition carried huge social stigma.
Designer: Kati Crome
Sponsor: Embroidered Minds
The Supershoes, Laced with Hope Gardens
This garden offers some insight into a child’s journey through cancer whilst highlighting the ork of the Supershoes Charity.
The artwork that frames the garden represents the way the charity uses art on shoes to empower children. The planting scheme works in harmony with the art work.
The colour gold represents childhood cancer and is used in the lace sculpture, while other bright colours and large flowers in the planting, incl. Mixed perenniuals and roses, provide a psychological boost in stresstful times.
Designer: Laura Anstiss
Sponsor: Frosts Garden Centres
THE GREAT PAVILLION
The Great Pavillion housed more than 80 magnificent floral displays.
Jo Elbourne exhibited selected handwoven art and occasional furniture.
Lizzy Chambers produces exquisite glass Botanical Jewellery.
Tom’s Studio designs handcrafted writing instruments and his wife Gemma Milly designs fine stationery and calligraphy.
This is a garden that is designed to enjoy food and drink. Offering entertainment and a dining experience. Tom Raffield’s Lights were displayed proudly at the entrance.
Chelsea in Bloom 21-16 May 2018
This year’s theme is Summer of Love inspired by the Royal Wedding.
This is complementary to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with installations created by retailers competing for the Chelsea in Bloom Awards. Over 56 stores participated.