The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is undoubtedly the most glamorous and prestigious event of the year within the horticultural and landscape design calendar. Celebrating all things plants and gardens, the wealth of expertise across a wide variety of industries is of the very highest standard. Drawing in crowds of over 150,000 people each year for a 5 day festival, the sheer scale and logistical accomplishments to put on the world’s greatest flower show every year is remarkable.
HollandGreen Landscapes attend this year’s event to explore the latest in cutting edge design, new and exciting plant and garden products. Here we have listed just a few of our favourite highlights from the gardens on Main Avenue and our observations of the latest trends that will no doubt hit our gardens in the near future.
Yes, crazy paving! This has been included in a few acclaimed Chelsea Flower Show gardens in recent years (notably the 2017 Royal Bank of Canada Garden, designed by Charlotte Harris) and made another appearance in the M&G Garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon and built by Crocus. It looks best in larger formats of stone with a sawn finish and using minimal gaps for joints for a more refined look.
Crazy paving is making a big comeback in residential gardens and when done right, can work in almost any setting. The M&G Garden won Gold Medal and the all-important Best in Show. And rightly so as it was an absolutely stunning garden and a delight to visit.
Shades of green
One of the most noticeable plant trends was the abundance of green foliage being used instead of the usual complex flower displays at Chelsea. The colour green has a wonderful calming affect which works well in more natural style gardens. A huge variety of textures, shapes and sizes provided many of the Main Avenue gardens with burts of drama and interest.
A perfect example was The Savills and David Harber Garden designed by Andrew Duff and built by Dan Flynn (Bronze Medal). Layers of Myrrhis odorata, Iris pseudacorus and Mespilus germanica looked wonderful against the back drop of the ancient London Plane trees. This beautiful ‘greening effect’ was emphasised by the reflections from the water feature as you walked around the garden, taking in views from different angles.
Organic vs linear design
The ‘Chelsea look’ has long been synonymous with using long, straight, clean lines with neat edges and restrained planting. This has started to turn the other way in recent years with movements such as grown your own, planting wild flowers, being eco-friendly and back to nature gardens now taking precedence.
The use of organic shapes such as curved paths can slow down your journey in a garden, giving you time to really take in your surroundings and make it even more enjoyable. In The Morgan Stanley Garden designed and built by Chris Beardshaw this was taking to another level with the windswept Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) that leaned over just enough that you had to duck to get around it. This garden absolutely proved that you can still achieve a cutting edge look that oozes style and sophistication without having to a use a conventional straight line layout. This garden received a Gold Medal with the stunning Pinus nigra taking centre stage.
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