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Monday April 19 , 2021

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Chelsea 2011

Posted by on in Garden Design
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It can't have escaped your notice that was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show recently and what a show it was from beautiful displays in the floral marquee through to amazing show gardens!  For me it was the show gardens that really attracted me the most, don't get me wrong I am a plant lover but I prefer to look at plants in situ and see how they work with other plants and different materials.

An RHS Gold Medal and The Best In Show Award went to The Daily Telegraph Garden designed by Cleve West who demonstrates how the more traditional materials can be combined with more modern materials comfortably.  Space too was included in his design which is a brave yet confident move, a lot of show gardens are crammed full but this space added to the calm and peacefulness of the garden.  For me personally it wasn't best in show - call me what you will but I didn't feel inspired and excited by this garden, I loved the planting and the clever use of materials but it felt 'comfy'.

Gold Medal winners for The B&Q Garden demonstrated how we can use space in our garden more effectively after all space is a premium these days and it was the tallest show garden at Chelsea by far!  There are two main sections of the garden one is the lower space planted mainly with perennials and herbs.  The second section has a tall 'bug hotel' that local schools contributed to and a tower which was a representation of flats with balconies, it show us how we can grow edible crops in such small spaces.  Definitely a gold winner in my book!


The RBC New Wild Garden is another Gold Medal winner and rightly so.  I felt very comfortable with this garden from the planting to the hardlandscaping it all worked and definately inspries me to be more aware of ecological and sustainabilty issues.  The renovated shipping container made into a studio looks great, probably not practical for our climate but ideas there to take away for your own garden - the bug hotel on the side is a great touch! The walls too are a great addition, look closely and you'll see very innovative bug hotel ideas...can you see the books?!  The reflective pools certainly add a different dimension and the planting is absolutely gorgeous - it really is a contender for Best in Show!



Another Gold Medal winner was the Laurent Perrier Garden designed by Luciano Guibbilei it has some really stunning planting which created a romantic and relaxed feel.  The focal point is the bamboo structure at the back of the garden which your eye is drawn to via a 'canal like' water feature. The bamboo structure has a seat inside and each element rotates in the wind mirroring the flowers as they sway in the breeze.  Multi-stemmed Parrotia persica add interest and structure, they are underplanted with softer hue coloured plants for example Iris 'Sultan's Palace' and Verbasum 'Pink Domino'.  For me, another contender for Best in Show!



The Principality of Monaco Garden designed by Sarah Eberle was commissioned by the Prince of Monaco and yet another Gold Medal winner.  This garden is just sheer indulgence, she uses space well and confidently including so many elements demonstrating how to have sustainable features for high density living.  The walls were planted so too was the roof which looked like a lavendar carpet, planting also frames the walkway with sun loungers to the plunge pool - yet she still manages to not make it feel cluttered or busy! Stunning and inspirational....must remember to do the lottery!!

There are just so many more show gardens that are equally as wonderful.  Dairmund Gavin's Irish Sky Garden won Gold and the People's Choice award, his planting looked effortless with only one or two flowers but mainly he was celebrating shades of green which worked extremely well. He has been nicknmed the bad boy of garden design and this year he included a bright pink flying pod which had seats inside plus plants on and in it!

Bunny Guinness who designed the  M&G Investments garden won a Silver-Gilt Award.  This garden is classed as a modern take on a traditional kitchen garden - the raised beds are framed with willow and have an edge so you can perch on if you need a break.  A plunge pool is located right in the middle but its a plunge pool for watering cans....I love this idea but can't help thinking it isn't practical or cost effective to have a pump in a watering can water collection pool.  I like the way she has combined her planting but sadly she was marked down due to how full the borders were - I don't agree with that personally I think it looks great and is the way a lot of us garden in reality.

So much more I could write, I've not even touched on the Urban or the Artisan Gardens yet...maybe another day!

Sustainability is a huge issue throughout Chelsea and many other shows like this and we're told that a lot of these gardens are being broken down and resited or in the case of the M&G Investments garden the vegetables are being given to the Chelsea pensioners and local schools!


Nicki Jackson is Blue Daisy's garden designer & owner. A former HR consultant Nicki still finds the time to run Blue Daisy, design gardens and planting plans, write a blog, keep our gardening clients happy and offer IIP advice and outplacement support through Blue Daisy Consultancy.

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