Monday 25 May 2015

Some Chelsea gardens

National Schools Observatory: Dark Matter - a clever and beautifully planted evocation  of the mysteries of physics.

Although representing lush paddy fields in Cambodia, there were some appropriate visual tricks in the World Vision garden, designed by John Warland. The sunken mirrored boxes of cacti were very unexpected.

Translucent yellow rods represent ripening rice - but could also be symbolic of the retina. This was my favourite of the Fresh gardens.

The water-eye in Charlie at Chelsea's garden,sponsored by Husqvarna and Gardena, was beautifully constructed and as attractive empty as when full: even more spectacular was its sudden emptying.

Inspired by Piet Mondriaan, the colour blocks and geometric arrangement of the Telegraph Garden, designed by Marcus Barnett , were very striking, and despite the angularity it seemed a welcoming space.

In grey conditions first thing on Monday morning the Beauty of Islam garden (designer Kamelia Bin Zaal) seemed excessively pale and rather dull...
but in bright afternoon sunshine it really came to life, with shadows from the plants and structures giving it depth and contrast.

Classic Chelsea design and planting by Chris Beardshaw in the Morgan Stanley Garden. Geum (mostly) 'Totally Tangerine' was the plant of the moment.

My memories of homesteads in Lesotho do not include anything akin to the Sentebale Garden, designed for Prince Harry's charity by Matthew Keightley, but the building work and planting were very attractive. It was a shame that they hadn't sourced a few of the spectacular Lesotho endemic Aloe polyphylla to replace agaves, or worked in a few Diascia or Jamesbrittenia: there are some lovely garden plants from that country.

As with the Islamic garden, the Perfumier's Garden at Grasse, by James Basson for L'Occitane, also needed sunlight to bring out the charms of its apparently unkempt planting - but a lot of work had gone into that 'weediness'!

And the same, but even more so, is true for the masterpiece that was Dan Pearson's Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden, creating an effect that would be remarkable on a long-established site, but astonishing in a construction made in a few weeks. One felt that every clump of daisies had been treated with the same care as the old willow, azaleas and Enkianthus. An unparalleled 'Best in Show.'
The commercial displays are often overlooked, though occupying much of the showground; many are indeed are meretricious, but the immaculate display created by Sculpture by the Lakes thoroughly deserved its five-star trade exhibitors award. Not only are Simon Gudgeon's sculptures magnificent, but the landscape and planting around them (by Monique Gudgeon) was superb.


  1. Thank you for sharing, I couldn't go this year and it nice to see some fresh angles of the gardens. Much of the press coverage is very same year.

  2. I've seen them only on TV, but I like that 'Dark matter' garden a lot, together with the 'Laurent perrier Chatsworth Garden' and the ' Perfumier's Garden at Grasse' my favouriites. Nice pictures, thank you

  3. Sehr schön anzusehen, danke für´s teilen! Ich kann mir das finanziell nicht leisten nach England zu reisen, so ist es sehr schön hier in ihrem blog zu lesen und zu schauen. Sehr inspirirend!

  4. I love this ! Thank you for sharing! I posted a pic and a link to this blog on my Facebook page, Serenity in the Garden Blog

  5. This is the precise weblog for anybody who needs to seek out out about this topic. You notice so much its almost arduous to argue with you. You positively put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  6. Thank you for sharing, I couldn't go this year and it nice to see some fresh angles of the gardens. Much of the press coverage is very same year.


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