RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Heralded as the world’s most prestigious horticultural event, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show 2017, opens to the public from Tuesday 23rd May 2017 until Saturday 27th May 2017.  Visitors will be treated to exhibits showcasing the latest new plant introductions, alongside beautiful gardens, which demonstrate the latest ideas in garden and landscape design, many of which feature new, rare, unusual, and interesting plants, grouped together with much loved old favourites.

Garden Designer James Basson has had goodness knows how many tones of Maltese limestone quarried and delivered to Chelsea in order to create an authentic representation of Malta in The M&G Garden 2017.  In support of the garden, the Maltese government has given special permission for scarce and rare plants, which are endemic to Malta, to be shipped over to London to feature in The M&G Garden 2017.  James Basson has designed The M&G Garden 2017 to remind us that the precious resources our planet holds are limited, and to encourage us into action to conserve water, create a compost heap, recycle waste, and protect our beautiful world.

A new feature at Chelsea this year is the Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, five gardens which celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Radio 2.  Designed to demonstrate how plants enrich our lives through each of the five senses – sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound, each of the Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens honours a leading presenter from Radio 2.

There are exhibits from over one hundred specialist nurseries and florists inside the Grand Pavilion, as well as two hundred and seventy shopping stands across the show.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 is sponsored by M&G Investments.

Greening Grey Britain

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017 was designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, demonstrates creative approaches to sustainable garden design, pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Professor Nigel Dunnett has designed the RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017, to demonstrate ideas of how to minimise the impact urban development has on our environment and to encourage creative thinking to maximise and make the most of the limited space available in inner city and urban areas.  Featuring drought tolerant and pollution absorbing plants, and the first ‘street art wall’ to appear at the Chelsea Flower Show, alongside creative ideas for bike storage, edible planting, recycling and composting facilities, this Show Garden is sure to provide inspiration to both property developers and the public.

Zingy Euphorbias contrasted with the purple-blue of Salvias in The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017 is set in a built up, urban environment, this garden has been designed for an apartment block, it features a communal areas, with small terraces for the ground floor apartments, and balconies for the homes higher up.

The Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017 showcases a wide range of creative, effective and useful approaches to sustainable garden and landscape design.  Visitors will find many helpful ideas and inspiration for growing plants in small spaces, and for integrating functional, boring, but necessary things, such as bin and bike storage into a small garden.

Professor Nigel Dunnett has created a water sensitive design which features rain garden ideas that will cope with the effects of flash flooding and other effects of global warming in his design for the Greening Grey Britain Garden 2017.

A closer look at the water feature in The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
A closer look at the water feature in The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, demonstrates creative approaches to sustainable garden design, pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Beautiful bike racks and green wheelie bin storage on the Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, demonstrates creative approaches to sustainable garden design, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Zingy Euphorbias contrasted with the purple-blue of Salvias in The Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s

Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s is sponsored by Linklaters and designed by Darren Hawkes.  This Show Garden was built by Bowles & Wyer.

Darren Hawkes pictured in the Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The pioneering vision of the late Maggie Keswick, a cancer sufferer, who together with her husband, her oncology nurse Laura Lee, and other medics, devised a new, more positive approach to cancer care, is celebrated in Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s, which was designed by Darren Hawkes for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Maggie Keswick was aware of the importance for cancer sufferers to have an escape away from the clinical environment of hospitals and find a private, welcoming, outdoor space to relax, regroup, and enjoy the natural world and just to appreciate the moment.

Reflecting on the importance of this desire for a private green space, in his design for the Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s, Darren Hawkes has created a secret garden, which is enveloped and protected by a hornbeam hedge.  Visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show can take glimpses of the garden through the hedge, but the real viewpoint to this garden is only able to be seen through an entrance at the back of the garden, which is accessible via steps on one side and via a ramp on the other side.

The Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s displays a number of features which have all been crafted from a single cuboid of basalt concrete, including: benches, water features, paving, and buildings.  These concrete garden features can be reassembled to form the cuboid they were originally crafted from.  This mass of shapes which are able to come apart and then reform into its original mass and shape, is to demonstrate to visitors that lives can be put back together again after receiving a cancer diagnosis, and to show that you can enjoy life while suffering with cancer.

Visitors can admire the planting combinations of Box, Elder, Hostas, Rodgersias, Thalictrum, and Irises, while roses and peonies add a rather sumptuous beauty with their perfumes, colours and textures that encourage visitors to appreciate each different and special moment of life.  A large Amelanchier tree adds height and a sense of tranquility to the garden.

Elements from the Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s, that can be seen at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, will feature at a new Maggie’s Centre being built at Bart’s Hospital in London.

Darren Hawkes pictured watering the Linklaters Garden for Maggies, which Darren designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

This magnificent display of daffodils was created by Walkers Bulbs at Taylors.
Pictured in the Great Pavilion at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Morrice and Ann Innes, pictured with their fantastic potato exhibit, inside the Great Pavilion, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
A fantastic display of potatoes grown by Morrice and Ann Innes, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Claire Batten from Penberth Plants, pictured inside the Great Pavilion, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Jeff Rowe and Claire Batten from Penberth Plants in Cornwall, were presented with a Gold Medal and the Diamond Jubilee Award, by the RHS judges at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. A great achievement, congratulations!
Anne Godfrey from Daisy Roots Nursery, pictured with the Gold Medal she was presented with by the RHS judges, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

To find out more about Anne Godfrey and Daisy Roots Nursery, please click here.

Patricia Gibbons with the Acer exhibit from Hippopottering Nursery, a peat free Acer nursery. Pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
A wonderful exhibit created by the Orchid Society of Great Britain, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
A wonderful exhibit created by the Orchid Society of Great Britain, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman from Craig House Cacti, pictured with their exhibit which displayed modern ways to display cacti and succulents in the home, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

To find out more about Craig House Cacti and see modern ways of displaying cacti and succulents inside the home, please click here.

Jacques Amand International’s beautiful exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Jacques Amand International’s beautiful exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Rosy Hardy from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, pictured with Hardy’s beautiful exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

James Doran-Webb, driftwood sculptor (left) and John Bishop (plantsman) on the Doran-Webb sculpture stand, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Over on the trade stands at the Chelsea Flower Show, I was impressed with the planting by John Bishop.  John planted the Ian Gill Sculpture stand, and the James Doran-Webb sculpture stand, which you see pictured above, this stand was awarded the Best Trade Stand by the RHS judges.

Welcome to Yorkshire

Garden designer Tracy Foster, pictured being filmed in The Welcome To Yorkshire Show Garden, which Tracy designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Garden Designer Tracy Foster has taken inspiration from the county of Yorkshire for her design for the Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

As well as inspiration, Tracy has taken great care to ensure her garden is as authentically Yorkshire, as is possible in Chelsea – the stone used to create the ruin in this Show Garden was collected from the same quarry that supplied the stone for Whitby Abbey.

Tracy has also gone on to take the trouble to find stone formed with the same geological composition as the cliffs at Flamborough Head, to use to create this Show Garden’s cliffs.

A closer look at the beautiful wild flowers pictured in the Welcome To Yorkshire Garden. The Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden was designed Tracy Foster, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Garden Designer Tracy Foster has sourced plants, such as thift, which are found along the coastline, and in and around the surrounding areas of Yorkshire, to ensure that The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden is as reflective, and authentic a representation as is possible, of the beautiful area that the garden is showcasing.

A closer look at the beautiful wild flowers pictured in the Welcome To Yorkshire Garden. The Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden was designed Tracy Foster, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s edible crop plants have been included to represent Yorkshire’s rich soil and farmland.  Liquorice plants, also known by their botanical name of Glycyrrhiza glabra, feature as liquorice was once widely grown in Yorkshire, whilst herbs in the Show Garden reflect the rich history of herb growing and the specialist medicinal herb knowledge found in abbeys and other institutions in times gone by.

Artist Julie Cope has painted a special 3D Trompe l’oeil painting which can be seen at the back of the garden.

A closer look at the beautiful wild flowers pictured in the Welcome To Yorkshire Garden. Artist Julie Cope painted the Trompe l’oeil at the back of the garden. The Welcome to Yorkshire Show Garden was designed Tracy Foster, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Hagakure – Hidden Leaves

Hagakure – Hidden Leaves was designed by Shuko Noda and built by Frogheath Landscapes.  This artisan garden was sponsored by Nishikyushu University, Hanamizuki Corporation & Ippudo.

This Artisan Garden is entitled Hagakure – Hidden Leaves.
The garden was designed by Shuko Noda, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

‘Hagakure’, meaning ‘Hidden leaves’ expresses both living and dying.  The name Hagakure comes from the title of a Samurai text book, which teaches the values of Japanese society and their way of life to its readers.  The Artisan Garden, Hagakure – Hidden Leaves, was designed by Shuko Noda, to express the five senses, and to appeal to the visitor to be thankful and appreciative of life’s opportunities, in a peaceful space, away from the noises and the stresses of our daily lives.

The main colour scheme of the Hagakure – Hidden Leaves Garden is white, as this is the symbol of purity and sacredness in Japan.  Garden Designer Shuko Noda, has included the white flowered Cornus kousa in his design, as its flowers remind the designer of Monks clothing. The designer aims to emulate the nature and environment of the Saga region in Japan in his design for Hagakure – Hidden Leaves, by using plants such as Iris japonica and Hydrangea macrophylla.

The Morgan Stanley Garden

The Morgan Stanley Garden designed by Chris Beardshaw for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The Morgan Stanley Garden was designed by Chris Beardshaw, and built by Chris Beardshaw Ltd.

Chris Beardshaw’s own studies of fractal geometry found in nature, formed the inspiration for the design for The Morgan Stanley Garden.

This is the third year that Morgan Stanley and Chris Beardshaw have collaborated on a Chelsea Show Garden.  This year, The Morgan Stanley Garden’s central theme is education.  With education in mind, the National Youth Orchestra were invited to work together with Chris Beardshaw and Morgan Stanley, to explore their emotional responses to the garden’s design.  Lauren Marshall, the Principle Composer for the National Youth Orchestra, composed a new piece of music inspired by the Morgan Stanley Garden, which the National Youth Orchestra performed at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Members of the National Youth Orchestra perform music composed by Lauren Marshal in the loggia on the Morgan Stanley Garden. The Morgan Stanley Garden was designed by Chris Beardshaw, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Members of the National Youth Orchestra perform a piece of music specially composed for the Morgan Stanley Garden, which was designed by Chris Beardshaw, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The Morgan Stanley Garden features a tranquil woodland area, where native Acer Campestre forms part of a green and naturalistically planted woodland, which is underplanted with perennials.  Soft, unclipped Taxus baccata and Buxus sempervirens form part of the tapestry of greens in this soothing, secluded area of the garden.

Lupins were a popular plant at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. Here’s Lupin ‘Persian Slipper’, pictured on the Morgan Stanley Garden, which was designed by Chris Beardshaw, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

In contrast, a formal, bright, and open terrace features clipped Taxus baccata specimens, colourful flowers, and a characterful Pinus sylvestris tree.  To read my interview with Chris Beardshaw and discover more about The Morgan Stanley Garden, please click here.

Angelica pictured on the Morgan Stanley Garden designed by Chris Beardshaw for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The M&G Garden 2017

The M&G Garden, designed by James Basson, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The M&G Garden 2017 was designed by James Basson, the contractor for this garden was Crocus.

James Basson took his inspiration from Malta for his design for the M&G Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  The M&G Garden has been designed to convey the importance and urgent need, for real and decisive action to protect our planet and its resources by introducing ecologically sustainable methods of recycling, composting, collecting and conserving water and reducing waste.

Malta is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries on Earth.  Consequently, with a large number of occupants and limited resources, the Maltese government have introduced effective recycling schemes: they encourage the residents to reduce waste by recycling, composting, and collecting rainwater.

The M&G Garden is designed to sit within a quarry, with different areas of the garden representing different ecosystems and environments, from water, through to cliffs, and everything in between.  Limestone is a prominent feature of this garden, the limestone in the M&G Garden was quarried in Malta, and has been shipped to London especially for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Maltese government has given special permission for some unusual plants that are only found in Malta to be included in the M&G Garden.  These include: Euphorbia melitensis, Salsola melitensis, Limonium melitense, and Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis.  The M&G Garden features a rather ancient Pistacia lentiscus shrub and a carob tree – Ceratonia siliqua which add character and atmosphere to the garden.

Designer James Basson has featured grasses, trees, heathers, and evergreens in the M&G Garden.  The M&G Garden features predominantly yellow coloured flowers, as this garden displays the spring flowering plants that are endemic to Malta, to give an accurate reflection of the blooms that visitors or residents of this island would discover during a spring walk or hike.

James Basson, in highlighting and bringing to our attention how Malta has adapted to overcome the challenges of living more sustainably in a rather frivolous, materialistic, and consumerist society, is encouraging us all to consider our way of life, and make the necessary changes to live more sustainably, in order to protect the future of the wonderful world, which we are so lucky to live in.

Limestone columns in James Basson’s M&G garden at RHS Chelsea 2017.

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden: ‘500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco, was designed by Lee Bestall and built by JPH Landscapes.

500 Years of Covent Garden, designed by Lee Bestall for the Sir Simon Milton Foundation.

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco was sponsored by Capco Covent Garden and The Sir Simon Milton Foundation and designed by Lee Bestall.

Lee Bestall celebrates five hundred years of Covent Garden in his design for The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’, as he attempts to convey the character and charm of Covent Garden to visitors, whilst also paying tribute to the rich, historic heritage of this iconic area of London.

Back in 1200, the area we know now as Covent Garden, was used by Westminster Abbey for arable land and orchards.  Time moved on, and from the seventeenth century onwards, fruit and vegetable markets were held in and around this locality.  Over time, the open air fruit and vegetable markets of this area of London moved, re-established themselves, and evolved.  Flower sellers, together with the fruit and vegetable merchants, came to epitomise the area with its busy, bustling character and alluring charisma.

The iron structures that feature in The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’, are designed to reflect the distinctive arches of the Market Building that can be seen by visitors to Covent Garden today.  The beautiful, old apple tree that features in the garden is a reminder of the area’s history as an orchard.  This venerable tree adds a charming character to garden, somewhat reflective of the charm and affection that Covent Garden holds with the nation.

Capco Covent Garden, joined in partnership with the Westminster charity, The Sir Simon Milton Foundation, as sponsors of this special Show Garden, to share their celebration of the past five hundred years of history of Covent Garden, celebrating the character, history, and charm of this iconic area of London, with visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  You can find out more about this Show Garden, The 500 Years of Covent Garden, in my interview with Garden Designer Lee Bestall.

A close-up of Lupinus ‘Rachel de Thame’ pictured on the The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden:’500 years of Covent Garden’ in partnership with Capco, designed by Lee Bestall for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Rosa ‘Dame Judi Dench’

Dame Judi Dench, pictured with the rose named in her honour at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

For more information, you can read about the three new roses bred by David Austin Roses here – New Introductions from David Austin Roses for 2017 and 2018.

David Austin’s stand is a scented sea of roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 2017

Breaking Ground

Breaking Ground was sponsored by Darwin Property Investment Management Ltd, and designed by Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam.  This Show Garden was built by The Outdoor Room.

Breaking Ground was designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam and built by the Outdoor Room, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s design for Breaking Ground focusses on Wellington College’s desire to break down the barriers to education, exploring the themes of progress and evolution.  The planting featured in the Breaking Ground Garden is inspired by the Berkshire heathland around Wellington College.  In Berkshire, 97% of the heathland has been lost to development since 1800.  The designers have used the design and planting of Breaking Ground to highlight heathland as a key habitat, which is currently more endangered than the rainforest.

Breaking Ground was sponsored by Darwin Property Investment Management Ltd, and designed by Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam. This Show Garden was built by The Outdoor Room.

In their design for Breaking Ground, Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam have tried to plan their Show Garden’s planting to attempt to convey the flow of thought patterns and connectivity, inspired by neuron and synapse connections.  Water is used to echo the flow of thought processes as it runs in rills beneath the walls and structures of the garden as well as in the main pool area.

The designers have used dramatic plant forms, such as Laser trilobum and other umbelliferous plants that have an explosive appearance to attempt to convey drama to the garden’s visitors.  Synapses have inspired the patterns seen in the garden’s ornamental meadow, where colourful planting groups appear to flow unimpeded, designed as a reference to trains of thought, education, and learning.

The IBTC Lowestoft Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden

The IBTC Lowestoft Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden was sponsored by The International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) and designed by Gary Breeze.  This Artisan Garden was built by Natural Gardens.

Toby Buckland and Gary Breeze pictured on the Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden, designed by Gary Breeze. This is one of the Artisan Gardens designed and created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

In July 2013, an eight hundred year old boat, which had been skilfully crafted from oak, was discovered by Environmental Agency workers on the Norfolk Broads.  The importance of this discovery led to the International Boat Building Training College in Lowestoft being commissioned to create a replica of this very significant, eight hundred year old boat.  The International Boat Building Training College invited former student, Gold Medal winning Garden Designer Gary Breeze, to design a garden inspired by the continuity of skills that are so much a part of the landscape and history of the Norfolk and Suffolk wetlands, drawing attention to the need to preserve this fragile environment, its ecology, and the boat-building skills that helped to shape it.

The IBTC Lowestoft Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden has been designed to highlight the scenic waterways, rare flora and fauna, and rich history of the area which is now known as the Norfolk Broads, part of the National Park family.  This gentle landscape of estuary, fen, carr woodland, and grazing marshes, covers 303 square kilometres.  Despite its relatively small size, comprising just 0.1% of the UK, the National Park area of the Norfolk Broads boasts more than a quarter of the UK’s rarest wildlife.  The planting that is featured in the IBTC Lowestoft Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden has been designed to emulate the colours and textures of the Broads, 50% of the garden is aquatic and semi aquatic, to reflect the unique beauty of this marshland environment.  The garden also has a few edible plants, including peas, garlic, kale, and chives.

The Chengdu Silk Road Garden

The Chengdu Silk Road Garden is sponsored by the Chengdu Government.  This Show Garden was designed by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins, the garden was built by Willerby Landscapes Ltd.

The Silk Road Garden, designed by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Architect Laurie Chetwood and Garden Designer Patrick Collins, have taken inspiration from the historic network of trade routes which have been used for centuries, from East to West, for their fourth Show Garden at Chelsea – The Chengdu Silk Road Garden.  The Silk Road theme of the garden makes reference to the Su-Embroidery masters of Chengdu, incorporating the symbol of the 3,000 year old Sun and the Immortal Bird, which is the logo of Chengdu City and symbol of Chinese Cultural Heritage.  A dramatic ‘Silk Road’ bridge links the different areas of this conceptual, East-West landscape garden, which is reflective of the links and connections that these ancient trade routes had.

The Sichuan Province is a florally rich and diverse region of the world.  Some of the plants that originate from this area came to be grown in the UK, after being transported along the Silk Road.  The Chengdu Silk Road Garden showcases some of these special plants, that originate in the Sichuan Province, to visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  As Chengdu City is the centre for the conservation of Pandas, the Pandas’ habitats will be reflected in the planting of the garden.

Inland Homes Plc: Beneath a Mexican Sky

Inland Homes Plc: Beneath a Mexican Sky was designed by Manoj Malde, and built by Living Landscapes.

A Mexican Mariachi band play in Manoj Malde’s ‘Beneath a Mexican Sky’ garden for Inland Homes, one of the Fresh Gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Mexican architect Luis Barragan, provided the inspiration for Manoj Malde’s design for his first RHS Fresh Garden, Beneath a Mexican Sky.  Colour washed walls in vibrant clementine, coral, and cappuccino tones, provide a dramatic back drop to the garden, that bring the influence of Luis Barragan unmistakably to forefront of this garden.  The garden walls are offset by concrete slabs, which appear to float across a large aquamarine pool.

A copper wire sculpture is placed within the garden to represent Luis Barragan’s love of horses, while multi-stemmed trees provide structure.

A Mexican Mariachi band play in Manoj Malde’s ‘Beneath a Mexican Sky’ garden for Inland Homes, one of the Fresh Gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Manoj Malde includes drought tolerant plants from the Mediterranean in his planting, together with much softer, but still drought tolerant, herbaceous planting, to create his own take on country cottage planting for warm Mediterranean areas, with plants which are ideally suited to this environment and don’t require additional irrigation.

Mind Trap

Mind Trap was sponsored by idverde and designed by Ian Price.  This Fresh Garden was built by Conway Landscapes.

Raphiolepis ‘Springtime’ proved extremely popular with the bees, on the Mind Trap garden designed by Ian Price – one of the Fresh Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Garden Designer Ian Price has taken his own personal experience of depression as the inspiration for the Mind Trap Garden he created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  Ian has designed the Mind Trap Garden as a physical manifestation of his own depression, with the aim of illustrating and demonstrating his experience to those who have no experience of depression, to raise more awareness of this debilitating condition, and to reach out to reassure his fellow sufferers that they are not alone.

Ian has used the a purposeful contrast of plants that look as though they have nearly given up the ghost – plants that have the appearance of being withered and dying, together with the vibrancy of brightly coloured, healthy looking plants, which represent health and vigour in his planting for the Mind Trap garden.  Shade tolerant, naturally darker toned planting, drifts into brighter and sun loving plants to further highlight the difference between despair and hope, and the drifts between these emotions that sufferers of depression endure.  This Fresh Garden’s central pool features an isolated seat to further convey the loneliness and isolation that depression brings to its sufferers.

Understandably, Ian Price’s design for the Mind Trap Garden is very close to his heart, the inspiration for Ian’s design comes from his own, personal experience of depression.  Ian has worked hard on this garden, with the hope of engaging a wider audience, enlightening them to suffering he endured on his own journey with depression, with his Fresh Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

City Living

City Living was designed by Kate Gould.  This Fresh Garden was built by Kate Gould Gardens.

Kate Gould’s City Living Garden, one of the Fresh Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

‘City Living’ is a Fresh Garden which was inspired by the vast amount of urban construction that could so easily be greened up and made more desirable, if only more thought and care were put into it.  Garden Designer, Kate Gould, is passionate about greening up derelict and unloved inner city spaces.  Kate is so passionate about Greening Grey Britain, that she has self funded the entire build for this Fresh Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, to showcase how to improve city living.  Differing from the other Fresh Gardens, this complex design structure demonstrates how apartment blocks can maximise their outdoor areas.  City Living features a series of private, greened spaces, which are built across three different levels, to represent an apartment block.

Kate Gould’s design for ‘City Living’ was created for an urban apartment block, that has no other outside areas that the residents can access.  With this in mind, Kate has endeavoured to maximise the usefulness of the space, demonstrating how to create an attractive area which can be used during the day and evenings, throughout the year.

The City Living Garden presents a number of different planting environments to visitors of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  Some of these environments present challenges to those currently living in flats or apartments; for example: from gardening in hot shade in basement gardens, to the need for suitable drought and wind tolerant plants for those gardening on more exposed, higher levels.  If you live in a flat or an apartment block, I hope this City Living Garden gives you inspiration to garden on your balcony.

Residents in flats and apartments often yearn for a private, outdoor green space, which is calming and tranquil.  In City Living, Kate Gould has used innovative materials to build across three different levels, showcasing how overhead screening can be used to provide privacy, while steel boundary structures create a sense of enclosure.  A water feature, communal seating areas, and structural planting, convey a feeling of calm and tranquillity.

I am 100% in support of Kate Gould and her self-funded design – City Living.  I love to see the use of innovative and sustainable materials, and it’s a real joy to meet someone with a true passion and determination to make things better.  This beautiful garden – The City Living Garden is available for purchase, please contact the garden’s designer, Kate Gould for more details.  You can learn more about this garden in my interview with Garden Designer Kate Gould.

Kate Gould Garden Designer and sponsor of the City Living garden in the Fresh Gardens category, pictured with Keith Chapman, who constructed the garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The CWGC Centenary Garden

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Centenary Garden was sponsored by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and designed by David Domoney.  This artisan garden was built by Arun Landscapes.

The CWGC Centenary Garden, was designed by David Domoney, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Centenary Garden is designed to mark one hundred years since the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s foundation by Royal Charter in 1917.

Garden Designer David Domoney, has included Phormiums, Fatsia, and Pittosporum to give texture and structure to the Centenary Garden, while flowers with an umbellifer form, such as Alliums and Armeria, are designed to represent the fallen soldiers who have died at war.  Areas for quiet contemplation can be found within the garden.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission continues to care for the graves of 1.7 million people who have died in wars, in more than 150 countries.  A visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s cemetery often has a strong impact on its visitors, as each visitor contemplates the enormity of the lives lost during wars.

A closer look at the planting in the CWGC Centenary Garden. This Artisan Garden was designed by David Domoney, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
The CWGC Centenary Garden, was designed by David Domoney, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden

Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden was designed by Ruth Willmott, and built by The Outdoor Room.

The Through the Microscope garden, designed by Ruth Willmott for Breast Cancer Now, is one of the Fresh Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Garden Designer Ruth Willmott, drew inspiration from clinical researchers and their microscope work, undertaken in the lab, to stop breast cancer taking more lives, for her design for the Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden.

The circles within the Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden are designed to represent the microscopes that scientists have used to study cancer.  These circles are aligned to focus on the microscope slide at the back of the garden, which features a magnified circle of healthy cells.  The idea of magnification is further represented in the garden with circular cell shapes featured within the planting scheme.  The back of the garden features organic, cellular shaped seats, designed for scientists to sit on, while the back wall provides a large surface area to discuss and share theories and ideas.

Garden Designer Ruth Willmott, selected smaller sized foliage for the front of the garden, and larger sized foliage for the back of the garden in her design for the Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden, to create a feeling and sense of depth.

Breast cancer is readily associated with the colour pink.  With this in mind, in an attempt to create a different, more modern feel to the Breast Cancer Now: Through the Microscope Garden, Ruth Willmott has blended her planting of magenta and stronger pink coloured blooms with coppery tones, and added white accents, to lift the colour scheme and create a modern planting composition.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle was sponsored by Jack Dunckley Ltd, Kyoto Design, and Solus Decor.  This Fresh Garden was designed by Jack Dunckley, and built by Jack Dunckley Ltd.

The Bermuda Triangle garden, designed by Jack Dunckley, is one of this year’s Fresh Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Garden Designer Jack Dunckley, has taken his inspiration from the diverse topography and climate in Bermuda, and the diverse economical and social variants in this region of the Caribbean, for his design for The Bermuda Triangle, a Fresh Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The design for The Bermuda Triangle features a large palm at the centre of the garden, which has been lit up with red lights to represent the red larva of an active, erupting volcano.  This central, volcanic palm is surrounded with four sections of aluminium sheeting.  Striking markings have been etched onto these aluminium sheets, to represent the movement of the lava during a volcano, the four aluminium sheets have been lit up with purple and red lights, again to signify the larva, intensity, and heat of a volcano.  Each of these four sections, houses a fire pit and a miniature tropical paradise, whilst a perspex sheet surrounding the garden, is designed to mirror the garden’s design.

 The Poetry Lover’s Garden

The Poetry Lover’s Garden was designed by Fiona Cadwallader, and built by Landform Consultants.

The Poetry Lover’s Garden, designed by Fiona Cadwallader, is one of the Artisan Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Romantic poem, ‘This Lime Tree Bower My Prison’, provided the inspiration for Fiona Cadwallader’s design for the Poetry Lover’s Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  Umbrella lime trees make reference to the poem that inspired this Artisan Garden, just as ivy-clad dry stone walls, a waterfall, and bean flowers, further connect the garden with the poem that inspired its creation.

The Poetry Lover’s Garden, designed by Fiona Cadwallader, is one of the Artisan Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

The pretty flowers of Rosa xanthina ‘Canary Bird’ add to the gardens relaxed planting scheme of green, yellow, blue, white, and purple, which together with the formal shapes of the umbrella lime trees, and the structure of the garden, combine to create a calm and tranquil retreat to read, and enjoy romantic poetry in the glow of the afternoon sun.

The Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens

Chris Evans, Jo Whiley, Anneka Rice and Jeremy Vine stand in front of the floral Radio 2 insignia to promote their Feel Good Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Jeremy Vine pictured in The Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, which was designed by Matt Keightley, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  This Show Garden is one of  five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 2.
Garden Designer Matt Keightley, pictured on the Jeremy Vine Texture Garden. Matt designed this Radio 2 Feel Good Garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Designer Paul Smith, pictured in the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, one of the Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which was designed by Sarah Raven, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Digitalis purpurea ‘Sutton’s Apricot’, Lupinus ‘Beefeater’, Lupinus ‘Terracotta’,and Papaver somniferum var. paeoniflorum ‘Black Peony’, pictured in the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, one of five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
A closer look at the water features seen on The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, designed by James Alexander-Sinclair, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Jo Whiley, pictured with Garden Designers Tamara Bridge and Kate Savill, on the Jo Whiley Scent Garden, this Show Garden was created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Jo Whiley, pictured with Garden Designers Tamara Bridge and Kate Savill, on the Jo Whiley Scent Garden, created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Mary Berry in the Chris Evans Taste Garden, one of five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 2, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
Chris Evans and his wife Natasha pictured exploring The Chris Evans Taste Garden, which was designed by Jon Wheatley. This Show Garden is one of the five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens which were created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Radio 2, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The World Horse Welfare Garden

The World Horse Welfare Garden was sponsored by World Horse Welfare, designed by Adam Woolcott & Jonathan Smith.  This Artisan Garden was built by Conway Landscapes.

The World Horse Welfare garden designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The work of The World Horse Welfare Charity and their desire to highlight the plight of abandoned and neglected horses around the world has provided the inspiration for Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith, in their the design for The World Horse Welfare Garden.

Clippy, an abandoned pony rescued by World Horse Welfare, stands in front of the Artisan garden which tells his story. The garden is designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

The World Horse Welfare Garden tells the story of a horse that has been rescued from a small, derelict, dark stable in the abandoned area of the garden, the Garden Designers have theoretically liberated the theoretical horse into a bright, open meadow area of the garden, where the horse can be free, healthy, and happy. 

The Garden Designers have included some plants which are dangerous and harmful to horses, such as ragwort and horse chestnut.  These harmful plants will feature in the abandoned and neglected area of the garden, these plants will feature in stark in contrast to the more idyllic meadow area of the garden, which features horse friendly plants.

The World Horse Welfare Garden aims to be thought provoking and emotive, encouraging people to reflect on the plight of neglected and abused horses around the world.

Clippy, an abandoned pony rescued by World Horse Welfare, stands in front of the Artisan garden which tells his story. The garden is designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Clippy, an abandoned pony rescued by World Horse Welfare, stands in front of the Artisan garden which tells his story. The garden is designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Walker’s Wharf Garden

Walker’s Wharf Garden was designed by Graham Bodle and built by Walker’s Nurseries.

The Walker’s Wharf Garden, designed by Graham Bodle, in the Artisan gardens category at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Graham Bodle took inspiration from his own experience of the conversion of industrial sites into useable garden spaces, for his design for Walker’s Wharf Garden, for the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  Walker’s Wharf has been designed as a garden space which is situated within a disused industrial wharf, where the garden’s residents can relax and entertain in their converted garden space.  The garden’s atmosphere has been enhanced by the use of reclaimed wood and industrial curios, together with sculptures inspired by industry.

Walker’s Wharf Garden will provide an ideal habitat for wildlife.  This Artisan Garden will feature specimen pines and conifers, together with a variety of ferns and grasses.

Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration

Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration was designed by Sarah Eberle, and built by Belderbos Landscapes.

The Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration, designed by Sarah Eberle – one of the Artisan gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Sarah Eberle took her inspiration from the work of Antoni Gaudi and the modern arts movement in Barcelona, (Barcelona is one of the main destinations for Viking Cruises in the Mediterranean) for her design of the Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Sarah Eberle, in her design for the Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration, pays homage to the work of Gaudi, his organic style and use of mosaic, stone and colours.  To convey the feel of Barcelona, Sarah has included architectural plants that thrive in an arid environment, including date palms, citrus plants, and succulents.  

This beautiful stand and photograph frame was created by Interflora, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Other articles that may interest you……………..

To see an overview of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, please click here.

To read about the 2017 introductions from David Austin Roses, please click here.

To read about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Competition 2017, please click here.

To see photographs from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, please click here.

To see photographs of the winner of the Rose of the Year 2017 Competition and the Festival of Roses, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

To see photographs of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, please click here.

To find out about beautiful, edible plants that you can grow in your garden, or at your allotment, please click here.

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2 thoughts on “RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

  1. I dont suppose anyone can remember the name of the garden nursery based in yorkshire,who was televised on BBC 1 Chelsea flower show.She had showed a flowering plant which was resistant to nearly everything going disease wise,slugs and had a very long flowering season..I cant remember what the plant looked like now but remember it being very pretty…I know its a long shot but hope someone knows…Thank you

    1. Hello Denise

      I visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, but I have only watched one or two short clips from the TV coverage. You haven’t given me much to go on – there were quite a few flowering plants at Chelsea! Could it be Hare Spring Cottage Plants that you’re thinking of? This is a lovely nursery, based in North Yorkshire, run by Stella Exley, a specialist grower of Camassia? Camassia are not a particular favourite of slugs or snails, and they are certainly pretty! Whether I am right or wrong, do let me know. Best wishes, Beth

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