The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019
A highlight of the horticultural calendar, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show runs from Tuesday 21st May 2019, to Saturday 25th May 2019.
In preparation for the show, over the past three weeks, award winning garden designers, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists, and crafts people, have been working tirelessly to transform the Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea, into a plant filled oasis. The Chelsea Flower Show is jam packed full of gardening ideas and inspiration!
At this show, visitors can discover the latest innovations and new garden products, tools, and technology; alongside the latest plant releases, which represent the current trends and advances in plant breeding.
Inside the Great Pavilion, visitors can explore stands and exhibits created by one hundred nurseries and specialist growers. Many of these nurseries specialise in growing plants from a particular genus, while other growers are experts on plants that flourish in a specific type of habitat or environment. Visitors will find nurseries growing a wide array of plants: from roses to foxgloves, herbaceous perennials to bonsai, auriculas to cacti, houseplants to trees and shrubs, and almost everything in between!
Prominent messages at this year’s Chelsea were climate change, sustainability, renewable energy, and the environment. Many of the garden designers at this year’s show had incorporated eco friendly ideas into their gardens, as a way of using their gardens to demonstrate methods that gardeners can live and garden more sustainably, or to showcase new plant technologies.
Many of the gardens at this year’s Chelsea feature the latest developments in technology. Designer, David Neale, has created a green roof that uses plant energy to create electricity.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 is sponsored by M&G Investments.
Here’s a look at the plants, people, and gardens, from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019:
Best in Show
The M&G Garden
The M&G Garden celebrates the power of nature, highlighting the wonder of plants, reminding us of plants’ astonishing ability to regenerate and colonise new areas of ground. Designer, Andy Sturgeon, has combined an array of plants, that originate in many different countries, around the world, in his design for the M&G Garden. These plants would never naturally be found growing together, giving visitors the chance to see a number of rare plants, which haven’t been seen before at Chelsea. Andy’s use of primordial plants, like Equisetums and Restios, only add to the antiquated, prehistoric feel of this Show Garden.
Sculptor, Johnny Woodford, has used a chainsaw to carve these huge slices of oak, which are a predominant feature of the M&G Garden. After carving, Johnny has used a torch to scorch the oak, giving the wood a rather cliff edge, rock like, almost historic appearance. Rather than harming the structures, this burning process actually preserves the longevity of these sculptures, enabling them to become a lasting feature. These gnarled oak slices prevent visitors from seeing the M&G Garden as a whole, providing a sense of intrigue, whilst also creating areas with a feel of privacy and seclusion. Ironstone blocks have been designed to form simple, non-intrusive seating platforms that are functional, but also blend into the landscape. The M&G Garden is sheltered and enhanced by the magnificent trees that Andy has brought in, to create a sense of beauty, power, and drama. I just loved this fabulous garden, it felt powerful and emotive, a really awe inspiring space!
Best Construction Award
The Resilience Garden
The Forestry Commission are celebrating their centenary this year, by installing a show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Sarah Eberle has designed the Resilience Garden to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s 100th birthday, with the aim of using this anniversary to highlight a number of ways in which our forests’ resilience can be enhanced.
The Resilience Garden echoes the designs of William Robinson, a forest visionary, who is an advocate for natural forest planting. This show garden features trees suited to growing in forest environments, plants that thrive in damp or waterlogged soil, as well as plants suited to growing in dry, arid environments. Sarah Eberle has included plants that have been shown to adapt well to different growing conditions, and so may endure and adapt to survive the changing climate of the future.
Climate change is a central feature of the Resilience Garden, this show garden highlights some of the dangers that our forests might face in the future, including higher temperatures and the increased threat of pests and diseases. Rather than using one type of tree to create a monotonous planting, designer, Sarah Eberle has included a diverse range of trees and plants, many of which cope well with a range of different growing conditions, to create a more resilient, structured forest planting.
The People’s Choice Award
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
Designer Mark Gregory, has brought part of Yorkshire to Surrey. Mark has achieved the seemingly impossible, by re-creating a small section of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, here at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!
This ambitious design features a dream-like imagined stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal that includes the Lock Keeper’s cottage, his private garden, complete with home-grown vegetables growing in the garden, as well as the Lock Keeper’s experimental garden, which includes a perennial meadow, with species of lupin creating a dreamy, bee friendly, mini meadow. Wild and naturalistic planting lines the hoggin tow path, which comes complete with puddles!
To see my photographs and the article I’ve written about the Welcome to Yorkshire 2019 Garden, please click here.
More Show Gardens
The Wedgwood Garden
Garden Designer, Jo Thompson’s classical design of the Wedgwood Garden was inspired by Etruria, Wedgwood’s 18th Century factory, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. This is a beautifully elegant garden; the planting is wonderfully evocative and full of feminine charm. Jo has included some glorious colour combinations, using lots of large, pastel coloured flowers, which give a glamorous feel to the garden.
I thought the Wedgwood Garden was really rather lovely, my only quip was that I would have liked to have seen a wider border, with more plants, and a smaller terrace.
Josiah Wedgwood chose a site for Etruria that had good soil and was in the path of the Trent and Mersey Canal. Water was an essential part of Etruria, it was needed for production of the pottery and for the workers. As a reflection of this importance, Designer, Jo Thompson has made water a central feature of the Wedgwood Garden. Designer, Jo Thompson has married old and new, creating a secret sunken level, below the garden, where some of the artefacts that inspired Josiah Wedgwood have been placed.
Josiah Wedgwood set up Etruria with a factory and good quality housing for his employees. Overtime Etruria grew and prospered. The workforce who lived and worked on site – the Etruscans – formed a community, enjoying bowling, tennis, choir singing, and amateur dramatics, in their free time.
A popular bee plant, Valeriana pyrenaica, with its lovely heart shaped green leaves and corymbs of tiny lilac flowers will attract all manner of pollinating insects to your garden. Roses add a sumptuous softness and elegance. While the swamp cypress, Taxodium distichum, a plant that thrives when planted as part of a moisture rich landscape, adds height and another dimension to this modern, classical garden.
Many of the flowers in the Wedgwood Garden have a lightness and delicacy. Eschscholzia californica, with its silky petaled, soft cream coloured flower buds adds a subtle warmth and cohesion to the copper, orange, and peach tones in this planting scheme. While, Angelica archangelica adds a freshness and a delightful contrast to the orange, peach, pink, and copper hues.
The Savills and David Harber Garden
Garden Designer, Andrew Duff has set out to demonstrate how small spaces, in our cities and towns, can be transformed into sustainable woodland gardens, complete with full height trees, water purifying wetland areas, and a pond.
The overall feel that this garden gives me is of one of calm. This is down to the planting and the designer’s use of plants, trees, and water. Planted predominantly with plants that will transform and green up the available pockets of land in city centres, with scattered added sunshine yellow and white, floral highlights from Ranunculus acris (buttercups), and Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley).
The pond features a 3.5m (11.5ft) shard like sculpture called Nyneve, that bursts up from the ground, pointing skywards. This artwork has been designed by David Harber, to represent the rays of sunlight shining through the clearing, in a woodland garden.
As well as improving the visual appearance of the site, the Savills and David Harber Garden has been designed to improve the environment. This garden features the largest green wall that’s been created at the Chelsea Flower Show, which has been thoughtfully planted with specially chosen plants, that together with the trees, will filter pollutants from the air. While, the poolside plants filter and clean grey water, which is collected and stored for later use to water the garden’s plants in dry weather.
The Savills and David Harber Garden serves to remind us that city spaces can be totally transformed from dull grey to calm, soothing green, by using plants, planting trees and including ponds and other relaxing features that will benefit gardeners, wildlife, and the environment.
Singer, Natalie Rushdie, opened the Savills and David Harber Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with a special, intimate performance where Natalie sang some of her favourite songs.
The Greenfingers Charity Garden
Designer, Kate Gould, has created this inspirational relaxing, yet fun garden, which was designed to celebrate the wonderful effects that Greenfingers Charity gardens have on the patients in children’s hospices, around the UK. The Greenfingers Charity Garden is an accessible garden that has been created over two levels; this garden includes a walkway and a lift, ensuring that the whole garden is open and welcoming to visitors of all ages and abilities.
Greenfingers Charity believe in the positive, uplifting effect of spending time outdoors, among plants and nature. The charity is driven by a desire to alleviate some of the stress, anxiety, and pain that seriously children and their families experience, by creating accessible, interactive gardens for patients staying in UK hospices. The Greenfingers Charity Garden celebrates the wonderful feeling we get when we spend time outdoors, among plants and nature. Designer, Kate Gould, has demonstrated how outside space can be adapted to create an accessible, feel good garden.
The Greenfingers Garden features a number of beautifully perfumed plants, including lilies, Choisya, and lily of the valley.
The Morgan Stanley Garden
Designer Chris Beardshaw has taken inspiration from British gardeners’ love of the traditional herbaceous border, for his design for the Morgan Stanley Garden. This show garden includes plants that are set to be popular crowd pleasers, like this beautiful Pinus nigra specimen with its graceful, sweeping stem and these sensual, curvaceous topiary Taxus baccata (Yew) domes, which are positioned at the front of the garden, alongside fragrant French lavenders. A rill of water gently flows through the garden, while specimen trees provide a relaxed feel, enclosing the garden with a soft green canopy of leaves. The scene is enhanced with floral highlights from early summer flowering, herbaceous perennials.
This is the fifth consecutive year that Chris Beardshaw has designed a Chelsea Garden for sponsor, Morgan Stanley. This year, Chris has set out to highlight some of the ways that designers and gardeners can minimise waste, by creating a garden using new techniques and ideas to ensure that the products used to create the garden are useful and in production, for as long as possible.
One of the predominant plants in the Morgan Stanley Garden is this beautiful Pinus nigra specimen, with its low, bent form. Early on in its life, this tree was blown over at the nursery it was grown at, causing the tree’s trunk to develop this elegant swoop and curve.
If you’re interested in finding out about Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman and their company, Craig House Cacti, click here to see the article I wrote about them.
National Collection of Alliums
Orchid Society of Great Britain
I love being a member of the Orchid Society of Great Britain. It was wonderful to see the OSGB’s fabulous orchid exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
David Austin Roses
It’s always such a pleasure to visit David Austin Roses stand. I love to take time out to relish the scent of some of my favourite roses.
Rosa ‘Gabriel Oak’
To find out all about Rosa ‘Gabriel Oak’, including my interpretation of this new rose’s fragrance, please click here.
Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’
To find out what I thought of the fragrance of Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’, and find out more about this new rose, which was introduced by David Austin Roses, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.
To visit David Austin Roses website, please click here.
Hosta ‘Ruffled Pole Mouse’
Hosta ‘Ruffled Pole Mouse’ was launched by specialist Hosta nursery, Hogarth Hostas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019. This miniature Hosta is another Hosta from the covetable Blue Mouse Ears Series. Hosta ‘Ruffled Pole Mouse’ is a sport of Hosta ‘Green Mouse Ears’. This diminutive little plant produces ruffled, wavy leaves, with an attractive creamy white colouring, each leaf is outlined by a mid to dark green leaf margin which has a painterly quality. Lavender flowers are produced in June and July. This new, miniature Hosta is available from Hogarth Hostas.
To see more photographs of Hogarth Hosta’s exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.
RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year Competition
Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’, Rosa ‘Gabriel Oak’ and Hosta ‘Ruffled Pole Mouse’ were all shortlisted plants in the prestigious RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year Competition. You can see the top twenty shortlisted plants, including the finalists and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year, in this article I wrote about the competition.
Space to Grow Gardens
People’s Choice Award Winner
Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow
Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow Garden, celebrates the 25th anniversary of CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), an international non-profit organisation, set up to support and educate young girls, and empower women, in the poorest rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
Designer, Jilayne Rickards, has included many of the edible crops that are grown in Zimbabwe, in her design for the Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow Garden. In this garden, visitors can see a range of fruits and vegetables growing, including: beans, peas, papaya, banana, sweet potato, grains, and other edible plants. These plants have been grown by CAMFED alumni, especially for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but they can all be found growing in Zimbabwe.
Permaculture techniques taught by Foundation for Farming is demonstrated within the CAMFED Garden. Composting, rainwater collection, and recycling grey water, are all important features of this garden’s design.
A concrete building has been faithfully created to accurately resemble one of the classrooms in Zimbabwe. The classroom enhances this garden’s message of the importance of education to empower girls and young women and allow them to create more prosperous futures for themselves. CAMFED allows girls to continue their education and supports young women, helping them to become leaders to install and create positive change for themselves, and for their families.
The Silent Pool Gin Garden
Garden designer, David Neale, has focused on his desire to green up awkward city spaces and discover new plant technologies in his design for the Silent Pool Gin Garden. The idea for this garden, is to take an unloved, perhaps rather awkward space and add plant life and inspiration, to appeal to all the senses and create a garden that is uplifting, relaxing, and awe inspiring.
This Space to Grow Garden brings inspiration from Surrey to Chelsea Flower Show. Professor Tony Myatt, from the University of Surrey, has recorded the sounds of bird song and insects buzzing and whizzing around in the Surrey Hills, especially to play in the Silent Pool Gin Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Changes in the wind, temperature, and the humidity within the garden, have been set up to trigger sensors to play different bird song and other natural pre-recorded sounds, within the garden. This computerised sound system projects a 360 degree soundscape, giving visitors a taste of some of the sounds of the wildlife from the peaceful, tranquil areas of the Surrey Hills.
Designer, David Neale hopes to remind us of the beauty and wonder of plants and their transformative effects on us and our landscape. Taking inspiration from the Surrey Hills, a desire to improve the urban landscape and to work with the latest new plant technology, David Neale has created a space to unwind, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the garden and the wider landscape.
Both designer, David Neale, and his sponsor, Silent Pool, are proud to be from Surrey, they love the Surrey Hills. To reflect this, David Neale has planted Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’, named after Gertrude Jekyll’s home in Godalming, in Surrey, and naturally he’s planted, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, a beautiful rose, named after the famous garden designer herself.
I love the fragrance of Philadelphus with its super sweetly perfumed flowers. The Silent Pool Gin Garden features a number of fragrant plants, including Philadelphus, elderflower, and roses. To see more photographs of the Silent Pool Gin Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.
To see a second article I’ve written about this garden, with more information about the plants and technology in the Silent Pool Gin Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.
To see photographs of the Silent Pool Gin Garden 2018 – the garden that David Neale designed and built at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.
To see photographs of a private Surrey garden that David Neale designed and built in 2013, please click here.
The Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden
The Montessori Children’s Garden celebrates 100 years of Montessori teaching. Montessori is a child centred education method, based on scientific observations, which was developed by Maria Montessori. This garden is designed as a nurturing garden for children.
This garden features two glasshouses. One of the glasshouses has been sunk into the landscape of the garden, using a method inspired by Walipini glasshouse design, meaning ‘place of warmth’. By going deeper into the soil, it creates a stable environment, one that will be warmer in winter and without the dramatic scorching hot temperatures that above ground glasshouses experience in the summer time. The second glasshouse is used for hydroponics: growing salads and micro vegetables for children’s meals.
Water is a predominant aspect of this garden, there’s a wildlife pond and an irrigation system that links every part of the garden. Plants have been used in a natural water filtration system, designed to encourage visitors to incorporate sustainable irrigation in their own gardens.
There are many messages visitors can take from the Montessori Children’s Garden, number one is: fun! This garden helps children to discover how wonderful, interesting, and fun plants are. Designer, Jody Lidgard, has incorporated carnivorous plants, aquatic plants, edible plants, mosses, there’s also a pretty, cutting garden, full of colourful annuals and plants to encourage wildlife. This Space to Grow Garden is set to be a crowd pleaser!
Garden and Wood
Hartley Botanic Glasshouses
Oxenwood Garden Furniture
To head straight over to the second part of my review of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, where you’ll find more photographs of the other gardens and plants at the 2019 show, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you……………
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, please click here.
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, please click here.
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015, please click here.