RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 (part three)

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 (part three)

Welcome to the third part of my overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 (see part one here and part two here)……

Ministers visit the RHS COP26 Garden designed by Marie-Louise Agius & built by Swinburne Horticultural Services

Left to Right: Sue Biggs CBE (Director General of the RHS), Greg Hands (Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth), Rebecca Pow (Under-Secretary of State at DEFRA), George Eustice (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Marie-Louise Agius (designer of the RHS COP26 Garden), Keith Weed (President of the RHS) and the Rt Hon Lord Richard Benyon (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
This garden was designed by Marie-Louise Agius ahead of the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference this November to demonstrate how gardens, plants, and public green spaces can play an integral part in protecting biodiversity, our planet and people.

The Launch of the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media

Neil Bragg (Chair of the Growing Media Association and Bulrush Horticulture) and Steve Harper Chair of the Responsible Sourcing Scheme and CEO for Southern Trident. Pictured in the RHS COP26 Garden, designed by Marie-Louise Agius for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

To read my report about the launch of the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media, please click here.

Dame Judi Dench opens the RHS Queen’s Green Canopy Garden

Dame Judi Dench opens the RHS Queen’s Green Canopy Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
Dame Judi Dench and Alan Titchmarsh pictured on the RHS Queen’s Green Canopy Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

Best Construction Award: The Trailfinder’s 50th Anniversary Garden designed by Jonathan Snow & built by Stewart Landscape Construction

These multi-stemmed Rhododendrons line the path in the Trailfinder’s 50th Anniversary Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Persicarias and ferns added to the lush ambience of this garden.
Garden designer, Jonathan Snow filled the Trailfinder’s 50th Anniversary Garden with an abundance of lush planting, featuring Persicarias, Rhododendrons, Bamboo, and Pines alongside other plants that originate from the foothills of the Himalayas.
The RHS judges awarded the Trailfinder’s 50th Anniversary Garden with a Gold Medal, and the Best Construction Award for a Show Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
Here’s a view of the Trailfinder’s 50th Anniversary Garden’s Persicaria, Rhododendrons, and Selinum wallichianum with the stream flowing gently by.

The Green Sky Pocket Garden designed James Smith & built by Bowles & Wyer

Garden Designer, James Smith is pictured in the Green Sky Pocket Balcony Garden he designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. This balcony garden is planted with a variety of herbs, edible, and scented plants. In case you were wondering, the two trees are Arbutus unedo.
This sculpture was displayed inside the Green Sky Pocket Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

The M&G Garden designed by Hugo Bugg & Charlotte Harris & built by Crocus

Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg give Sarah Eberle a tour of their Gold Medal winning M&G garden. The colour in the foreground is provided by the white feathery flowers of Filipendula yezoensis, the autumnal foliage of Amsonia illustris, the lilac flowers of Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘October Skies’, and the lemon yellow of Solidago x luteus ‘Lemore’.
The yellow cone flowers of Echinacea paradoxa mingle with Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Cassian’s Choice’ and other grasses in the M&G Garden. This show garden was designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
The golden cone flowers of Echinacea paradoxa and Patrinia punctiflora are enveloped by a rather charming haze of Sporobolus heterolepis on the M&G Garden, designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘October Skies’ is a lovely early autumn flowering plant for bees and butterflies.
Hugo Bugg gives visitors a tour of the Gold Medal winning M&G show garden he co-designed with Charlotte Harris. At first glance this may look like a stone boulder, but it’s actually made of wood. These gorgeous large green leaves in front are produced by Bergenia ciliata ‘Wilton’; the brassy foliage on the other side of the path is Amsonia illustris.
Rosa glauca is a superb rose. After its flowers have faded Rosa glauca produces these beautiful rose hips.
Charlotte Harris pictured on M&G Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Charlotte co-designed this garden with Hugo Bugg.
This amalgamation of autumnal loveliness includes the sunlit yellow of Solidago x luteus ‘Lemore’, the pink cone flowers of Echinacea pallida, and the white flowers of Selinum wallichianum with the haze provided by Sporobolus heterolepis.

Arcadia Balcony Garden designed by Martha Krempel & built by the Landscaping Consultants

Garden designer, Martha Krempel chats to Tayshan Hayden-Smith in amongst the vibrantly coloured flowers and foliage of the Arcadia Balcony Garden. This red-leaved climber is a Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)- its foliage changes from green to crimson in autumn, before the leaves fall. The purple flowers are Salvia ‘Amistad’ – a Salvia I saw in many of the gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Dahlias add more autumn toned flowers to this balcony garden. The tree next to Martha is a Yucca and this garden also boasts its own pomegranate (Punica granatum).

Driftwood sculptures by James Doran-Webb

Daisy Desire, the Drag Queen Gardener shares a moment with a Chelsea Pensioner in front of driftwood sculptures created by James Doran-Webb

Finding Our Way: an NHS tribute garden designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen & built by Burnham Landscaping Ltd.

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, designer of the Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden, which won a Silver Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. I was so happy to see a garden that recognises the amazing work of everyone at the NHS and the scientists and researchers who work to create vaccines to help us.
This garden features a riot of colourful, late-flowering herbaceous perennials, including the large glowing flowers of Dahlia ‘Mango Madness’, the dwarf blue spires of Agastache rugosa ‘Little Adder’, the claret coloured flowering stems of Salvia ‘Love and Wishes, the vibrant sunlit flower spikes of Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’, and the white flowers of Oenothera lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’. This garden is full of cheer!
I used to grow Dahlia ‘Sam Hopkins’ at my allotment. I still adore this Dahlia’s deep velvety blooms. Grasses, including Pennisetum setaceum ‘Skyrocket’ provide touches of gentle silver or red-tinged highlights, movement and energy, and Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ with its delightful cone-shaped daisies adds joy to the mix.
It’s lovely meeting people at Chelsea. This is Emma Page from the University of Oxford who helped build and plant the Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden. This garden celebrates the tireless work of all the NHS to provide care during the Covid pandemic; highlighting the work of nurses and doctors, but also the physiotherapists, pharmacists, porters, technicians, and all the unseen and unsung staff who keep our health services running. Over the past two years, our UK universities have been devoted to finding treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and this garden recognises their achievements, sacrifice, and energy.
The sky-blue star-shaped flowers of Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ contrast with the maroon coloured button-shaped blooms of Knautia macedonica, and the feathery seed heads of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Red Chief’.
The rills and water features in this garden are designed to give visitors to the garden an immersive experience. I viewed this garden from the path, where I couldn’t detect any sound from the water flowing through this space, but I imagine that it’s a gentle and unobtrusive sound; just seeing water can have a relaxing effect. This garden is full of late summer flowering plants in contrasting colours. The tall yellow flowers against the fence are Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’, a tall herbaceous perennial. Echinacea ‘Eccentric’ adds a vibrant cheery red to this energising palette that features flowers in all the colours of the rainbow.
A pleached Liquidambar styraciflua lines the boundary, adding a welcome green backdrop to this side of the garden. The tall twirling pink flowers of Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ add to the fun feel of this garden. Echinacea ‘Eccentric’ and Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’ add a glowing energy to the planting; this vibe is enhanced by the many different coloured flowers in the garden.
The shape of this garden is lovely. I could really see this garden being a very special place for a family to share meals, and as a relaxing space for couples to relax or reconnect. This arbour frames the garden rather beautifully, but the steps down into the garden make this space unaccessible to disabled visitors. However, this could easily be rectified and the raised beds will make gardening easier for everyone.

Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden designed by Michael Coley

Garden designer, Michael Coley pictured in his Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden. This garden features recycled plastic cladding. The purple flowers are Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror’, they are surrounded by a variety of ferns, Japanese anemones, and Liriope muscari.
A closer look at the recycled plastic cladding – made of recycled kitchen chopping boards – in the Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden, designed by Michael Coley, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. These Japanese Anemones are still in bud.
Michael’s Mum crafted the beautiful covers for the seat and table in the Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden.

Pop Street Garden designed by John McPherson & built by Big Fish Landscapes

John McPherson pictured in Pop Street Garden he designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. The Pop Street Garden demonstrates how container gardens have the opportunity to feature a diverse range of plants that have contrasting needs and couldn’t be grown together in a traditional border. These brightly coloured planters feature plants, like cacti, that need arid conditions and free-draining growing mediums, alongside moisture-loving plants that need moisture-retentive composts, like Colocasia ‘Thai Giant’ and Cyperus haspan ‘Nana’. This container garden was built by Big Fish Landscapes.
This vibrant garden is a celebration of pop art and street art; it features a mural by Robert Littleford and colourful planters that imbue an abundance of energy to the space.

W.S. Warmenhoven’s Gold Medal Alliums

W.S. Warmenhoven are Allium and Amarylis specialist. These flowers were picked just before they reached their peak in early summer, and held in cold storage to preserve the flowers. W. S Warmenhoven produced this Gold Medal winning exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents garden designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw & built by Cube 1994

Chelsea Pensioners stand in front of the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents Garden, designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw. This garden was awarded a Silver Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. The floaty candy floss pink flowers are Thalictrum delavayi ‘Hewitt’s Double’, the pink Anemones are Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’, the white flowers are Astrantia major ‘Star of Billion’, the creamy-green coloured flowers are Hydrangea, the blue pointed spires are the flowers of Veronica longifolia, Nepeta sibirica and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’. The ferns are Dryopteris filix-mas, Athyrium filix-femina, and Athyrium niponicum var. pictum.
A closer look at the waterfall in the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents Garden, designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. These interesting aquatic plants are water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica). If you’d like to add this plant to your pond, check your nursery in springtime; plants tend to be available from April to June.
Bullrushes (Typha lugdunensis) and (Alisma plantago-aquatica) growing in the stream and pond of the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents, which was designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
Garden designers, Ekaterina Zasukhina and Carly Kershaw pictured in the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents. This show garden was created for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
A cloud pruned Pinus mugo ‘Gnom’ tree surrounded by the pink pointed flowers of Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision In Red’, Hydrangea, and ferns, on the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents.
‘The Kiss’ was created from recycled mild steel by sculptor Penny Hardy. This sculpture is from Penny’s ‘Blown Away’ series; it’s one of a limited edition of nine artworks. Pictured in the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents Garden, designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw, for the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
The planting in Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents featured dwarf pine conifers growing alongside Hydrangeas, and herbaceous perennials with flowers in tones of sugary-pink, vivacious, cool-blue, ivory and snow-white colours . Plants include: softly coloured Astrantia major ‘Star of Billion’, vibrant pink flowered Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’. The dainty lilac flowers were delivered by Thalictrum delavayi ‘Hewitt’s Double’ and the blue tones were courtesy of Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Nepeta sibirica, Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’, and Veronica longifolia. There are a number of ferns sprinkled through this garden, including: Dryopteris filix-mas, Athyrium filix-femina, and Athyrium niponicum var. pictum.
The stone steps were lined with ferns, clover (Trifolium pratense), wild strawberries (Fragaria vesco), thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and the reddish-pink flowers of Hylotelephium (Sedum). Hylotelepium flowers are wonderful plants for bees and butterflies – this is a superb plant for the late summer and autumn garden.
A compact Pinus nestles into the stone surrounded by plantings of Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile), ferns, and Persicaria amplexicaulis, in the Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents Garden. Typha lugdunensis (bullrushes) and Alisma plantago-aquatica peak into the corner of this picture – these are aquatic plants, growing in the pond below.

The Landform Balcony Garden designed by Nicola Hale & built by Landform Consultants

Garden designer, Nicola Hale from Landform Consultants, is pictured in the Landform Balcony Garden she designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. This balcony garden features plants that attract bees and butterflies, but can be used as cut flowers. The tree with white flowers is Heptacodium miconioides, a super plant for bees.
A closer look at Heptacodium miconioides in the Landform Balcony Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
The plant at the front with the purple-indigo flowers is Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ and the tiny daisy is Erigeron karvinskianus. Behind is Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’. The taller yellow daisy is Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. I’ve grown this sunflower many times, but my plants are usually much taller than this – reaching almost 2m.
This blue flower is Achastache ‘Blue Boa’, it’s nestled up to rosemary and Erigeron karvinskianus. I couldn’t see the yellow flowers very clearly, they might be Anthemis tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’ or Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Xanthos’.

The Hot Tin Roof Garden designed by Ellie Edkins & built by Big Fish Landscapes

Andrew Ball of Big Fish Landscapes, the builder of the Hot Tin Roof container garden, designed by Ellie Edkins for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
The Hot Tin Roof Garden was designed by Ellie Edkins for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. There are some lovely foliage plants in this garden, including Dryopteris filix-mas (ferns), Hakonechloa macra, and Fatsia japonica

Calm of Bangkok Garden designed by Mr. Tawatchai Sakdikul & Miss Ploytabtim Suksang & built by AJ Watts Landscaping

This multi-stemmed Camellia japonica ‘Bicolor’ is underplanted with Actaea ‘Chocoholic’, Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’, and ferns. The black grass at the front here is a herbaceous perennial called Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, – this is one of my least favourite plants but I can see why the designers have used it – this Ophiopogon matches the inky black water feature and the black of the garden’s hammock.
I’ve fallen out of every hammock I’ve tried to relax in. If you’re considering adding a hammock to your garden, choose an area with a soft landing and avoid the temptation to position planters, ponds and water features too close to your hammock!
Actaea ‘Chocoholic’ has divinely scented flowers. This herbaceous perennial is valued as a foliage plant, but its white flowers have a powerful fragrance that is utterly gorgeous!
A closer look at the planting in the Calm of Bangkok Garden. The almost impossibly dark foliage of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, contrasts with the cheerful red and green leaves of this sweet Bergenia, which I think is Bergenia ‘Angel Kiss’. Dryopteris erythrosora (ferns) add a zingy lime green highlight into this mix, while Actaea ‘Chocoholic’ delivers bronzed chocolate coloured foliage and these upright warmer bronzed leaves from Phormium ‘Bronze Baby’.
Here’s another view of the arbour in the Calm of Bangkok Garden. The tree on the right hand side of this picture is Magnolia denudata ‘Yellow River’; this Magnolia produces creamy yellow flowers in May.
A closer look at the water feature in the Calm of Bangkok Garden. The RHS judges awarded this garden a Silver-Gilt Medal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
Eucomis aloha ‘Leia’ is another tender plant that is unlikely to survive winters outdoors in most of our UK gardens. These plants need winter protection.
Cyperus alternifolius is a plant for a bog garden or for the margins of a pond; these plants need to be in wet soil all the time. Cyperus alternifolius is a tender plant that only has any chance of surviving the mildest winter outdoors, if this Cyperus is planted in a very sheltered spot, in one of the warmest regions of the UK. If you’d like to try this plant in your garden, plant it in early June; this will allow you to enjoy Cyperus alternifolius through the summer and autumn months. This plant is unlikely to survive temperatures under 7C. You could always overwinter this Cyperus as a houseplant. Next to this Cyperus, Hosta ‘White Feather’ is hardy and will happily survive our winters.

Bees for Development

The Bees for Development exhibit (designed by Finbar Ward) highlights the fact that bees need our help and raises awareness of the fact that these important insects can struggle to find nesting sites in built up areas. Bees for Development was set up to promote sustainable bee-keeping.

The IBC Pocket Forest Container Garden designed by Sara Edwards

Garden designer, Sara Edwards pictured in the IBC Pocket Forest Garden she designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
In the IBC Pocket Forest Garden, garden designer, Sara Edwards has repurposed Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) to utilise a small space and create a pocket forest that will benefit visitors and wildlife.

Finnish Soul Garden – A Nordic Heritage Seaside Garden designed by Taina Suonio & built by Conquest Creative Spaces

Taina Suonio has designed the Finnish Soul Garden – A Nordic Heritage Seaside Garden to be a sea-side retreat for city dwellers, with a sauna and refreshing pool.

See every article I’ve written about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, here.

Find all my articles and pictures of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, here.

See an overview all the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, here.

See an overview of all the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, here.

See an overview of all the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, here.

See an overview of all the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, here.

See an overview of all the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015, here.

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