GOLD medal winner
Marking the First World War centenary, No Man’s Land: ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Garden shows how the heavily scarred strips of land between the frontline trenches regenerated over time.
Regeneration: No Man’s Land: ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Garden by Charlotte Rowe. Image by RHS/Neil Hepworth
Designer Charlotte Rowe, better known for her crisp, architectural designs for London gardens, displays a light touch with chalkland wildflowers and gentle globes of yew, which were widely planted in the cemeteries of the Somme. Best of all, a former mine crater has become a peaceful, circular pool, edged in water irises.
SHEER HEAVEN ON EARTH
GOLD medal winner
A paradise Garden, invented by the Persians more than 2,000 years ago, is a place where water, shade and planting make an idyllic sanctuary.
Cleve West shows that the Persian template can be applied today with sensational results in his take for the show’s sponsors, M&G Investments. Water flows from an octagonal fountain into four rills, a nod to the four rivers that are said to have flowed through the Garden of Eden (see below).
As if it wasn’t enough to design and plant this paradise, West himself engraved the Tree of Life across five panels of the vast limestone relief at the back of the garden. That’s dedication.
Image by RHS/Neil Hepworth
SEDUCTION: CHAMPAGNE LAURENT-PERRIER
GOLD medal winner and BEST IN SHOW
Creating a garden is about creating seduction, says Chelsea gold medallist Luciano Giubbilei, and his design for Champagne Laurent-Perrier, with its gentle planting and restful pillows of weeping beech beneath amelanchier trees, certainly does seduce and delight.
Best in Show: the Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei. Image by RHS/Neil Hepworth
“Every element should be easy to read, so it gives space for the light to play on it,” says Giubbilei, and though the design appears to be complex, the entire garden, amazingly, is based on the simplest layout — just six rectangles.
DRINK IT IN CLOUDY BAY’S PLOT
SILVER GILT winner
Image by RHS/Neil Hepworth
“We’ve been living on Snickers bars and Coca-Cola for three weeks,” says design supremo Andrew Wilson, talking of his hard graft with partner Gavin McWilliam — though as their Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden was sponsored by the New Zealand wine company, you’d expect them to be fuelled on pinot noir. In fact it is the garden that reflects the wine, with giant backdrop panels of charred oak, channelling chardonnay, and a fabulous planting palette of sumptuous burgundies with fruity notes from raspberry bushes and wild strawberries.
MOORISH MARVEL: ARTISAN GARDEN
BRONZE medal winner
Bringing Mediterranean pizzazz to the Artisan Gardens is 75 Years of The Roof Gardens in Kensington, created by the venue’s head gardener David Lewis, who chose its flamboyant Spanish Garden as his inspiration.
Spanish influences: The Roof Gardens in Kensington were the inspiration for David Lewis. Image: RHS/Tim Sandall
The trickling copper tree fountain is from Garden Arts and Design, the columns are originals, from a discarded arcade in the roof gardens, and the “ancient Moorish tiles” around the fountain are from Topps Tiles — they have been photoprinted with the real thing.
TAKE A BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR OF CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
Behind the scenes at Chelsea Flower Show 2014
Behind the scenes at Chelsea Flower Show 2014
Alliums are probably the most popular plant used on the Chelsea showground - and that's not just on the gardens. Here, on the left, One Church Street Gallery (silver Allium christophii) and (right) Rachel Carter Sculpture (copper Allium hollandicum) show their mettle, forgive the pun.
All pictures by Pattie Barron
> IMAGE GALLERY: Hot homes with glorious gardens
If you want big as well as best, come to Chelsea: Ironwork sculptor Jenny Pickford's giant agapanthus loom above the showground...
...while James Doran-Webb's giant driftwood horses get playful.
Sometimes accused of not having a sense of humour, the chaps at the Royal Horticultural Society show their funny side with tubs of painted toadstools for sale, labelled ominously with the non-horticultural tag "No idea what this is", "Possibly edible" or the suspicious "Grown with love." Nibble at your peril.
The Positively Stoke-on-Trent show garden has the ultimate water feature, designed to symbolise sustainable energy, powering the city into a dynamic future......Seen for real, the water really does look as if it's curving all on its own, from one part of an arc into the other, forming the missing section. It's not hard to see, however, that a plastic chute is gently guiding the water to its destination. Not an easy feature to place in the small town garden, this is a great idea to scale down: somebody please copy.
The final touches being made to the Extending Space show garden, which has been inspired by the diverse and beautiful landscapes of the protected Pfyn Forest region in the Swiss Valais... but meanwhile, with its Swiss pine pergola, clipped box, mini-mountain lake and gorgeous pine tree, would make a great city space.
Just waiting to be snapped up to be given pride of place in the front room, these fragrant figures are made entirely from dried flowers: The Blues Brother's suit and hat is made of lavender buds while the pink piano, covered in perfumed rose buds, is surely on standby for Elton. Only at Chelsea. For a bespoke budded creation, or for a rather smaller-scale dried heart or wreath, visit www.pollyfields.co.uk.
A trio of rainbow sandstone globes, each fitted with a pump to deliver constant trickling water, look wonderful surrounded by alpine plants on the Garden Buildings site. Bliss water features, together with benches, birdbaths and more, all in high-grade natural stones, are from www.foras.co.uk.
You might not see it, but they know it's there....Before the judges come a-calling, the gardens' teams are invariably on their hands and knees, sweeping compost off leaves and grains of sand from paving; resting on any old block of wood, however uncomfortable, means that the grass doesn't get marked. It's all about the detail, you see, as well as the big picture.
Putting the finishing touches to the RBC Waterscape Garden, designed by talented young newbie, 27-year-old Hugo Bugg. The garden shows sustainable water solutions for gardeners and highlights the extremes between water abundance and water scarcity. This particular garden won't come cheap: each of those pieces on the contemporary floor of crazy paving has been jigsawed to fit into the next piece...
The very simple but rather fabulous BrandAlley Renaissance garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, gets a final primping... The partly-visible loggia, painted Pompeii red, has an open roof with oak beams and contains a playful water grotto.
Talented as well as handsome... Italian Luciano Giubbilei has surely gained another gold medal for his contemplative space for Champagne Laurent-Perrier.
The rich colours of the flag iris in the Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden reflect the tasting notes and colours of the New Zealand company's wines...
The two designers behind the Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden's colourful planting scheme, Andrew Wilson, left and Gavin McWilliam.
Two very different and exquisite show gardens created by Japanese designers: (left) Togenkyo - A Paradise on Earth, by Kazayuki Ishihara, and (right) the Arita garden, with contemporary white pavilion, by Shuko Noda.
- May 23: no need to get on the train to Provence at St Pancras International to see and smell the region’s flowers. Clifton Nurseries has installed a pop-up Provençal garden at the station, with jasmine, lavender, rolling hillsides and gravel underfoot. It’s free to explore on the second floor, opposite the Betjeman statue, 9am-5pm, until May 31.
- May 24: a weed or a wilding? You decide, at an exhibition of photos and paintings by Paul Debois, Lynn Keddie and Alys Fowler in the Oxford House Gallery, Bethnal Green, with a bookable talk, pop-up café and party in the evening. The exhibition runs until mid-June.
- May 25: Urbanfarmacy’s River of Herbs meanders from Surbiton station down the high street to lead you into the community garden on Balaclava Road. Be guided by the orange marigolds, and spot herbs in tree pits and planters along the way.
- May 26: visit the magical orchard of heritage pear trees at Chiswick Library. Navigate your way round the secret mini maze, book your bugs into the insect hotel, take the treasure trail and browse in the little outdoor library. Until June 8.
- May 27: see the amazing urban living space designed by the honeybee to make a snug nest, part of an exhibition at the Chelsea Physic Garden that aims to promote the importance of bees to civilisation. From 11am-6pm, until May 30.
- May 28: if you’re passionate about peonies, you can’t miss a display of dozens of unusual varieties at Neill Strain’s The Flower Lounge, West Halkin Street, SW1, along with demos, 10am-7pm, showing how to style them for the home. Until May 31.
- Details of these and more Fringe events at chelseafringe.com