24 May 2013
Chelsea Flower Show 2013
One year on and without the adrenalin and excitement of creating a show garden I was back at Chelsea this week to simply enjoy the show and see what exciting treasures I could discover. I love the celebration of horticulture that is Chelsea and always come away having spotted new plants I want to use in my gardens. This year was no exception. One such gem was the Lillium martagon 'Orange Marmalade' that Ulf Nordfjell used in the Laurent-Perrier garden.
I really loved the formality and structure of The Daily Telegraph garden, designed by Christopher Bradley Hole, particularly the oak columns, which looked stunning with the burnt wall behind them. They gave the garden a real sense of depth and calmness, accented perfectly by the charcoal used as mulch on the ground. I had the privilege of walking through the garden, the vignettes glimpsed through the oak columns were fabulous. Equally brilliant was the planting - splashes of colour amongst a palette of greens. Particular favourites of mine were used: Astrantia major 'Claret', Rosa 'Tuscany Superb' and Tulipa sprengeri used with a lush grass.
A real treat though was one of the Fresh gardens - 'After the Fire' by designer James Basson and his wife Helen. This garden really summed up what the Fresh Garden category is all about. The message was simple and so inspirational; nature prevails in the face of adversity. Out of natural disasters can spring hope, and growth does return even after the harshest of fires, storms, drought or flooding.
This garden smelled of the South of France. I loved the lush foliage that had been grown using seeds left in the region of France that suffered severe bush fires three years ago. Contrasting the greens were rills lined with glazed orange terracotta, which snaked into an orange pool. The seating within the garden also used this orange glaze - they were beautiful and incredibly comfortable, made by Yannick Fourbet of Le Chêne Vert. Subtly set amongst the charred branches were little copper fibre optic lights, clinging and winding around the stems like copper candles. It was a truly magical garden and one that I felt I wanted to return to again and again. I really hope to see this designer in the large Show Garden category in future years.