My visit to the Chelsea flower show 2012 | Tim Austen garden designs

This year I visited the Chelsea flower show and, although I found some of the main show gardens a little “samey” e.g. variants of the same colour paving (beige Yorkstone) were repeated over the first five main showgardens, there was still plenty there to provide food for thought, particularly from the new fresh gardens category.

Joe Sift’s water feature

My favourites from the main show gardens were, in no particular order, Joe Swift’s ‘Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden’ – I loved the bold cedar wood frames and large horizontally-sliced stone boulders.  The colours used in his bold planting and those of his materials connected together beautifully.

Sarah Price’s wild garden

Sarah Price’s ‘Telegraph Garden’ celebrated wild areas of the English countryside and was, with its lovely soft planting of native plants and multi-stemmed birches with abstract limestone paving layout, a relief after the “heaviness” of the planting in the other gardens.

As I wandered along the main avenue my eyes kept lifting expectantly towards Diarmuid Gavin’s pyramid at the end of the avenue.  But just before I reached it, I came across my favourite garden the ‘Quiet Time: DMZ Forbidden Garden’ by Korea’s Jihae Hwang.

Quiet Time: DMZ Forbidden Garden’ by Korea’s Jihae Hwang

This garden used features and plants that have thrived in the demilitarized zone to Commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Korean conflict.  It was a very carefully crafted garden reflecting a landscape from which human intervention has been prohibited and had a lovely natural stream and again wild planting.  Although used as a thought provoking feature in this garden, why not have a watch-tower in your own garden if you have the space!

Diarmuid Gavin’s tower garden

After this, Diarmuid Gavin’s garden seemed a little off-tack but was still impressive for sheer scale of endeavour and because it was so different to the other gardens.  I also liked Chris Beardshaw’s’ ‘Furzy garden’, perhaps because it was my sort of thing, with a thatched gazebo and beautiful woodland planting including some top-notch Rhododendrons in full-flower.

Chris Beardshaw’s’ ‘Furzy garden’

The most provocative gardens were in the new fresh gardens category, my favourite being the ‘Green with…’ garden designed by Tony Smith, which featured Perspex tubes supporting a roof structure composed of artificial grass that was collecting water to sustain the planting beneath, and ‘was concerned with human emotions of envy and desire.’  Strong stuff indeed!

‘Green with…’ garden designed by Tony Smith

1 Comment
  • makes me wish I had gone to Chelsea as well as Hampton Court Flower show! Such diverse designs

    19th September 2012at5:14 pm

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