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the founder of Laurel and Yew.
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Our favourite highlights from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Our favourite highlights from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

May’s theme was flowers, so what better way to round it up than with an overview of the flower event of the year, the Chelsea Flower Show? One of the big events of the London social calendar (which took place between 23 and the 27th), it’s also the best known of the Royal Horticultural Society many shows, some of which will take place with the backdrop of some of the country’s finest estates over the summer. Here’s our top 5 gardens from the recent show, in no particular order.

City Living Garden by Katie Gould (Katie Gould Design) – Gold Medal, Best Fresh Garden

(c) RHS

(c) RHS

The garden is built on layers around the structure of a modern, urban building, and it’s a beautiful end-result that gives hope of a creative solution to one of the key problems of the housing crisis: how to ensure we preserve green spaces in areas of high demand? While I am not a big fan of the  current geometrical trends in architecture, I find the garden really pleasant, and the overall look of the structure, which can easily be too rigid, softened by the choice of plants, especially the large presence of ferns, with their soft texture. 

Explore the garden in 3D here.

Chengdu Silk Road Garden by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins (Willerby Landscapes Ltd) – Silver Gilt Medal

(c) RHS

(c) RHS

This garden is inspired by the rich history of Chengdu, so it was always going to be a winner for me. From a design point of view, the beautiful plants and flowers that have their origin in China are contrasted to an architectural structure in shades of red, a colour I rightly or wrongly connect to China, whose shape is taken from the geography of the region. At its heart lie a reference to a local legend. It’s brilliant from a conceptual point of view, although it’s hard to appreciate without explanation.

Explore the garden in 3D here.

Beneath a Mexican Sky by Manoj Malde (Living Landscapes) – Silver Gilt Medal

(c) RHS

(c) RHS

This garden is another great idea for a urban environment. With its tones of clementine, coral and cappuccino it would feel at home in an up-and-coming, street culture area like, for example, our neighbouring Brixton.  The Mexican theme, inspired by the work of modernist architect Luis Barragan, allows for exotic low-maintenance plants to run the show, which are well suited to the minimalistic pots, themselves great complements to the garden. My favourite feature, though, is the copper wire sculpture by Rupert Till, which captures Barragan’s love of horses. Just on time for our theme of the month of June, which is horses!

Explore the garden in 3D here.

The Poetry Lover’s Garden by Fiona Cadwallader (Landform Consultants) – Silver Medal

(C) RHS

(C) RHS

From an inner city garden, to one suited to a more residential area (but still mindful of using limited amounts of space well), this garden is inspired by English poetry and mixes contemporary and traditional in what is a relaxed combination that uplifts the spirit. It’s full of subtle references, so it may appear uncreative on first sight, unless you have a degree in English Literature or a deep love of poetry, but I find it quite delightful even without thinking of the inspiration behind it.

Explore the garden in 3D here.

Maggie’s Garden by Darren Hawkes (Bowles & Wyer) – Gold Medal

(C) RHS

(C) RHS

This garden is like a natural room, inspired by the vision of the late Maggie Keswick Jencks for a green restorative spaces for cancer patients. The architectural feature is symbolic of putting back together the pieces of one’s life after a cancer diagnosis, but even without understanding the thought process behind it, the garden is a sanctuary of calm and natural beauty. It also provides a great memorial space for Ms Keswick Jencks, who believed that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. As my family has been affected by cancer not once but twice, first with my late grandmother and now with my mother, I couldn’t but agree with her vision. You can learn more about it (and support Maggie's Centres) here.

Explore the garden in 3D here.

The British Country Home

The British Country Home

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