A quick glance at what the people chose at Chelsea Flower show this year.
The people’s choice artisan garden: Togenkyo – A Paradise on Earth, gold medal. This garden was undoubtedly exquisite. It had character and charm. It was a little mystical and it invited you to explore.
Inspired by a fable and with references to happy memories of gardens recalled by the designer’s father of Nagasaki. The mix of planting dominated by Acer Palmatums and moss was not unique but it was undoubtedly beautiful. A huge achievement was the water wheel and the stream with split levels and its perfect flow through the space.
The soft foliage tones and natural materials allow this design to be absorbed into the landscape as if it had grown there and the stream looks to have evolved with time, the water flowed rapidly.
Among the display were pieris, a large canvas backdrop of bold laurel, a scattering of ferns. There also appeared to be a small hornbeam with a bonsai feel some prunus in blossom at the back and a little graceful larch. This was a timeless winner well deserving of its gold medal and people’s award.
The people’s choice fresh garden: The Mind’s Eye, gold medal. Naturally a sensory garden described as using materials, textures, smells and tastes. Structurally it created a series of contrasting sensory experiences.
Successfully it uses lots of everyday plants like rosemary, thymes, lavender, pachysandra, heuchera, aquilegia and achillea to best effect, particularly in front of the wall of cascading water.
Hope On The Horizon was the people’s choice for the show gardens, silver gilt medal. Help for Heroes is always a compelling theme. There is nostalgia, gratitude and empathy as it is such a worthy cause that connects and touches us all. The garden itself celebrates the journey of recovery for English servicemen. Conceptually it works.
It wasn’t blue and yellow and a lot of the gardens were. Within the garden were lots of places to sit. Each vista was beautiful. There was a sense of travelling on a journey, changing scenery using granite square blocks of different sizes at different stages illustrated the steps to recovery. In the final stage granite sits flat above ground smooth in the green wall.
Lots of rich warm shades are inviting. An avenue of hornbeam takes us along a path from beginning to end. The initial planting is quite wild and it becomes more ordered. The woody planting with foxgloves, hosta, ferns, brunnera, aquilegia, euphorbia is a good base throughout. Open areas feature the plants that want to be well drained like the rich red thistle Circium rivulare. Delphinium ‘Black Knight’ group makes a dramatic statement in the central area against a yew backdrop and also pale blue iris.The fantastic red lupin is Red Rum. White agapanthus creates a serene and appropriate calm to the engraved masonry and the pure white arum lily Zantedeschia appears peaceful and reflective like a sprinkle of hope along the journey.