Stephen Studd Photography

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gardens 2014 – A Garden Photographers View

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I usually post a blog after an RHS show, but have never posted one of Chelsea. After being contacted via Twitter and email with requests, here is my photographers view of the 2014 show gardens.

There is no real order of preference with the gardens, they were photographed over 5 days. My photography is about quality over quantity and making the gardens look like they are not in a show, I haven’t included all the gardens This blog is about the ones that caught my eye as a garden photographer.

Professional garden photographers can apply for 5.30am access, a real bonus as the gardens look at their best, with the best light after sunrise. It is a very busy time for photographers as the images have to be out as quickly as possible, everyone has deadlines and commissions to fulfil so getting a blog out has to take a back seat, though nowadays Twitter works for instant views.

As it is the 50th Anniversary of the RHS Britain in Bloom, I will start with the garden designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould. My own town of Stroud benefits from a great splash of colour in the summer as it puts on displays for Britain in Bloom, as do many other places in Britain. It really brightens up the town and is probably something that is taken for granted, without the floral displays the place would look duller.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - RHS Britain in Bloom 50th Anniversary Garden - From the Moors to the Sea - designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould garden design

RHS Britain in Bloom 50th Anniversary Garden – From the Moors to the Sea – designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould garden design

I liked the story behind the garden and it packed in lots of different microclimates ‘from the moors to the sea’.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - RHS Britain in Bloom 50th Anniversary Garden - From the Moors to the Sea - designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould garden design

RHS Britain in Bloom 50th Anniversary Garden – From the Moors to the Sea – designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould garden design

The seaside element took me back to when I used to live next to the sea in an old wooden seaside house in Mumbles, Wales. From there it was easy access to go up to the Brecon Beacons, to one of my favourite places Pen Y Fan.

Two rising stars in the garden design world are Harry & David Rich who are from Trefeitha in the Brecon Beacons, their gardens are influenced by their natural surroundings. I first saw their work when I had a commission to photograph the RHS show in Cardiff, where they gained a gold medal. It was my favourite garden there. This year after their Artisan gold medal at Chelsea last year they were on main avenue with “The Night Sky Garden”.

Vital Earth - The Night Sky Garden - Designers: David & Harry Rich - Sponsors: Bord Na Mona UK

Vital Earth – The Night Sky Garden – Designers: David & Harry Rich – Sponsors: Bord Na Mona UK

I do love their use of natural materials and being a photographer who really enjoys photographing stone, I was pleased to see Welsh stone incorporated into their garden. The stone really added that natural feel to the garden and was one of my favourite elements in all the gardens.

Vital Earth - The Night Sky Garden - Designers: David & Harry Rich - Sponsors: Bord Na Mona UK

The Night Sky Garden – Designers: David & Harry Rich

It took me a few days to find out whether the garden feature in Luciano Giubbilier’s Best in Show, gold medal garden was wood or stone, I will leave you guessing, it was an element I thought added impact to the garden and also being a landscape and travel photographer added a great landscape into the garden with different light affecting it’s look throughout the day.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 The Laurent Perrier Garden - Designer: Luciano Giubbilier - Sponsor: Champagne Laurent- Perrier

The Laurent Perrier Garden – Designer: Luciano Giubbilier – Sponsor: Champagne Laurent- Perrier

This garden was the first I photographed during my 5 days at the show, the light in the morning was very captivating.

 Laurent Perrier Garden - Designer: Luciano Giubbilier - Sponsor: Champagne Laurent- Perrier

Laurent Perrier Garden – Designer: Luciano Giubbilier

 

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Laurent Perrier Garden - Designer: Luciano Giubbilier - Sponsor

Laurent Perrier Garden – Designer: Luciano Giubbilier

The garden had stone seats which looked very elegant, but a bit uncomfortable.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Laurent Perrier Garden - Designer: Luciano Giubbilier - Sponsor: Champagne Laurent- Perrier

Seating in the the Laurent Perrier Garden – Designer: Luciano Giubbilier

One place I really wanted to sit was on the oak tree bench in the Adam Frost garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 The Homebase Garden - Time to Reflect - in association with the Alzheimer's Society -Designer Adam Frost -Sponsor Homebase

The Homebase Garden – Time to Reflect – in association with the Alzheimer’s Society – Designer Adam Frost

Adam’s garden was also a more naturalistic garden that had lots of great elements. I liked the outdoor living area covered with a turf roof and the limestone boulders in the garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 The Homebase Garden - Time to Reflect - in association with the Alzheimer's Society -Designer Adam Frost -Sponsor Homebase

Designer Adam Frost

Another seat I liked the look of for its design, was in the garden designed by Hugo Bugg for the Royal Bank of Canada, but I wouldn’t want it in my own garden.

Royal Bank of Canada - Waterscape Garden - Designer Hugo Bugg - Sponsor RBC

Royal Bank of Canada – Waterscape Garden – Designer Hugo Bugg – Sponsor RBC

 

Royal Bank of Canada - Waterscape Garden - Designer Hugo Bugg - Sponsor RBC

concrete seat

The Rich brothers seating again was wooden set between a dry stone wall.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - Vital Earth - The Night Sky Garden - Designers: David & Harry Rich - Sponsors: Bord Na Mona UK

Seating in the Night Sky Garden – Designers: David & Harry Rich

The seating in The Telegraph garden was very contemporary and was part of the stylish garden design.

The Telegraph Garden - Designers Tommaso Del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz

The Telegraph Garden – Designers Tommaso Del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz

The Telegraph Garden - Designers Tommaso Del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz

I was quite taken by the garden, I liked the lime trees creating shade in the patio area and perhaps it was because the garden had a large lawn area it appeared open and light.

Chelsea RHS Flower Show 2014- The Telegraph Garden - Designers Tommaso Del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz - Sponsors The Telegraph

My own lawn looks nothing like this one as it has dandelions, daisies, yarrow and many other weeds/medicinal herbs in it and is left to be overgrown in the most part, but at least you could see the Telegraph garden being used by a family, with a space for the children to play.

My first walk round the show gardens I wasn’t very taken by the Cleve West garden as I was looking with a photographers eye and the light wasn’t very good when I saw it. However, at sunrise the garden really clicked into place and the divine light made it truly mesmerising. It was a garden that I kept going back to, it had a peaceful and calming feel to it and I did fall in love with it. This first photo was taken low to the ground at plant level.

Chelsea RHS flower show 2014 - The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West

 

The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West

The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West –

Chelsea RHS flower show 2014 - The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West

Chelsea RHS flower show 2014 - The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West

Another garden that was designed for photographers because of the light was the Hope on the Horizon Garden designed by Matthew Keightley making his debut at Chelsea.

Chelsea RHS Flower Show 2014 - Hope on the Horizon Garden - Designer Matt Keightley -   Sponsors - David Brownlow Charitable Foundation for Help for Heroes

Hope on the Horizon Garden – Designer Matt Keightley – Sponsors – David Brownlow Charitable Foundation for Help for Heroes

It was a garden that always had the photographers there as it had so many elements to photograph.

Chelsea RHS Flower Show 2014 - Hope on the Horizon Garden - Designer Matt Keightley -   Sponsors - David Brownlow Charitable Foundation for Help for Heroes

Hope on the Horizon Garden – Designer Matt Keightley

 

Hope on the Horizon Garden - Designer Matt Keightley -

Hope on the Horizon Garden – Designer Matt Keightley –

The Fresh gardens area of the show I always head for, though this year I didn’t get to photograph until the Tuesday as I had other commitments. I loved the Mind’s Eye garden, which was another photographers favourite and it won Best in Show for the Fresh gardens.

The Mind's Eye garden for the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind - designers LDC Design - sponsors - Countryside - awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

The Mind’s Eye garden for the RNIB – Royal National Institute for the Blind – designers LDC Design – sponsors – Countryside – awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

I could have spent a long time photographing the garden as it had so many great angles and fantastic planting.

The Mind's Eye garden for the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind - designers LDC Design - sponsors - Countryside - awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

The Mind’s Eye garden, designers LDC Design

 

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Mind's Eye garden for the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind - designers LDC Design - sponsors - Countryside - awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

The Mind’s Eye garden, designers LDC Design

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Mind's Eye garden for the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind - designers LDC Design - sponsors - Countryside - awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

The Mind’s Eye garden, designers LDC Design

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Mind's Eye garden for the RNIB - Royal National Institute for the Blind - designers LDC Design - sponsors - Countryside - awarded best in show in the Fresh Gardens & Gold medal

The Mind’s Eye garden, designers LDC Design

Although stone and wood were the predominant materials used in the gardens, metal materials were used in a few of them.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Brewin Dolphin Garden Designer: Matthew Childs Sponsor: Brewin Dolphin

Copper used in the Brewin Dolphin Garden Designer: Matthew Childs

 

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 Royal Bank of Canada - Waterscape Garden - Designer Hugo Bugg - Sponsor RBC

Waterscape Garden – Designer Hugo Bugg

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 Royal Bank of Canada - Waterscape Garden - Designer Hugo Bugg - Sponsor RBC

Waterscape Garden – Designer Hugo Bugg

The artisans gardens are a treat as they pack lots of great ideas into a small space. The winner of the best Artisan garden went to ‘Togenkyo – A Paradise on Earth’. I didn’t photograph it as I thought it was a bit too much same as before. I did like the Potter’s garden and thought this one deserved the best in show in the Artisans garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Dial A Flight - Potter's Garden - Designer Nature Redesigned - Sponsor DialAFlight

The Dial A Flight – Potter’s Garden – Designer Nature Redesigned

The Topiary garden was also very popular.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - The Topiarist’s Garden - designer Marylyn Abbott - sponsors Zenith44

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 – The Topiarist’s Garden – designer Marylyn Abbott – sponsors Zenith44

As I was born in Leeds I was keen to see the Tour de Yorkshire garden. The bicycle wheels incorporated into the Yorkshire stone wall was a clever idea but I wasn’t very keen on the large pool.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - Tour de Yorkshire Garden - Designer Alistair W Baldwin

Tour de Yorkshire Garden – Designer Alistair W Baldwin

The Khora dome made it’s debut at Chelsea and picked up the prestigious president’s award. It looked stunning with the sun rising behind it and the planting was lovely.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - Khora Ltd Trade Stand -  Wins the RHS Director General’s Award for the Best Trade Stand and A Five Star Award for the Best Trade Stand

Khora Ltd Trade Stand – won the RHS Director General’s Award for the Best Trade Stand and a Five Star Award

The Iris germanica ‘Deep Black  and ‘Quechee’ stopped me in my tracks on the Cloudy Bay garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden - Designer Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam - Sponsor: Cloudy Bay

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden – Designer Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam

The alliums amongst the grasses were a very photogenic landscape.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden - Designer Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam - Sponsor: Cloudy Bay

Sensory Garden – Designer Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam

No Man’s Land garden had a great dialogue behind it and again was a great garden landscape to photograph.

Chelsea RHS flower show 2014 - Garden - No Man's Land - ABF The Soldiers Charity to mark the centenary of World War One - Designer Charlotte Rowe

Garden – No Man’s Land – ABF The Soldiers Charity to mark the centenary of World War One – Designer Charlotte Rowe

The light on the stone catching the moss juxtaposed with the delicate Astrantia had ruggedness and delicacy in the Rich brothers garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2014 - Vital Earth - The Night Sky Garden - Designers: David & Harry Rich - Sponsors: Bord Na Mona UK

Welsh boulder covered in moss with Astrantia in the garden designed by David &ampHarry Rich

Finally on this particular morning I was at Cleve West’s garden as the sun rose with Derek St Romaine and Clive Boursnell, I turned to them both and said “This is why we get up at 4am”, to which they both agreed.

The M&G Garden - designer Cleve West - sponsors M&G Investments

The M&G Garden – designer Cleve West

I look forward to next years show and posting a blog on what caught my eye as a professional garden photographer.


For photography commissions my website is:

www.stephenstuddphotography.com


I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

I am represented by GAP Photos for my garden photography: http://www.gapphotos.com/imageresults.asp?photogref=139


 

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Author: Stephen Studd Photography

Stephen graduated from LCP in London in 1987 with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in photography. Since then he has travelled the world as a professional freelance travel & garden photographer. His photography has been published in many areas around the globe; from front cover of National Geographic magazine, to countless travel books, brochures and print media. His work has also been used in many advertising campaigns, with clients such as Fiat, Citigroup, Caribou Coffee, Expedia, BBC and countless others and his photography has picked up numerous international awards.. Stephen leads travel photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam & the USA. He also leads Bluebell photography workshops in Gloucestershire and landscape photography workshops in the Gower, Wales. http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com Stephen can be contacted for commissions via his photography website.

One thought on “RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gardens 2014 – A Garden Photographers View

  1. great photos. I wish I could spot the angles like you have. 🙂

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