Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

The Stones at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

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The month of May sees both Malvern Spring Festival and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, two great gatherings for horticulturists. Fortunately this year I had access to the show ground at Chelsea on the Sunday, a blessing as the weather for the press day on Monday looked like it was going to be wet and windy. On the Sunday the gardens are receiving their finishing touches and it is usually quite a frantic time. Not so this year as most of the gardens seemed very complete when I arrived in the morning.

This was the start of my 4 day photo shoot at Chelsea with 5.30am early access for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when the light is usually much kinder for photographers.

Walking round finding where each garden designer had their garden this year I came across the one designed by James Basson for L’Occitaine. Perhaps it was the Monet’esque bright red poppies that stopped me in my tracks and the feeling of being transported to the south of France.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 L'Occitaine: A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson - Sponsor – L'Occitaine UK Ltd - awarded

A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson – Sponsor – L’Occitaine UK Ltd – awarded Gold Medal

Tufa stone was used to great effect  in the garden.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 L'Occitaine: A Perfumers Garden in Grasse – Designer James Basson - Sponsor – L'Occitaine UK Ltd - awarded Gold

Tufa stone in the James Basson designed garden

I was next transported to the Middle East and it’s wonderful architecture and gardens. In this garden designed by Kamelia Bin Zaal white marble was used for the hard landscaping.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Beauty of Islam - Designer – Kamelia Bin Zaal - Sponsor - Al Barari Firm Managemnet LLC awarded Silver Gilt

The Beauty of Islam – Designer – Kamelia Bin Zaal – Sponsor – Al Barari Firm Managemnet LLC awarded Silver Gilt

Both these gardens seemed to be at their best in the bright sunlight, a time I don’t usually photograph gardens.

The Artisans gardens are usually a better bet to go to when the light is too bright as they are usually more shaded with dappled sunlight..

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss - Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver Gilt (stained glass by Irene Mackay).

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss – Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver Gilt (stained glass by Irene Mackay).

In the front of the garden who spotted the evader in front of the bombed stone church? Such a clever piece made by John Everiss himself.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss - Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver gilt

The Evaders garden – Designer John Everiss – Sponsor – Chorley Council – awarded Silver gilt

There was the beautiful, if a bit samey Japanese garden ‘Edo no Niwa’ designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara wh0 uses stone to great calming effect.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 – Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara - Sponsor – Cat's Co Ltd – awarded Gold

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara – Sponsor – Cat’s Co Ltd – awarded Gold

The designer himself.

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara - Sponsor – Cat's Co Ltd – awarded gold

Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design laboratory garden – Designer Kazuyuki Ishihara – Sponsor – Cat’s Co Ltd – awarded gold

A garden I was drawn back to again and again was the one designed by Darren Hawkes.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

Perhaps this was due to the use of stone from Bodmin for the granite boulder seating. If you ever get chance visit the Cheesewring on Bodmin moor and find one of the naturally weathered granite stone boulder seats there and shut your eyes for a while, but be prepared for lift off.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

I wondered whether this piece in the garden was inspired by the Men-an-Tol stone circle in Cornwall.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden - Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

The Brewin Dolphin Garden – Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes – Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medal

Bodmin is home to the Hurlers stone circle and the Cheesewring a place I have been drawn back to over the years. The Cheesewring with it’s balanced granite boulders is a favourite place to photograph. On reflection power places built with stone seem to have a big magnetic attraction for me!

Balanced weathered stones Bodmin moor

Balanced weathered stones Bodmin moor

Dan Pearson’s Chatsworth garden was another garden with giant stones as a feature, this time gritstone.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Designer – Dan Pearson - Sponsor - Champagne Laurent - Perrier awarded gold and best in show

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden – Designer – Dan Pearson – Sponsor – Champagne Laurent – Perrier awarded gold and best in show

The oak boardwalk started between two gritstone boulders.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Designer – Dan Pearson - Sponsor - Champagne Laurent - Perrier awarded gold and best in show

The Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden – Designer – Dan Pearson – Sponsor – Champagne Laurent – Perrier awarded gold and best in show

Charlie Albone’s garden had some beautiful stonework in it, the sandstone path and columns had lovely patterns in it.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded

The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone – Sponsor – Husqvarna – Gardena – awarded Silver Gilt

At the end of the garden was a well crafted dry stone fire pit and wall.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded Silver Gilt

The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone – Sponsor – Husqvarna – Gardena – awarded Silver gilt

Charlie’s garden had to have the most talked about plant of all the show gardens, this beautiful Protea illuminated in early morning sunlight.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 - The Time in Between – Designer Charlie Albone - Sponsor – Husqvarna - Gardena - awarded Silver Gilt

Protea in The Time in Between Garden, Designed by Charlie Albone

Matthew Keightleys’s garden had conical stone pillars sourced from Cumbria supporting the porch of the house and a stone waterfall to the side.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability - Designer Matt Keightley - Sponsor - David Brownlow Charitable Foundation – Sentebale – Princes Foundation for Building Community - awarded Silver Gilt Medal

Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability – Designer Matt Keightley – Sponsor – David Brownlow Charitable Foundation – Sentebale – Princes Foundation for Building Community – awarded Silver Gilt Medal and People’s Choice award.

Finally it was good to see Harry and David Rich’s garden receive a gold medal, they both know how to design gardens with natural stone. Here they are sat on their dry stone bench.

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 Cloudy Bay Garden in association with Vital Earth – Designers Harry and David Rich - Sponsor - Cloudy Bay – Bord na Mona - awarded Gold medal

Designers Harry and David Rich – Sponsor – Cloudy Bay – Bord na Mona – awarded Gold medal

 


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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.

2 thoughts on “The Stones at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

  1. You have shot some beautiful photographs, well worth the early start.

  2. Thanks Julie, we are very lucky to be able to get in so early. Liked your blog from the later start perspective.

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