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Kinetic Musical Troughs and Colour – a glance back at RHS Chelsea 2017.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  Beneath A Mexican Sky garden,Taking my first peek at the show last year on the Sunday before press day,  Manoj Malde’s ‘Beneath a Mexican Sky’ garden stopped me in my tracks with it’s in your face bold use of colour. Having spent some time in Mexico myself I know that Mexicans are not shy of using colour.

Manoj’s garden had a quiet, relaxed feeling to it and had one of my favourite plants Agave Americana, showing the blue green colours against the orange wall and turquoise water feature.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  Beneath A Mexican Sky garden,

Walking around taking in the show gardens I noticed that there seemed to be a predominant colour palette of reds, oranges and yellows coming through, as seen here in Charlotte Harris’s RBC Garden with planting of Aquilegia canadensis with Zizia aurea.Photographer: Stephen Studd, The Royal Bank of Canada Garden,  D

The Hagakure Hidden Leaves garden designed by Shuko Noda was framed in red, picturing another tranquil, peaceful and calming space._MG_8459

As a professional garden photographer at Chelsea, I know that one of the hardest spots for a garden designer to fill is the one that Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins ‘The Silk Road’ garden filled dramatically and really showcased the colour scheme of yellows, reds and oranges in such a large scale._MG_8674The Viking Cruises ‘Garden of Inspiration’ by Sarah Eberle had bright vivid mosaics and of course the orange tree to take you straight to the Med._MG_8464The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope designed by Ruth Willmott_MG_8611used the colour palette of oranges, reds and yellows to great effect._MG_8613

A new feature at the show in 2017 were the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which were designed to uplift the senses and encourage people to lose themselves in the sights, scents, sounds, flavours and textures.

The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, designed by Skipper of the light fandango, James Alexander-Sinclair was another show stopper with the kinetic musical troughs. They were mesmerizing, just watching the sound waves ripple on the water and seeing what patterns they produced _MG_8504with the occasional splash from deep bass sound, a novel idea well executed._MG_8507The Anneka Rice ‘Colour Cutting’ garden designed by Sarah Raven was a colourful garden which had a lovely retro, nostalgic feel to it._MG_8731

The garden was a riot of colour which was blended together with great talent._MG_9075

As an allotment holder, the Chris Evans ‘Taste Garden’ designed by Jon Wheatley, reminded me of visits as a young child to my Uncle Harry’s garden in Ipswich, whilst giving me allotment envy.Photographer: Stephen Studd - The BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden garden, from right to left: Cabbage 'Red Jewel, Kale 'Reflex' Kale 'Redbor', lettuce 'Red Iceberg', Leek 'Cumbria', with nasturtium 'Tall mixed', sweetcorn 'Sundance', runner bean 'StThe vegetable garden also reflected the warm colours of reds and bronzes.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden garden, Lettuce from right to left, 'Red Iceberg', 'Nymans', 'Lettony', Designer: Jon Wheatley

The Jeremy Vine ‘Texture Garden’ designed by Matt Keightley had so many great design ideas packed in to a small space, wow what a wall that was and great use of oversized irregular-shaped paving stones that created a feeling of space.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Stone path over pond, concrete wall inlaid with moss balls, Acer Griseum, Euphorbia 'Fens Ruby',  Euphorbia 'Whistleberry Garnet',  Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Stipa tenuiMatt’s sumptuous planting truly showcased beautiful flower, grass and conifer plant combinations alike.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Acer Griseum, Prunus serrula, Iris germanica 'Kent Pride', Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Pinus mugo 'Mughus', Pinus mugo 'Pumilio', Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutifl
Prunus serrula, Iris germanica ‘Kent Pride’, Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’, Pinus mugo ‘Mughus’ & ‘Pumilio’, Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Melica altissima ‘Alba’, Pimpinella major ‘Rosea’, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Giant Bronze’

His garden really stood out with the combination of textures in it and coppery red tones with the grasses catching the sunlight transforming their colours whilst waving gently in the wind.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Verbascum 'Firedance', Iris germanica 'Kent Pride', Stipa tenuissima, Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Calamagrostis brachytricha, M

Copper was used to great effect in Charlotte Harriss’s garden with the patinated copper pavilion._MG_8744

The sunrise light on the Breaking Ground garden, designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam had a striking copper wall and Stipa gigantean and other grasses again absorbing the warm morning light.Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Breaking Ground Garden, Sunrise over the garden, Stipa gigantica, Melica altissima 'Alba', Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna', Salvia greggii 'Nachtvlinder', Verbascum phoeniculum 'Violetta', Pimpinella major 'Rosea', Designer:

Finally the RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain‘ garden designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett was brimming full of take away ideas. The living roof over the wheelie bins, growing herbs and edibles was a great idea, even down to the wooden legs with drilled holes for solitary insects._MG_9143-EditThe very contemporary urban garden showcased the principles of sustainable rainwater management, with naturalistic informal planting set against the strong shapes and forms of the paths and hard surfaces. Greening Grey Britain Garden Nigel Dunnett RHS Chelsea Flower ShThe RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain‘ campaign is addressing the fact that we are paving over the UK, which is harmful to wildlife and is damaging to the nation’s health, whilst putting homes at more risk from flooding. Working with communities to transform neglected spaces into beautiful ones, researching about plants that can make the most difference to the environment and showcasing inspirational gardening at their shows and gardens. These spaces at the shows are always inspirational as they are achievable in our own spaces, no matter how small they are, helping everyonewith ideas to “get Greening Grey Britain, one plant at a time.”  _MG_8436

With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 countdown on, I look forward to seeing the new trends in garden design at the show this year.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, sun reflected in small pond, Verbascum 'Firedance', Pinus mugo, Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Calamagrostis brachytricha, Melica altissima 'Alba'


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The Stones at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

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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