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.
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.
The Hagakure Hidden Leaves garden designed by Shuko Noda was framed in red, picturing another tranquil, peaceful and calming space.
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.The 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.The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope designed by Ruth Willmottused the colour palette of oranges, reds and yellows to great effect.
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 with the occasional splash from deep bass sound, a novel idea well executed.The Anneka Rice ‘Colour Cutting’ garden designed by Sarah Raven was a colourful garden which had a lovely retro, nostalgic feel to it.
The garden was a riot of colour which was blended together with great talent.
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.The vegetable garden also reflected the warm colours of reds and bronzes.
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.Matt’s sumptuous planting truly showcased beautiful flower, grass and conifer plant combinations alike.
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.
Copper was used to great effect in Charlotte Harriss’s garden with the patinated copper pavilion.
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.
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.The 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. The 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.”
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.
My garden and travel photography website is: www.stephenstuddphotography.com
Flower photography workshops & photography holidays: Digital Photography Holidays