Look Back at Chelsea Flower Show Gardens

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The David Harber and Savills garden, view through corten rusted steel screens towards the Aeon sculpture, planted with Lupinus 'Persian Slipper', Aquilegia 'Blue Barlow', Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow' - Designer: Nic Howard - Spon

The David Harber and Savills garden: Designer: Nic Howard

As a garden photographer one of the joys of the Chelsea Flower Show is getting early access at 5.30am to witness some beautiful sunrises over the show gardens. With such a large catalogue of images I’m looking back at the past 5 years of gardens at Chelsea, a time that camera sensor technology really advanced too, allowing shots like these sunrises.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The M&G Garden, view of Forest of Dean stone path and patio, oak garden wall, Aquilegia chrysantha, Briza media 'Golden Bee', Euphorbia wallichii, Phlox divaricata 'Clouds of Perfume', Quercus pubescens - Designer: Cleve We

Designer: Cleve West

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The M&G Garden – The Retreat - designer Jo Thompson - sponsors M & G Investments awarded silver gilt medal

Designer: Jo Thompson

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:

Designers: Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Resilience Garden - Border pla

Designer: Sarah Eberle

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The Telegraph Garden, view of bronze coated fin panels, limestone path, Isoplexis canariensis, adobe wall, Maytenus boaria, Quercus ilex, Schinus molle, -  Designer: Andy Sturgeon - Sponsor:  The Telegraph

Designer: Andy Sturgeon

Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates, 11 Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, England, UK. landscape garden designer Viking Cruises Wellness garden gold medal RHS Chelsea Flower Show London UK 2018 photography by Stephen Studd photographer, Built by Gar

Designer: Paul Hervey-Brookes

As an organic allotment holder I am always on the look out for gardens that incorporate growing fruit and vegetables. In 2017 the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden designed by Jon Wheatley really had it all.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden designed by Mark Gregory in 2018 had a beautifully compact veg patch under a cascading Wisteria.

For small urban spaces Tom Massey found a great solution for growing your own.

A hand woven wicker compost heap was a novel idea on the garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden, woven willow compost bins, insect hotel on side of shed, Digitalis purpurea and cow parsley - Designer Anne Marie Powell - Sponsor: RHS

The cut flower garden by Sarah Raven was a delight and packed with colour.

Matt Keightley’s Radio 2 Texture garden had to have the best garden wall award.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Stone path, concrete wall inlaid with moss balls, Acer Griseum, Euphorbia 'Fens Ruby',  Euphorbia 'Whistleberry Garnet', Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Stipa tenuissima, CalaHis planting in the garden was also exquisite.

I’m always fascinated by the seating used by garden designers, my all time favourite were the granite boulders by Darren Hawkes.

Stephen Studd - The Brewin Dolphin Garden - granite stone carved seats on patio area, dry stone wall -Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medalHere’s a selection of some more.

A garden which took me back to the colourful Mexican palette I encountered on my travels was the Beneath A Mexican Sky garden designed by Manoj Malde.

Favourite water feature was Jo Thompson’s natural swimming pool, one day I’ll have my own it’s on the tick list.

Stephen Studd - The M & G Garden  The Retreat -wooden jetty over natural swimming pond pool, water marginal plants -designer Jo Thompson - sponsors M & G Investments awarded silver gilt medal

These other water features I really liked.

First sauna in the garden at Chelsea, Paul Hervey-Brookes one was very enticing.

Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,  11 Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, England, UK. landscape garden designer Viking Cruises Wellness garden gold medal RHS Chelsea Flower Show London UK 2018 photography by Stephen Studd photographer, Built by GarFor the inner child in you, who didn’t want to climb up in to the tree house designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White.

Photographer: Stephen Studd -The RHS Back to Nature Garden – w

During lockdown many of us are having to work from home, Chelsea had some great spaces for garden offices.

Another on my to have list is the shepherd hut by Plankbridge, office or hideaway, tbc.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Supershoes, Laced With Hope Garden: urban garden wall with graffiti, curved wooden bench, mixed border planted with Lupinus 'Towering Inferno', Lupinus Desert Sun', Lupinus 'Masterpiece', Geum 'Cosmopolitan'. Poppies, Al

With climate change a reality, al fresco dining areas are increasingly important areas of the garden. This one designed by Tony Woods had an outdoor kitchen, edible living wall and had water conservation at it’s heart. 

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden also had water conservation at it’s heart and creating spaces that are beneficial to wildlife.

Naturalistic planting is becoming more evident at Chelsea, a technique that I use in my own garden. It has been backed up in numerous studies that the colour green promotes quicker healing and recovery from illness and is also good for mental well being and stress reduction.

This softening with green can also be used in urban landscape design and community centres.

Finally the plants are the real show stoppers at Chelsea and here are some of my favourite views over the past 5 years.

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Don’t you just love Chelsea.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Supershoes, Laced With Hope G

Really missing Chelsea this year and seeing lots of friends there and coming home with bags full of design ideas, but looking forward to next years. Do check out this years RHS Virtual Chelsea by clicking this link.

You can also follow my Chelsea highlights on my social media channels:

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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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