Missing Chelsea

It’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press Day, or would have been, which usually sees me waking up at 4am for early access to photograph the show gardens. Instead this year I woke up at 4.30am panicking I was late, my Chelsea body clock is still there, today there was a beautiful sunrise, still, sunny and the air filled with bird song, just like Chelsea last year. The Andy Sturgeon garden for M&G, won Best in Show & Gold Medal.

The garden was one I kept going back to, it felt very calming and contemplative amongst all the busyness at Chelsea.

Being a Yorkshire lad, the Welcome to Yorkshire garden by Mark Gregory was a must see, it really looked like it had been there since the time the canal lock was built, a great feat of engineering and planting.

As a garden photographer having early access to the show gives you time to really look around and see the gardens that resonate with you, even if they didn’t get the coveted Chelsea Gold. There was something about the David Neale – Silent Pool Gin garden that I really liked. This garden showed that stark concrete environments can be softened by plants, a water feature and thought out garden design.

Green really was the colour last year, with bold use in The Greenfingers Charity Garden. designed by Kate Gould, which also used soft pastel tones in the planting which were very calming.  The garden was designed to resemble one of their hospice gardens and be restful, uplifting and interactive, a place of play, relaxation and peaceful contemplation.

It was great to see the The Green Switch Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara another garden of contemplation and everything Zen, the joy on Kazayuki’s face when he won another Chelsea gold was lovely to witness.

Rusted metalic colours were also evident last year, I really liked the digger bucket turned in to a lily pond on the The Walker’s Forgotten Quarry Garden, designed by Graham Bodle.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Walker's Forgotten Quarry Gard

Also the banana leaf on the CAMFED Garden Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow, designed by Jilayne Rickards.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The CAMFED Garden Giving Girls in

The copper chair on the Silent Pool Gin garden

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Silent Pool Gin Garden – con

The High Maintenance Garden designed by Sue Hayward had repurposed galvanised metal tanks and old metal railings with trailing roses.

The Resilience Garden designed by Sarah Eberle with the old silo, addressed the challenges posed by climate change and the pests and diseases that threaten forests today and in the future.

Chris Beardshaw’s  Morgan Stanley garden looked at how to create sustainable gardens through materials sourced and also in the constructing of them. It was another garden that felt peaceful and relaxing.

The RHS Back to Nature Garden, designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White was a fun space for children, with dens tree houses and water, big ideas packed in to a small space. Who wouldn’t like to be in the tree house and have a go on the rope swing?

Another garden for children was the Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden designed by Jody Lidgard which had to win the ‘in your face with colour’ award. It was packed with great ideas about growing food, including this edible living wall.

Finally last years Chelsea paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day Landings in Normandy with a commemorative D Day 75 garden designed by John Everiss, set against the Royal Hospice. It was a very strong emotive and moving space, especially with the metal sculptures set in slate and the 10,000  ‘Sea Thrift’ which the troops would have seen on the beaches as they landed.

There might not be a live RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, but there is a Virtual Chelsea, starting with Members Day today and continuing each day until May 23rd you can find out what’s on by following this link RHS Virtual Chelsea

I will be posting some of my favourite Chelsea gardens and plants this week on my social media accounts and also on another blog post on Wednesday.

Check them out here:

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