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.


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.

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Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2011; Show Gardens

This was my first visit to Tatton Park RHS flower show and I was greatly impressed. A very friendly, fun and professional show, billed as the North`s greatest garden party.

I had access to the site from 5am for 3 days. Having not been to Tatton before the very first 5am start was a very quick orientation. The light was flat and grey for most mornings, which does work for show gardens, though at dawn I do prefer the warm soft light. This happened some evenings around 8pm.

Awarded Best in Show and Gold was the garden entitled; “Save a Life, Drop the Knife”;  garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe. The message was clear and the garden moved from gnarly, sharp, angry urbanism through to gentle contemporary softness and peace.

"Save a Life, Drop the Knife"; garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe

 “Grasses with Grace” by Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery was my personal favourite that I kept coming back to at different times as it changed constantly. The planting was just superb, especially for a photographer, as there were so many vistas that were eye catching. I have to admit that the Echinacea “Green Envy” was also my favourite flower in the show as it was so well offset with the Sanguisorba obtusa and the  Grasses: Stipa capillata (front); & Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (back).

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens

 Early evening back lighting on the Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and Agastache ‘Black Adder’ also showed off the grasses  Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back)

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’, Grasses: Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back),

Sue`s expert planting is shown here. One of the reasons this garden was my favourite as it really won its well deserved Gold through its planting. As a garden photographer often at shows the structure seems to be thought of first then planted around it. This garden shows that brilliant planting can win Gold.

"Grasses with Grace", Achillea ‘Red Velvet", Anthemis ‘E.C. Buxton’, Agastache ‘Black Adder", Sanguisorba obtusa, Grass: Stipa calamagrostis

 “The Schedule”, awarded Gold Medal was also one of my favourites. The styling was immaculately executed and it transported me back to the 1970`s visiting my Uncle Harry`s garden in Ipswich. A time when life was alot simpler and people took pride in growing things. This was another garden I kept popping back to and once again was rewarded one evening with the backlit brassicas.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

 The garden looked like it had always been there, I really liked the lean-too greenhouse.

I even had a bike just the same as this one! The canvas saddle bag too was classic. Hot Pot for tea! 
“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” awarded Gold Medal, designed by Daniela Coray, winner of the 2011 RHS National Young Designer of the Year Competition. This meadow garden swayed beautifully in the breeze underneath the crab apple trees, Daniela has a bright future ahead of her.
OXFAM`s “When the Waters Rise”  was part of their “Grow” Campaign” for better ways to grow, share and live together. The garden was full of meaning and the message very clear. It showed the ways people across the world are adapting to climate change, particularly flooding. Here veg is grown in containers that are portable. The sculpture of woman with child on her back looking after the garden highlights womens role in subsistence farming.
“When the Waters Rise”

 Great details like the carrots growing in the wellies!

“Inside Out”,Designed by John Everiss was a great feat of engineering and design. When I was photographing late one evening a couple of the onsite construction crew were having a real good look at the structure. This for me really worked on a few levels. The roof was amazing with the outdoor living area below,

"Inside Out", Awarded Gold Medal, Designer John Everiss

 The “Outside” nestling up pefectly to the “Inside”, the Hornbeam hedging also dividing areas off.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On designed by Sam Youd was a very calm reflective garden also awarded a Gold. Sam is Head Gardener at Tatton and was asked to design a Japanese Garden commemorarting 100 years of a Japanese Garden at the park. Sam has been Head gardener for over 30years and was instrumental in bringing the show to tatton park. He will also be retiring next year and I personally wish him a happy and content retirement.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On”, designed by Sam Youd
“Painting with Plants“, awarded Silver Gilt Medal, designed by Jan Lomas, Nicola Sweeting, Eaton Garden Team, sponsored by Grosvenor Estate had another of my favourite plants the  Eryngium ‘ Cobalt  Star`

Eryngium ' Cobalt Star`

I also liked this water feature that was blended in nicely to the planting.

Water feature amongst Agastache ‘ Blue fortune”, Eragrostis curvula ( African Love Grass ), Helenium ‘Waldtraut’,

Finally I wandered through the Floral Design Studio and came across this flower display, “Hidden & Revealed” that won Gold & Best Exhibit, by NAFAS. It mesmerised me and really stopped me in my tracks. I found it very peaceful, Zen and calming. I decided to photograph it with a slow enough shutter speed to catch the copper and willow circle spinning enough to still make out the shape amongst the stillness.

NAFAS were awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio


I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the show and look forward to returning for next years show in 2012.

Book commission and Dahlias


Really busy with too much photography editing to really start blogging, but no better place to start. Why I`ve chosen today to start this not sure, but all will become clearer soon I expect.

Started the blog to keep you informed about the working side of Stephen Studd Photography and a little bit of behind the scenes.

At the moment outside its a pretty grim day and I have lots of work to catch up on with edits etc, so computer time today!

Starting to collate together the photographs I have shot for a book commission I am working on to be released next year; “20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses” by Rachel Corby, published by the Good Life Press. Further shoots for this and appointments to be set up!

Am also wading through images of Dahlias shot in Autumn that need processing, this shoot I really enjoyed. Also getting some back catalogue into Lightroom 3

Is this blog procrastination? I hope not.

Well that was pretty easy to set up and do so back to my editing again