Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chelsea 2014 Show Gardens

The large Show Gardens are arguably the main stars of the Chelsea Flower Show. Okay I hear some grumbling out there that it should be the Floral Marquee exhibits but you can't deny that this is the main draw for a majority of those visiting the show, as well as those who keep an eye on the media coverage.

Medal results are out and there are loads of photos with long commentaries out there so I'll make this one simple. Without further ado here are some (or most) of them with a few simple commentaries from yours truly... 


RBC Waterscape Garden designed by Hugo Bugg - Gold Medal
RBC Waterscape Garden
We both loved this garden, with its beautiful planting and angular and architectural hard landscaping. The attention to detail was amazing and we weren't surprised at all that it won Gold.
RBC Waterscape Garden

The Telegraph Garden designed by Tommaso Del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz - Gold Medal
The Telegraph Garden
I must admit, when I first saw the graphical presentation of this garden I was underwhelmed but it turned out to be a lot better once executed in real life. So much so that we put this as one, if not our favourite of the show gardens. The attention to detail is astounding, the materials used and planting were exquisite. A very elegant garden.
The Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden


The Extending Space designed by Nicole Fischer and Daniel Auderset - Silver Gilt Medal
 Extending Space designed by Nicole Fischer and Daniel Auderset
Nicely executed, and a garden that has also reminded us of Joe swift's Chelsea offering from last year
 Extending Space designed by Nicole Fischer and Daniel Auderset

Positively Stoke-on-Trent designed by City Council with Bartholomew Landscaping - Silver Gilt Medal
Positively Stoke-on-Trent
As soon as I lived in the UK one of the cultural nuances I have picked up was that, despite having a pottery heritage Stoke-on-Trent later on developed some sort of an image problem (that's not my personal judgement, just a cultural observation). I have to say I take my hat off to their city council for supporting initiatives such as this to help shake off their old image, into a new one that is bright, positive, and modern - as is implied by their garden.

Positively Stoke-on-Trent

Positively Stoke-on-Trent
I LOVE that floating walkway!
The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes - Bronze Medal
BrandAlley Renaissance Garden

BrandAlley Renaissance Garden
My first thought when we approached this garden was 'Where are the plants??' (Well they are on the sides) but getting to know more about the brief the designer deliberately kept the front and immediate sides of the pool bare to make it look more continental, planted up it might look more 'English'. Fair play.
BrandAlley Renaissance Garden
I am curious though as to what the judges thoughts are that made them arrive to their decision. On a personal note, the bare areas did remind me of parks and garden in continental Europe in the summer, wherein heat and consequent droughts can get intense that un-irrigated green spaces dry up leaving patches of bare earth.
Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei - Gold Medal and Best in Show
Laurent-Perrier Garden
Rills...
Laurent-Perrier Garden
Stones...
Laurent-Perrier Garden

Laurent-Perrier Garden

No Man's Land designed by Charlotte Rowe - Gold Medal
No Man's Land designed by Charlotte Rowe
We liked it but definitely one of those gardens that you have to read the brief first in order to understand its elements and symbolism.
Jeremy Paxman in No Man's Land designed by Charlotte Rowe
Jeremy Paxman reading a Poem by World War I poet Wilfred Owen

Vital Earth The Night Sky Garden designed by David and Harry Rich - Silver Gilt Medal
Vital Earth The Night Sky Garden
One of our favourites, nicely executed with superb hard landscaping and airy planting.
Vital Earth The Night Sky Garden

Help for Heroes - Hope on the Horizon designed by Matt Keithley - Silver Gilt Medal
Help for Heroes - Hope on the Horizon

Help for Heroes - Hope on the Horizon


Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden designed by Andre Wilson and Gavin McWilliam - Silver Gilt Medal
Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden

Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden
Charred wood....shudder...
The Massachusetts Garden designed by Susannah Hunter and Catherine Macdonald - Silver Medal
The Massachusetts Garden
Perhaps it would have fared better if the back panels were taller?
The Massachusetts Garden
A spot of Danger Garden!

Alan Titchmarsh's Britain in Bloom Garden (RHS Special Garden hence not for medal contention)
Alan Titchmarsh's Britain in Bloom Garden

Alan Titchmarsh's Britain in Bloom Garden

Alan Titchmarsh's Britain in Bloom Garden

Alan Titchmarsh's Britain in Bloom Garden
I liked it, in 'Groundforce Garden' sort of way...
A Garden for First Touch at St. George's designed by Patrick Collins - Silver Gilt Medal
The last show garden we've seen just before we were about to leave. BBC were busy filming then so alas I only took one photo.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden designed by Matthew Childs - Silver Gilt Medal
The Brewin Dolphin Garden

The Homebase Garden 'Time To Reflect' (Alzheimer's Society) designed by Adam Frost - Gold Medal 
The Homebase Garden 'Time To Reflect' (Alzheimer's Society)

The Homebase Garden 'Time To Reflect' (Alzheimer's Society)

The M & G Garden designed by Cleve West - Gold Medal
The M & G Garden designed by Cleve West
It didn't disappoint, again a garden that looked much better in real life than what was suggested in illustration.
The M & G Garden designed by Cleve West

So there you go, the Show Gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. Up next will be the Fresh Garden and snap shots of the exhibitors at the Floral Marquee. Then afterwards 'regular programming' will resume.

Mark :-)

31 comments :

  1. Oh almost as good as being there :) Thanks for the tour of the show gardens guys - brilliant photos. Is there a problem with your text alignment? The ends of some of your sentences have vanished into thin air :( I'm using Google Chrome to browse.

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    1. Thanks Anna! Will try to figure out the problem with the text. It seems to happen when captions are too long.

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  2. I like how each garden is like a little different world

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  3. A garden you have to read about first in order to appreciate fully?

    Despite the bad memories, did you like the charred wood? It seems to be quite a nice element, although I didn't realize it was char that gave it the black color...

    (I think that your images are too wide for your post area. Not only are the captions getting cut off, but the right sides of all of the images are too!)

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    1. I did actually Alan, quite a feature to have in a garden. The rest of the garden looked good too. Some gardens made you wonder why they had such features and on first glance looked odd but reading the brief you gain understanding as to why they are there.

      I'll see what I can do with the text and pics later :)

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  4. Another good look at the show, thanks for taking us along.

    Perhaps the Massachusetts garden would fare better without any back panels. The Cape and Islands are a wonder of nature worthy of a better depiction at such an important show.

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    1. It looks like a wonderful place, what they have depicted Shirley and I can imagine they will be likely to come back next year with an even more refined display. I remember a judge from previous years remarking on how the height of the panels make a difference to the points they give, so I'm wondering if that had a bearing again this year.

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  5. As Anna said, it's almost as good as being there (and without the crowds, which would drive me crazy). It seems as thought there was more focus on plants this year - am I imagining that? Perhaps it's just that your photos did such a great job of highlighting the plants. I love The Telegraph Garden - it'd be wonderful to walk into a backyard that looked like that. (And I covet those chairs.) I liked The Homebase Garden a lot too. Thanks for taking the time to share your visit!

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    1. Happy to share Kris! Yes there seems to be marginally more focus on plants this year, although trends and repeat plants are obvious too like the use of Iris, Foxgloves, etc.

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  6. Oh, I'm so disappointed in the Massachusetts garden. I like the Titchmarsh one, and the Stoke-on-Trent one, especially those arches. Thanks for showing us what you saw. I bet the Chelsea show is a treat.

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  7. I like the Vital Earth garden. I like the airiness and use of more natural stone rather than the hard planes in so many of the other designs. Togenkyo in the artisan category is still my favorite though! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into the Chelsea show. I really enjoyed it.

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  8. There are a couple of those I missed looking at when I was there (I'd whizzed past early on then didn't return - but there was so much to see!)
    Thank you for the thorough round up of all the gardens - I loved the waterscape garden and paradise garden - which was probably the most relevant for inspiring planting our very dry Suffolk plot.
    I've been walking round our garden viewing it through 'Chelsea spectacules' and if you think of ground elder as 'naturalistic' it's looking pretty good :-)))
    I'm looking forward to your next blog post.

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    1. Glad to hear you've gained some inspiration at Chelsea for your own garden Celia, and looking forward to the photos of the changes you'll be making :) There was so much to see and so little time, we missed out loads in the Floral Marquee.

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  9. We left London on the 15th. It was tough to know that I missed the Show by several days. Thank you SO much for the tour!!!

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    1. A pleasure Tatyana! Perhaps you can time it on your next trip to London :)

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  10. Wow! Since it was recently announced that our local garden show is cancelled I couldn't help but have that on my mind as I looked through your photos. All of these gardens are so plant focused and "real," unlike the crazy theatrics of our show gardens. I'm sure a great deal of it has to do with the time of the year (February vs. May) and location (in convention center vs. outdoors) but a lot of it is just culture.

    Thanks for the opuntia shot!

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    1. That's a shame that your local garden show was cancelled Loree :( yes timing has a great factor, with the show being in May it makes it a lot easier than say holding it in February. Nice to see you represented in the show :)

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  11. Lovely to bump into you on Monday. You've got super pictures. I do enjoy hearing other people's opinions afterwards - was I the only person who wasn't keen on Hugo Bugg's? I thought the metal and concrete juxtaposition clumsy and the "crackle" effect and holes in the metal too busy with all the planting. You don't mention what you thought of Luciano Giubbelei's, which I loved. Not so keen?

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    1. Hi Helen, it was great to bump into you and Michelle last Monday! I see what you mean about Hugo Bugg's garden, valid points too. As for the Luciano Giubbelei's garden we both liked it too, just lost for words on that one and didn't want to repeat the same words we've given the others :) hopefully we can catch up again soon!

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  12. From the pictures (I didn't go this year) the Telegraph garden has to be my favourite, I could really imagine having it as my garden. In my dreams anyway!

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  13. I would love to be a fly on the wall as the judges are making their decisions. Seems like they got it mostly right, but I think they should call on you to help them out.

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  14. Tee hee - you can just about see me sitting on the Stoke on Trent garden in your photos. We were invited on by one of the city's big wigs who overheard us chatting about the garden. It was great to find a public servant with a real vision for his city and how the garden was encapsulating some of it. It was a garden so much beter looking for real than in the drawing - as was Cleve's.

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    1. We're both really impressed by their garden Michelle, superb execution and daring enough to look different from the rest. I'm glad they performed better this year as last year they had problems with their planting that if I recall correctly was beyond their control but affected their score nevertheless. I would have loved to have walked on that floating walkway!

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  15. PS lovely to see you and I'm looking forward to Portland immensely :-)

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    1. Ditto :)) Busy planning the trip already!

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  16. That was a great tour, thank you! Can't think why you didn't like the charred wood ;-) There was some lovely planting even in the gardens I wasn't as keen on (Extending Space springs to mind). I found the polished perfection of the Telegraph garden a little to posh and remote for my tastes, though again loved some of the planting. My favourite large garden has to be the Night Sky one.

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