Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chelsea 2012: Exotic Australian Garden

Many of the show gardens this year had a naturalistic style to them, cottage garden plants and style was very much a key trend. As such, exotic plants were somewhat missing from the outdoor show gardens, execpt for a couple of smaller examples and the Trailfinders Australian Garden.

This was also one of the few gardens that we could actually imagine being a real family garden, many of the other show gardens felt much more like hotel, office or embassy gardens, interesting and stunning in their own right but not somewhere to relax in a private garden. The Trailfinders Australian Garden however embraced exotic plants, a line of towering Washingtonia palms cuts through the garden, Cycas revoluta, Chamaerops humilis, Aspidistra elatior, Philodendron "Xanadu" and others all enhanced the tropical feel. The sun helped of course, as we had the first really warm day of the year yesterday. Many of the plants in the garden we have in our garden, and whilst many are not hardy enough for the UK for permanent planting, they can be pot grown or substituted to recreate the same look.

As I mentioned in our Chelsea roundup yesterday we were invited to enter the garden and have a closer look.

Now I like that bowl, we have smaller bowls of succulents in our garden, but one this size would be very dramatic.
Open sided heater in the middle of the pavilion allows a view from the bath tub into the garden!
Every garden should have one.. 
Outdoor shower, screened by Rhapis excelsa palms

mmmmm bubbles!
BBQ...  by Porsche

Understandably designer Jason Hodges was disappointed not to win a Gold Medal for the garden, instead having to settle for Silver Gilt. Despite his disappointment he still explained in detail the concept for the garden, in that its a family garden, representing "his Australia".  Tucked away was a pizza oven, something that wouldn't be noticed by the public, but Jason explained that growing up his neighbours were of Italian origin, and he would enjoy going next door for pizza and pasta, these small touches really gave the garden a personal touch.

Designer Jason Hodges (Right) with two familiar faces
One of our favourite gardens of the show, its great to see so many exotics being used.



  1. I love everything about this garden, including the architecture of the structure, the furniture, etc. Not too many Australian natives, but still a beautiful tropical garden. If this were my backyard, I would NOT complain. Maybe this garden didn't win a gold medal because it's practical, user-friendly and just plain beautiful? I.e. not "artsy" enough?!?

  2. Not really my thing on most this stuff. Kind of feel like you do, but I love that bowl of succulents.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. Gerhard, we would love to have elements of this garden at home with us, especially the structure! That would be a cool place to hang out surrounded by exotic plants!

    Cher, the succulent bowl is lovely isn't it! We have several small bowls with similar planting (ingluding the Agave)but a bowl that size would be a great focal point!

  4. We saw this garden on the tv but didn't realise it was the one that you were going to visit. It is fantastic and the sort of garden you could imagine realaxing in with friends.

  5. Hiya, yes this would be a great garden to relax in!

  6. You two must have felt right at home in this garden. I am off to find a BIG dishe to put my succulents in. It looks fantastic. More is more in this case.

  7. Great pictures of a lovely garden and yes it was one of my favourites too!

  8. Hi Janet, yes we really enjoyed this garden! Looking forward to hearing about the Succulent bowl.

    Ian, it was a great looking garden, very lush!

  9. It actually does look like a garden you might see in Australia.
    I love the outdoor bathroom. We'd like an outdoor shower, but not sure about a whole bath (would be great though). The succulent bowl looks spectacular -only problem here would be the agaves would outgrow it very quickly.

  10. It also looks like a garden one could easily find in coastal Southern California, though a few of the plants would have to be moved to full shade to survive, and here Washingtonias are flat-out pernicious weeds. It does give the sense of being a family's home. That outdoor bathtub is better than my indoor one--want, want! Nice post, thanks!

  11. Missy, glad you enjoyed it, an out door shower would be fun, although maybe a little too chilly here!

    Hoover, glad you like it. Washingtonias as a weed, now thats a problem I could get used to!


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