Another RHS Chelsea Flower Show has come and gone, and as always, there were a lot of split opinions with the show gardens.
When it comes to creativity, everything is subjective and opinions always vary. For several show gardens this year, hard landscaping materials held court.
James Basson’s exploration of a Maltese quarry in the M&G Garden (Winner of Best Show Garden), Darren Hawkes’ Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s and Graham Bodle’s Walker’s Wharf (Best Artisan Garden) all had industrial flavours because of the materials they used. You can’t fault their creativity and originality, but could I relate to these as gardens? Are they gardens or stylised landscapes? Whatever you may think, it’s got people talking.
Whenever I go to a flower show, whether it’s an RHS spectacle or a village event, I want to be inspired. I want to take away these heady visions and implement them into my own north-facing garden. While I appreciate the conceptual feats I see at the RHS and am often amazed at what they achieve, I’m a gardener with more simple tastes: nothing excites me more than a bit of colour! Whether it’s the subtle shades of green foliage, the spring pastels of a bearded iris, or the summer passion of a sassy rudbeckia, a splash of bright colour can affect me. It’s something I can respond to, regardless of whether the flower is fashionable or not.
Take the brash lupin for instance, it has been in and out of fashion more times than Cliff Richard but I, for one, will always love a colourful lupin, and funnily enough, at this year’s Chelsea, it was everyone’s best friend.
Charlie Bloom, garden designer and RHS garden design winner, took to Twitter this week to celebrate ”real gardens and real gardeners”. To redress the balance of Chelsea, she asked to see photos of real back gardens. It was a point that struck home for a lot of people, “Not Anti-Chelsea…. Just pro real gardens & gardeners!!!! They deserve credit too” Charlie tweeted, and I couldn’t agree more myself.
In my garden right now, nature is just starting to come to the end of its spring song. The pastels are starting to fade. But while the garden takes a moment to breathe in, I can enjoy the sharp contrasts of both the Welsh & Californian Poppies, the blousy roses and the sultry Aquilegia. Then in a moment of stillness, the regal Foxgloves will sound their trumpets, the garden will breathe out, and we will be rewarded with the hot colours of summer: Heleniums, Cosmos and Crocosmias, to name but a few.
While I’m always looking to be inspired, right now, I don’t have venture too far. Our very own garden, as featured in these pictures, wins Best in Show for me. Maybe, as an ambassador for colour, I’ll take the design to an RHS flower show next year and see if it stands out, or fades away.