Chelsea Flower Show episode two - three trends

People always like to talk about the trends at Chelsea Flower Show, they tell you the in-colour is purple, that there are lots of poppies, that oh, you know, etc etc.   I shall present to you the three trends I noted in the show gardens.

Number 1 - arid
There was a lot (well, maybe not a lot, but quite a bit) of sandy, arid looking conditions around.
This is the Massachusetts Garden designed by Susannah Hunter and Catherine MacDonald.  It won a silver which was probably about right in my view.  It was well planted and I think it did what it set out to do but I have to say I could not get away from the painted backgrounds.
For me they did not work, I kept thinking of Andy Pandy.
Cleve West's garden, the M & G Garden, is based on Persian gardens so the aridness again was warranted. This garden won a gold medal and it was beautifully done......
the central foundation and rills were impressive,
and on Monday when it was really hot it felt very apt; and yet and yet something about it did not quite sing to me.  Cannot explain it, it just did not ring my bell.
Yes, arid was a definite trend.

Number 2 - lupins

Lupins were not everywhere, but where they were they made a real statement.  I love lupins.
Luciano Giubbilei used them to great effect,
The Massachusetts Garden used them also incredibly well,
as did Marilyn Abbot in the Topiarist Garden (probably the best Artisan Garden in my opinion by the way).  This garden won a silver-gilt medal, I have not seen why it did not get gold and I fully appreciate the medals are not just about a garden looking good or being well planted, yet it still seems a shame.

Number 3 - irises

Irises were everywhere, often red or muddy brown, but no one, no one used them as well as Hugo Bugg in the RBC Waterscape Garden.
It is a masterclass in iris planting and shows how en masse planting can give a real wow factor.  This garden did get a gold medal and it was definitely deserved.  It was noticeable that people just stood and stared at the river of irises, that's the sign of something a bit special.

Anyway, enough of trends, the next (and I think final) post on Chelsea Flower Show will look at a different aspect I think as there is more going on than just gardens.

Chelsea Flower Show Episode One

Chelsea Flower Show Episode Three


  1. Dear Papaver
    Thank you for sharing your visit. I have watched most of the coverage on TV, but it is lovely to get your view of the show. Perhaps I'll make it there in person one year!
    Best wishes

  2. The iris are beautiful, I think a drift of most plants is usually better than one plant of different varieties. It's been good getting a different perspective on the gardens when we have to rely on TV. I'm hoping your next post will be about the beautiful plants in the marquee!

  3. Thanks for a glimpse of the show this year! I like the yellow lupins with the white umbellifer... maybe Ammi major? Beautiful anyway!
    ~Julie, US

  4. How did I miss those irises?! Just the effect I was saying Chelsea doesn't do... Agree with all. Which is striking in itself?

  5. I loved the river of irises, though things like that always make me wonder what the garden looks like after they have gone. Which of course the Chelsea designers don't have to worry about. I have heard more than one person say that you needed to be able to walk around Cleve's garden for it all to make sense. That seems a shame to me, as most people don't get to do that, but his planting looked sublime - from what I can tell from people's photos and the tv coverage, anyway!

    Lupins just don't do it for me, even when planted as tastfully as Luciano Giubbilei did, too stiff. But then I seem to be going for more and more blowsy, frilly planting, which is a little worrying, very unlike me...


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