7 June 2011

Five Chelsea gardens

Having dipped my toe into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show water last year it was an easy decision to go again this year. I even took a day's holiday to do so.

This year I went on the Thursday rather than the Saturday, managed to get there a little earlier (about quarter to nine) and the weather was kinder with the heavy rain holding off until I was in the marquee.

I was there for something like seven hours and still did not manage to see everything.

With such an embarrassment of riches it has been difficult to select which highlights to write about. So I've cheated a little. This post is just about the show gardens and I'll write about the displays in the marquee separately.

It's easy to see why I chose this one, it's the colours. Oranges were popular this year and so too were fox gloves. This looks like a fairly traditional cottage garden set against a rather nontraditional coloured cottage. The combination just works.

Structure defines this garden, though I like the planting too. Grey slate featured in a few of the modern gardens but nowhere was it more effective than here where it is bent to look like a curling stone with the handles becoming garden seats.

The Irish Sky Garden by TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin gained attention for the large purple metal cage that was lifted by a crane but I felt that the outrageous centrepiece detracted from the rest of the garden where a metal path weaved through dense grass with pools of water.

This garden combined old and new features wonderfully. The stone walls and wild flowers speak of tradition and you can imagine shepherds swapping yarns at the end of the day. The contrast comes from the circular pools and bright blue Summer House.

Nothing says modern garden quite like turquoise artificial grass, and this garden had lots of it. There were lots of flowers too which lessened the shock. They even managed to compliment each other somehow.

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