Anniversaries abound at the show

Landmark anniversaries provided inspiration for designers and exhibitors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


This year the RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlighted the anniversaries of certain key events in history, from the 20th century to the medieval ages. The plants and designs told the story of landmark historical moments and aimed to capture a sense of history.

Chorley Council: The Evaders Garden

The Evaders GardenGarden designer John Everiss teamed up with Chorley Council to create Chorley Council: The Evaders Garden an Artisan Garden commemorating the end of the Second World War 70 years ago. Stan Everiss, the designer’s father, was an RAF evader after being shot down in 1943. The garden depicted Stan’s incredible story.

The garden showed a sculpture of a young flyer, seconds after parachuting into France, hiding in the ruins of a war-damaged church. A wall alongside beared a poem listing the names of resistance fighters, many of whom lost their lives. A mass planting of perennials and annuals surrounded the sculpture as nature reclaimed the abandoned church. After the show, the garden was permanently located in Astley Park, Chorley, as a war memorial.

Runnymede Surrey Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Garden

Runnymede Magna Carta GardenCelebrating the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary, A Touch of France Garden Design, RHS Gold medal winners, returned to the show this year. In 1215, the Magna Carta was sealed under oath by King John at Runnymede and stands as the first legal document imposed upon an English sovereign by a group of his subjects, paving the way for the advancement of freedom and democracy.

The formal layout of the garden was evocative of the medieval period with the garden’s symmetry symbolising the new law and order of the time.

The Living Legacy Garden

The Living Legacy GardenWellington College’s The Living Legacy Garden, designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam, marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, a victory that changed the face of Europe. The garden also celebrated the on-going legacy of Wellington College, which was created as a national memorial to the Duke of Wellington, having defeated Napoleon.

After the show, the garden was transported and replanted at the college. Wilson McWilliam Studio returns to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after its Show Garden was awarded an RHS Silver-Gilt medal in 2014.

Birmingham City Council

Also marking a special occasion were Great Pavilion exhibitors, Birmingham City Council. Celebrating 300 years of the city’s cathedral, the exhibit reflected the work of the historic building and how Birmingham grew around it.

Situated in the ‘Best of British’ zone of the Great Pavilion, a floral representation of the cathedral’s tower sat among bells of cascading flowers. Three water features sent jets of water from the organ pipes. A spectrum of colours aimed to raise the profile of traditional bedding, with a focus on reds and pinks to reflect the painted windows of the iconic building.

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