Take Chelsea home
Steal the Chelsea designers' ideas for your own garden – here are a few of the best from the last show
We've picked out eight of our favourite design features from the show, which, with a little imagination, you can recreate in your own garden.
Give your garden a year-round backbone of structure by using large rocks. The bold, irregular lines were used to great effect in The M&G Garden by Cleve West, but stones were also used to sit within the planting as shown here, in The Hartley Botanic Garden designed by Catherine MacDonald. The smooth, rounded stone was placed within a woodland border, anchoring the frothy planting of red campion and cow parsley.
The sound of moving water adds a whole new dimension to a garden, and here in The Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden designed by Nick Bailey, a constant whirling spiral of water was contained in the copper bowl. The corrugated design cleverly reflected the spiralling pattern seen on a pineapple or pinecone. Water also ran through the calming, curved rill on The Chelsea Barracks Garden and a faint, imperceptible trickle runs over the rocky terrain in the L’Occitane Garden – two safer options if you have small children.
Graceful multi-stemmed trees
If you are trying to add height to your garden without adding too much bulk, look at how Osmanthus armatus, a large evergreen shrub, has been carefully pruned to reveal the woody stems. This brought in extra space and light for a soft woodland style of planting below in Vestra Wealth’s Garden of Mindful Living designed by Paul Martin.
If you love autumnal colours, look for bronze-coloured garden features, like these bronze-effect steel fins used in The Chelsea Barracks Garden by Jo Thompson. The basalt boundary was dissected by the fins, their stark boldness softened in two ways; either by the frothy green heads of angelica in the beds below, or by the use of yew as an infill between the vanes. Angular upright bronze fins were also used on The Telegraph Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon to dissect the planting to dramatic effect.
For a formal feel, box and yew can be clipped into neat rectangular shapes, as seen here in God’s Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire designed by Matthew Wilson, where they served as a clever link between the sharp lines of the limestone bench seat and the soft, frothy planting of orange geum rising through lacy white Orlaya grandiflora. Similarly, clipped lines of box and hornbeam gave formal structure in the The Husqvarna Garden.
Introducing figures into your garden can create some strong effects. For instance, a series of wooden sculptures on the Meningitis Now Futures Garden designed by John Everiss, powerfully conveyed some of the difficulties of overcoming the effects of meningitis. This figure made from laminated cedar, bursting through the stone wall, portrayed the struggles sufferers may experience to recover and continue their lives. Sculptural life-forms were also seen on The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
If you want to cut down on watering, or have a particularly dry area of the garden, take a look at these plants from drier zones, such as Jordan, Provence or California, and displayed growing through rocky soils. In The Telegraph Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon, the planting mix was rich and varied, although colours are muted. This rocky limestone bed was punctuated with colour from orange spikes of Digitalis canariensis behind yellow and orange horned poppy, Glaucium flavum, alongside succulents and bulbs.
You can grow plants wherever you live if you plant in containers. The RHS Greening Grey Britain for Health, Happiness and Horticulture garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell showed that a roof garden or balcony can be home to fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. This varied collection of pots were placed on top of a shipping container converted to an office, showing that any space is a contender for cultivation, and any style of container can house a plant as long as there is ample space for the roots.
Trends selected by Julie Hollobone, Special Projects Manager of the RHS members' magazine, The Garden