RHS Back to Nature Garden
By Jo McGarry
So what did you think of the RHS Chelsea gardens this year?
Have you been following the TV coverage?
Maybe some of you were lucky enough to head over to the UK capital for the show, if you do ever get the chance it is a marvellous place to visit, like going into another world and I would thoroughly recommend it.
This year's gardens had very much a theme of going back to nature, of conservation and looking into the future, what that does mean is that there isn’t a huge amount that you can take away for your own gardens.
Andy Sturgeon’s M&G Garden was inspired by nature’s power to regenerate, this woodland landscape, interspersed with stone platforms and huge burnt timber sculptures.
Planting is of a very natural woodland type which really is beautiful and you can take guidance from that if you have a shady garden and as usual his garden is executed with perfection by Crocus and it was given both a gold medal and best in show, Did it deserve it ?
Yes in terms of its execution but did I really enjoy the garden? Probably not enough for a best in show if I’m honest.
Now Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley Garden was much more my thing, another Gold medal
winner, Chris had bucked the trend and created a beautiful garden, a formal, linear terrace at the
front of the garden is punctuated by large topiary domes; the straight lines of the pathway lead you
over the rill and through the plant rich herbaceous borders towards two contemporary relaxation
pods. We all need relaxation in a garden its the essence of the space for me, is it somewhere you
can go to after a busy week, somewhere to escape to, somewhere you can entertain in or just sit
well Chris’s garden ticked all these boxes for me and his planting was superb.
Joe Perkins’ Facebook Garden, Beyond the Screen was another natural garden, a coastal one this
time with lots of maritime planting, it didn’t really inspire me and it wasn’t anything original - Sorry
One Garden that inspired me just in its name was the Silent Pool Gin Garden by David Neale but
unfortunately the reality f the garden was disappointing although when I read the brief of the
garden ‘the greening of inner city spaces, combined with a passion to create a space that absorbs
people’s woes through the senses of scent and sound’ it delivered on, it just wasn’t really for me.
Now one of the gardens that you have probably heard the most about is the RHS Back to Nature
Garden designed by Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge along with Andree Davies and Adam White
and it is a lovely garden, its a great space and is inspired by childhood memories, its a retreat and
the kind of place we would all love to have for our children when they’re growing up. The tree
house is the centrepiece of the garden and is constructed from a beautiful tree with a high platform
clad in stag horn oak. A swing seat hangs from the branches. The waterfall and stream offer places
to paddle, relax and build dams, while a hollow log presents a challenge of learning to balance as
well as to climb.
The planting has a cool calm colour palette of green and blue make this garden a relaxing and
calming space, while the planting includes edible produce, plants for wildlife and nectar to attract
pollinators. A playful pathway bordered with beautiful foliage textures weaves through the garden,
around the rocks and stepping stones. It is delightful and it was lovely to see the 3 young royals
playing in the garden and paddling in the stream.
So all in all, nothing that truly inspired me, some beautifully put together gardens, lots of amazing
planting and always a gorgeous show. Now on to our own Bloom in the Park, next week as Bloom
won’t have started when I’m intending to give you some of the plant lists for the Chelsea Gardens,
how you can use some of those plants in your own gardens and also some sneak previews of
Bloom - I have been lucky enough to have a look at the work in progress and I can assure you that
even at this stage I’m feeling more inspired by our own Irish offering and will be updating
throughout the latter part of next week on the show gardens and my take on those on ky own
website with updates on KildareNow too.
See you at Bloom!