I love the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as there are always so many ideas to inspire and admire. Some years I find my attention is mostly caught by the flowers, but this year the gardens and sculptures were my highlights.
Some particular favourites were the space-saving Garage Garden by incredible Japanese designer Kazuyuki Ishihara and the perfect symmetry in the Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden. I loved the quirks of Diarmuid Gavin’s Harrods’ British Eccentrics Garden set around a tall thin house – twirling trees, rotating flowerbeds and even a Wallace & Gromit style sundial! In contrast I appreciated the peaceful space afforded by the cool, calm, grey pool of the Cloudy Bay Garden and the glorious pink and purple planting of the LG Smart Garden. Two of the smaller Fresh Gardens also caught my eye – the AkzoNobel Honeysuckle Blue(s) Garden showing the use of plants for dyes to create beautifully coloured fabrics and the intriguing Antithesis of Sarcophagi – a garden within a giant granite cube that can only be glimpsed through small peep holes.
There were sculptures that caught my eye too from Ukranian sculptor Victoria Chichinadze’s arching bronze figure to James Doran-Webb’s intricate driftwood animals, Brendan Hesmondhaigh’s fox sculptures to Woody Fox’s willow work badger. There was a theme of love running throughout the show this year with a lovebird bench, Nigel Peterken’s driftwood sign and a gorgeous grass table-setting complete with hanging cake stand, garden fork & trowel! The whole show was set against the striking backdrop of the Royal Hospital with its garden full of 26,000 handmade poppies.