My Chelsea Highlights 2013
I was lucky enough to visit this year’s centenary show and the same excited feeling came over me, as it does most years as I entered through the gates and made my way to the first avenue of show gardens.
On looking around my favourite garden has to be the ‘Trail Finders Australian Garden’ with its flowing waterfall and futuristic tree house-cum-art studio. The planting of unusual Australian native plants were of excellent quality and it is no wonder this won both a gold medal and ‘Best Show Garden’.
Another that caught my eye was the Homebase ‘Sowing the seeds of Change’ garden designed as a modern small family garden with a space to enjoy an everyday connection with their food and nature. Planting combinations of flowers and vegetables surrounding a seating and outdoor cooking area, another worthy gold medal winner.
The ‘East Village Garden’ had some magnificent arum lilies, enhanced by a tranquil water feature along with some delightful perennial plantings and another worthy gold medal winner.
Chris Beardshaw designed the Arthritis Research UK Garden and won a gold medal. The garden is supposed to reflect the personal journey and emotions of someone with arthritis, from a lack of understanding and confusion following diagnosis to a point where they are informed about the disease and are able to manage their pain. The planting schemes were wonderful and I lost count of how many people were taking pictures including me of the wonderful echium pininana towering above the other combinations leading you up the path through the garden.
Moving into the Great Pavillion where the plant nurseries show off what they specialise in I am always blown away by the colour and the perfume as I wander through the exhibits.
Old favourites of mine Blackmore & Langdon showed off delphiniums and begonias in a spectacular display just as they did when they exhibited in the first show in 1913.
West Country Lupins’ brightly coloured exhibit could not fail to catch your attention winning them another gold medal.
For something different the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden display had plenty of unusual plants on display, including some spectacular bird of paradise and some of the best protea I have ever seen.
That woodland or shady spot in the garden is always a difficult area to know what to plant, luckily Harveys Nursery had some good planting ideas including erythronium and hostas, with one setting off the other within the display.
There were spectacular vegetable displays by Robinsons and vegetables featured amongst the flowers in Barnsdale garden and in the Miracle Grow gardens sponsored by The Sun. This exhibit was grown mainly by school children and demonstrated how gardens have changed from 1913 to the present day. This exhibit was creating a lot of interest especially how lawn mowers have changed from a hand push mower in 1913 to the first electric Flymo in the 70s that was blue rather than the normal orange colour, like the automatic machine in the 2013 garden.
Finally the 2013 ‘Chelsea Plant of the year’ competition was won this year by mahonia eurybrachteata subsp. ganpinensis ‘Soft Caress’ which certainly didn’t look like any normal mahonia. Following last year’s success with digitalis ‘Illumination Pink’, Thompson & Morgan came third this year with nasturtium ‘Fruit Salad’, a truly unusual colour and habit for an easy to grow annual.
Well, all that’s left is for me to congratulate the RHS on reaching their centenary show and I can’t wait to see what next year’s 101 year show brings.
Happy Gardening !