Chelsea Flower Show 2010: F&F’s favourites

What were your favourite plots at Chelsea this year? I’ve already touched on two gardens which I adored for very different reasons, but there were a number of others which I have been mulling over all week. So here are five more gardens that I loved:

1. L’Occitane
(pictured above and below)

This was such a cheerfully-coloured plot, and, as you would expect, incredibly scented as well. I loved James Towillis’ bright combinations of poppies and lavender, planted in bright striped terraces under an ancient olive tree.

2. The Bradstone Biodiversity Garden
(pictured above and below)

My love of this garden totally betrays my two great garden passions – romantic cottage gardens (I’m sorry – I’m really as edgy as a spongeball), and wildlife gardening. The planting is big and blousy and mostly seasonal, but was also planned to attract as many insects into the plot as possible. Few of us have a garden grand enough to accommodate the portico that Paul Hervey-Brookes designed, but I can imagine this working beautifully as a front garden. Who needs parking spaces when you’ve got a pathway to your front door surrounded by happy buzzing bees?

3.  The Children’s Society Garden
(pictured above and below)

Was it designer Mark Gregory’s fabulous green roof, or the natural swimming poor, or the way this plot looked so stylish yet so real? I can imagine hiding for hours in that beautiful gazebo, and when a garden is so good-looking that you actually want to run into it and make it your own, it’s a sure winner.

Gregory has made great use of foliage as a backbone to this garden, with Viburnums, Rheums, Euonymus and Acers all playing their part. As part of his brief for the Children’s Society, he aimed the design at teenagers’ needs for family, friends and play.

4. The M&G Garden
(pictured above and below, twice)

This was a clever, clever garden. Roger Platts had made a lovely big focal point in the pool, surrounded by soft, silvery lavenders, but the route to it was obscured and exciting. Imagine walking along a winding path of roses and foxgloves to find this!

5. The Naturally Fashionable Garden
(pictured above and below)

Last year at Chelsea I found myself rather taken by the Future Nature garden and its fabulous bug hotel. I never really found a way to incorporate this into my garden without it looking rather odd, though, so when I came across this year’s Naturally Fashionable garden by Nick Dexter, I nearly jumped for joy. It’s just as well I didn’t, as the very stately Michael Heseltine was padding past at the time, but still, this garden is terribly clever.

The stark logpiles are actually inspired by strands of fabric under a microscope, but they would also provide a marvellous habitat for beneficial beasties in the garden. Dexter designed the planting in bold, contrasting stripes, just like a garment.

But what were your favourite gardens at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show? It was indeed a vintage year, and I fell in love with so many planting schemes, so many materials and so many clever little details. How about you?

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2 Responses

  1. Laetitia

    I loved the provencale dream that was L’Occitane – utterly lovely. And I adored tiny little conifer garden which I though was exquisite….
    Great photos…lovely reminder

  2. Brenda Coil

    I had such a great time during my visit to Chelsea this year, there was such a buzz of excitement in the air which was missing last year.
    Two of my favourites feature in your post, the L’Occitane Garden by James Towillis and the Bradstone Biodiverse garden by Paul Hervey-Brookes, both absolutely stunning. It is designers and gardens like these that bring me back to Chelsea year after Year, lets hope we see much more from these two.


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