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Inspiration from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

I offered my help to the Society of Garden Designers once again this year, as a member, to help man the stand and offer  advice and promote the services of the society at the Chelsea Flower Show to all that came by, including initial design consultations, which is always fun and challenging, without seeing the sight/context.

A lovely warm day, the sun finally came out, it was good to catch up with other fellow designers as well as the public and during my day I was allowed some free time to go and have a look around and explore the best!

Always looking for new combinations of materials, textures, contrasts, planting combinations, new outdoor furniture, I took along my camera (of course!) and here are a few images of my day:

SGD Stand designed by Amanda Patton MSGD

Best in show and Gold medal winning Cleve West Garden sponsored by Brewin Dolphin.

Cleve is my hero once again, such sophistication, graceful planting and understated design elegance, Cleve's garden's never shout they sing......... I felt a little Great Dixter and Christopher Lloyd influence here, with the taxus forms and meadow style planting with the star plant Papaver planted intermittently to stand bold and bright against the subtle colours. Gets my vote! The inclusion of walls at seat height to encourage rest and take in the views, just wonderful. The repeat of the limestone throughout the garden contrasts wonderfully with the planting.

The stone rills and chutes create movement and magic within the space.

I particularly liked Joe Swift's creation with the warm colours of the western red cedar which had been coated with an oil to enrich further. The bold structures worked well within the planted borders. The planting was great and my favourite Pittosporum tobira 'Nanum' featured as anchors and structure amongst the perennial fizz. I love this Pittosporum but it has not done so well in our winters of 2010 and 2011, bordering on tender with the -18 degrees cold frosts, I had some that we had planted defoliate, I have had to use something else when needing a glossy anchor in a border but miss them dearly!!! So a joy to see instead of the municiple box balls.

The garden also featured one of my lecturers from Greenwich university of 2006, Andrew Wilson, judge at Chelsea Flower Show and Robert Hillier who judged my garden at Hampton Court 2010. Joe's getting his feedback and quite rightly looks very pleased!!!

Another favourite of mine and perfect flowerng time for Chelsea - Libertia grandiflora.

I was particularly interested in the garden seating and visited Thomas Bramwell's stand and loved the innovative design of the star chair and his very bold Bison chair all of which featured in Patricia Fox's rooftop garden.

More outdoor seating was provided with a cantilevered table and snug sofa in the Australian Trailfinder Garden, lots of tropical planting which has been popular with quite a few of my clients this year.

But what really caught my eye was in the fresh category with the brightest orange, cheery colour of dimple seats matched with an orange flowering Geum, this garden looked great from this angle....

Stipa tenuissima adds movement

Have we now overdone the greenwalls and variations on their application, would Patrick Blanc approve of this application? I'm not keen on Heuchera's either.

I loved RBC Blue Water Garden's planting combinations including the Prunus serrula with Anthriscus 'Ravens Wing', a plant I have never used before.

designed by Dr Nigel Dunnett and built beautifully by Mark Gregory at Landform

That's what I love about Chelsea, we are always learning, always striving to find new plants and combinations, new materials and different applications. Keeps it fresh, soaking it all up like a sponge.

One of the furniture stands caught my eye with fish sculptures swimming through the sea of Stipa tenuissima, it made me smile....

Peonies and Roses got a good look in Main avenue

Andy Sturgeons M & G Garden

and one of my favourite fillers Persicaria bistorta 'Superba'

The World Vision Garden with rippling pool had a wonderful reflective quality.

My thoughts and summary of a truly vibrant Chelsea 2012.


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