My days here at the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show so full….yesterday I spent the morning in a garden identifying (as best I could) British weeds as part of a forest gardening/ permaculture design course….and then I spent the afternoon at Chelsea’s final build-up day.
Today is press day at the show and I took over 400 images as I wandered amongst the hustle and bustle of the show construction….and I am sorting and prepping them just as fast as I can….but here is a quick taste of what I think is fashionable in gardening.
Mixed Meadow-like Planting
This beautiful display uses a variety of grasses (like Carex ‘comans bronze’ and at least one Sedge – Acorus gramineus, I’m guessing). There is also Artemisia (the silver leaves), Geum (the orange flowers), Salvia (caradonna I think), Bronze Fennel, Allium (the purple balls), and perhaps a dark leaved penstemon (not 100% sure on that one – but think that is what the dark purple is).
You can try and slavishly recreate a beautiful planting like this, but I find it better to break it down into categories. For example – two different grasses, a silver plant, two contrasting colored blooms (with airy stems), another textural leaved plant and a dark leaved plant. Setting it out in this way, you can more easily customize it to something that you can grow in your own region and in your own garden.
Plants That Interact with Art
Pretty pewter fish swimming through grass is charming, no doubt. But how do you make this idea your own? Think about ways that your own garden art can sit with plants and landscape around it. Looks for ways to ad whimsy and charm, or maybe you can start to tell a story with the design.
Stylish Garden Gear
Personally, I find big floppy sun hats hats to be a nuisance when I am getting dirty in the garden. And bucket hats make me feel like a dope. Neither option has the je ne sais quoi of a jauntier hat. Well made panama hats are my personal choice.
Epic Fruits & Vegetables
Using produce as a beautiful garden feature, rather than as just a utilitarian means to fill your stomach is an idea I fully embrace. The strawberry display in the Chelsea Pavilion is always a feast for the senses. The grower (Ken Muir) always fully fills their booth with strawberries. They grow in arches, buckets, over head, and in just about every direction you can imagine. And the smell is heaven. This is a strawberry pot on steroids… and why not?
If you don’t like strawberries, consider other ways that you can use beautiful vegetables and fruiting plants as features and eye-catching elements. Plant them outside of the vegetable patch and celebrate their beauty.
Jekka McVicar is a tremendous resource for growing a wide variety of herbs and using them in delicious food. Her display at the show inspires me to think of herbs as showy options for a beautiful garden. From prehistoric looking cardoons and calendula (image above) to blue borage flowers, chives, dill, nigella and nasturtiums (below). The herb garden never looked so exciting!
images: rochelle greayer