The Chelsea Flower Show is wrapping up today and for the first time in
a long time ever I am not terribly excited to write about it. I’ve pondered if my feelings are due in part because I wasn’t actually there this week, but I think not….it is something more.
This year I feel let down. I am let down by design heroes like Ginny Blom, whose work I generally adore. Her garden for Prince Harry is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen. The myriad of patterns in subtle soft colors all look like a cheap model came to life. I honestly want to say something nice about it….but nothing is coming to mind, so I will move on.
Christopher Bradley Hole also failed my high hopes. He created a garden that to my eyes looks un- finished (I can’t help but see the frame of a new house being built among a complicated garden that technically might be interesting, but is nothing that inspires me). It does make me wonder if it might be one of those gardens where you ‘had to be there’ to really get it and appreciate it…. maybe pictures just don’t do justice? But when he didn’t win best in show (an award he has deservedly won in the past) he moaned…loudly and publicly. It was in poor form to say the least…even if he might have started a conversation about judging that is worth having.
Then there was the series of metaphorical missteps. I’m putting the Seeability garden in this group. It conceptually represents four different sight conditions – cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma – but somehow it isn’t really for blind people…what the what?
Also — there is this garden — whose description reads: “Disease and death pervade this garden, which is themed around the threat that diseases, pests and invasive species pose to British trees and plants. Features include a grove of dead trees in one corner, and a striking lonely ash sapling on its own island.” Again, I don’t see it.
Many of rest were nice but not remarkably different than gardens past. I’ll spare you my critique because I am tired of complaining. There are bright spots though. I really did love the best in show garden and am so happy for the Australian team who built it. There are some other nice ideas that I will share in time. But in the interim…I am curious if you have any opinions or feelings about this years show?
Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff. (All rights are reserved.) except where noted. Seeability garden photo and Fera Garden by martin pope from the telegraph.