Thursday, 26 May 2011

Chelsea - brilliant!

That's a deeply thought out, intellectual and insightful post title, I hear you cry. Yes, I admit it, my critical faculties have been slightly blown asunder by my first visit to Chelsea Flower Show today. Which also coincided with the first torrential downpour accompanied by giant hailstones of the summer.

BBC coverage guaranteed to have started with 'Heavy showers today at Chelsea didn't put off the thousands of people visiting...'

I was wowed by the show gardens, intrigued by some of the artisans' gardens, came away with some ideas for plants that I would never have thought of using, and taken aback by the sheer plantsmanship that it must take to produce so many perfect blooms so precisely for one week in a year. In a year like this one particularly, how on earth do you get to see narcissi and dahlias flowering in the same tent?

One of my favourite gardens, and one which I hardly got any photos of was the 'literary garden'. I chatted to Bonnie Davies who designed the planting. Her use of the flowering cornus kousa 'China girl' really set the garden off, and the restful tones of blue and cream using campanulas with Digitalis 'Camelot cream' seemingly fading into the wood behind the garden made an incredibly restful setting.

I didn't expect to like 'Emptying one's mind' - after all, an outside loo is an outside loo, but it was really the fact that it seemed to be a completely settled garden, again, incredibly restful, that did it for me. The mossy logs reminded me of Cornish woodlands and the intertwined groundcover planting gave it a calming, eternal look.

In the show and urban gardens sage seemed to be ubiquitous:

which is fine with me as I think they blend well with pretty much everything.

The 'winds of change' garden was full of interesting plant combinations. As someone who normally shuns all yellow from my garden I was surprised to find myself drawn to a combination of trollius x cultorum 'Alabaster' and silene fimbriata. A quick web search tells me that this silene is white - but it looked pretty yellow to me in the garden.
By the way, the cooling fans in this garden, which incidentally won 'best urban garden' are much smaller than they look on this photo or on the TV - the magic of modern media, hey kids!

Overall my favourite planting combination was in the RNIB garden.

More salvias as you can see but also alliums, a peony I hadnt seen before (white wings?) and some foxtail lilies which I am determined to get into my garden next year, despite their rather large cost and single flowerspike per plant. I did have a chat with the guy at the Devine nurseries stand in the Grand Pavilion, a rather dour yorkshireman, and understand that you can fit 5 or so into a square metre , laying the roots on the ground rather than burying them, so definitely going to give it a go.

One of the many vast statues I wasn't allowed to buy for my garden

And finally - I loved the retro feel of the National Chrysanthemum Society stand.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hang on a sec - where did Spring just go?

What a fair weather gardener this blog makes me look. I honestly have been doing some gardening but just havent had time to write about it so - just in case any of you feel that you've missed out on the last few months, here goes a quick summary, month by month


Primroses welcoming in the New Year




Well, you're all caught up now. More soon!