Inspirational Chelsea

Peaches and CreamLast week I spent a wonderful day at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I came back full of ideas and inspiration for my own garden. I found myself stopping to just take in the beauty of a flower or display, oblivious to the crowds around me. Interestingly enough I completely failed to see the enormous Trailfinders Australian Show Garden which won Best in Show! However I didn’t go to Chelsea to be wowed by clever, conceptual designs. I wanted to find  beautiful plants and ideas that I could use in my cottage style garden. Going to Chelsea is like going to an array of different art galleries in one place. You can choose to look at modern abstract conceptual gardens or you can choose to be inspired by the more traditional, simple artisan gardens. If you need to provide a leaflet for me to understand the concepts behind a garden design, the garden is not something I want to re-create.  I want to create a garden which is peaceful, pretty, relaxing and simply beautiful to look at. With this aim in mind I spent a long time in the Great Pavillion admiring the flowers of the various nurseries and making a Wish List for my Future Dream Garden.

My Chelsea Inspired Dream Garden 

Cottage Style Planting 

I was particularly taken with the Horticolous show garden `The Secret Garden of Past and Present’.The garden takes you back to horticulture of 100 years ago, when the RHS Chelsea Flower Show first began, with plants and materials that make you feel like you have stepped back in time. In contrast as you take a look round the corner you step forward into the present day with new technology for growing plants and modern plants and materials. I like romantic, vintage, cottage style gardens. I like the idea of planting traditional heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables. They may not be as reliable or as resistant to disease but the flavour is unsurpassed. I may take on board the cottage style of mixing flowers among my vegetables. I am already trying to create an unruly herb garden with direct planting and the use of decorative pots. It’s lovely when you brush against herbs along the garden path and smell a wonderful aroma.

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present'  at Chelsea Flower Show including Delphiniums Faust, Amadeus, Butterball, Pandora and Sandpiper.

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present’ at Chelsea Flower Show including Delphiniums Faust, Amadeus, Butterball, Pandora and Sandpiper.

`Secret Garden of Past and Present’ by Horticolous Landscape & Garden Design

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present' at Chelsea Flower Show included Lupins Cashmere Cream and Persian Slipper,  Allium Mont Blanc aswell as Nectaroscordum siculum and Salvia caradonna

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present’ at Chelsea Flower Show included Lupins Cashmere Cream and Persian Slipper, Allium Mont Blanc aswell as Nectaroscordum siculum and Salvia caradonna

Cottage Charm

 

 

 

Herb Garden

I liked the way these flowers were growing amongst the vegetables at Chelsea Flower Show.

I liked the way these flowers were growing amongst the vegetables at Chelsea Flower Show.

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present' at Chelsea Flower Show included Lupins Cashmere Cream and Persian Slipper,  Alliums Christophii and Mont Blanc aswell as Peonies Buckeye Belle and Red Charm.

The `Secret Garden of Past and Present’ at Chelsea Flower Show included Lupins Cashmere Cream and Persian Slipper, Alliums Christophii and Mont Blanc aswell as Peonies Buckeye Belle and Red Charm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosy Corners

Our current garden is very open with a lawn, herbaceous borders and separate raised vegetable beds. I have created something very pretty, however there aren’t any `secret’ cosy, comfortable corners where you can relax with a book or a glass of wine. It is too open- plan. My dream garden would be made up of distinct areas broken up with climbers and hedges hiding secret cosy corners. Ideally I would like an artists retreat surrounded by roses! I was very taken with the artisan retreats at Chelsea. One day I will have a working artist’s studio, `a place to work and dream’ like Rob Ryan and Cath Kidston.

Show garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Show garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Pretty cosy corner displayed by Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants at Chelsea Flower Show

Pretty cosy corner displayed by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants at Chelsea Flower Show

Potting Shed

I love having a greenhouse, however we really do need some kind of roller-blind and ventilation system. I recently frazzled my seedlings on an unexpected hot day. I long for a traditional potting shed and cold frame in my Dream Garden. I admired the Gabriel Ash upright cold frame. At the moment each morning before work I take my seedlings out of the greenhouse to prevent frazzling in the heat and put them back at night. However this takes a long time. I can see that a cold frame which you just open up would save a lot of effort!

 Potting ShedGabriel Ash Upright ColdframePotting Shed

Fencing

At the moment we have large high panel fencing. It is very functional, but it is not pretty! In my dream garden I would have traditional white picket fencing and hedges with plenty of berries for the birds.

Beautiful pink David Austin Rose. Unlike most ramblers that have single or semi-double flowers, ‘The Albrighton Rambler’ has small, cup-shaped, perfectly formed flowers of softest pink that pale to blush. The petals are beautifully arranged with a little button eye; the overall appearance being one of exceptional prettiness and charm.

Pretty Picket Fence

 

Plants

I came home with a long wish-list of plants for my Dream Garden. Unfortunately I have planted so much in our current garden there isn’t room for much more! The flowers I lusted after most were the big blowsy peonies and old fahioned roses.

Peonies  I have bought peonies in the past from my local supermarket which so far have failed to bloom. I now know that I would be much better off buying good quality container grown plants  from a reputable nursery than dried out dusty cheap supermarket varieties. I had a lovely chat with the guys on the Binny Plants Stand who are specialist peony growers. `We are now planting in bigger pots which achieves better and more established plants. This means happy plants making happy customers, which makes us very happy too.’ I definately have my eye on `Coral Charm’. This variety has coral, peach semi-double flowers and is said to be the best coral peony.

Coral Charm and Etched Salmon peonies.

Coral Charm and Etched Salmon peonies.

White anemone type peony

White anemone type peony -Binny Plant Stand

Roses Most of you who follow my Blog will by now know I adore roses. At the last count I had 16 different varieties and I know them all by name!  I must confess to buying 2 more at the weekend inspired by Chelsea.  I absolutely love David Austin Roses. After fifty years of intensive breeding, David Austin’s English Roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat flowering of modern roses. They are very easy to grow, healthy and reliable.

David Austin Roses at Chelsea Flower Show

David Austin Roses at Chelsea Flower Show

 

Everything is coming up roses!

‘The Albrighton Rambler’ has small, cup-shaped, perfectly formed flowers of softest pink that pale to blush. The petals are beautifully arranged with a little button eye; the overall appearance being one of exceptional prettiness and charm. The blooms are held in large sprays and hang gracefully on the branch.

‘The Albrighton Rambler’ has small, cup-shaped, perfectly formed flowers of softest pink that pale to blush. The petals are beautifully arranged with a little button eye; the overall appearance being one of exceptional prettiness and charm. The blooms are held in large sprays and hang gracefully on the branch.

 

‘Boscobel’ bears beautifully formed flowers of rich salmon colouring. They commence as red buds which open at first to pretty cups, gradually developing into perfectly formed blooms of classic rosette formation. The numerous small petals are of varying shades, mingling to provide a most pleasing effect. The delightful, medium-strong myrrh fragrance has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond.

‘Boscobel’ bears beautifully formed flowers of rich salmon colouring. They commence as red buds which open at first to pretty cups, gradually developing into perfectly formed blooms of classic rosette formation. The numerous small petals are of varying shades, mingling to provide a most pleasing effect. The delightful, medium-strong myrrh fragrance has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond.

 

Pretty Pair

 

 

 

 

Vintage Charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from the wonderful display of rose bushes there was a beautiful table set up for afternoon tea with David Austin English Rose Bone China and lovely cut roses. The whole display was absolutely delightful.

Teatime

Pretty cup cake displayed on David Austin English Rose bone china.

Pretty cup cake displayed on David Austin English Rose bone china.

Peaches and CreamTea-time

 

Although the roses and peonies stood out for me there were quite a few other hidden gems.

Alliums Dutch Grower W.S.Warmenhoven had a wonderful display off alliums. I have a few in my garden. I realised that they look better in eye catching sweeps or rows with underplanting.  Mine tend to be dotted around the garden. In my Dream Garden I will have them in eye catching groups.

Dutch Alliums grown by W.S.Warmenhoven exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show

Dutch Alliums grown by W.S.Warmenhoven exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show

 

Multibulbosum

 

 

 

 

 

My absolute favourite bloom on the Warmenhoven stand was Nectaroscordum siculum. These plants have dozens of cream bells marked with green and burgundy, pendulously arranged in a loose head. The seed heads look like muli-turreted fairy castles.

Dainty bells pendulously arranged in a loose head. On setting seed they produce seed heads that look like fairy castles!

Nectaroscordum Siculum

 

Dahlias have enjoyed a great resurgence in recent years moving on from memories of  plants for the working classes on allotment plots. They are now being used as feature plants and are a good source of late summer and autumn colour in any garden. I have no objection to growing dahlias among my vegetables. I think they are big, bold and cheery and make a stark contrast to stark decking and modernist planting schemes. The National Dahlia Collection from Penzance had a wonderful cheery display.Lets hope my dahlias bloom as brash and bold as these later in the year!

Semi-Cactus Dahlia displayed by the National Dahlia Collection, Chelsea Flower Show

Semi-Cactus Dahlia displayed by the National Dahlia Collection, Chelsea Flower Show

 

 

Decorative Dahlia `Edge of Gold' displayed by the National Dahlia Collection at Chelsea Flower Show

Decorative Dahlia `Edge of Gold’ displayed by the National Dahlia Collection at Chelsea Flower Show

Bright `n' cheery Mix

 

Clematis

My dream garden would have clematis growing up an apple tree and over arches intermingled with rambling roses and honeysuckle. Unfortunately I forgot to jot down the name of these varieties at Chelsea this year so do post a comment if you know!

Chelsea Clematis

Beautiful pom-pom clematis flowers at Chelsea Flower Show

Beautiful pom-pom clematis flowers at Chelsea Flower Show

 

 

 

 

 

I liked the flamboyant pom-pom frilly pink ones contrasted with the other very delicate pink variety.

Clematis Walk

 

 

Pretty Quirkiness 

The last element of my dream garden would include quirky details. I was inspired by Kate Gould’s Show Garden `The Wasteland’. In this garden she regenerated an abandoned water pumping works incorporating industrial waste such as a bath tub and a shopping trolley into the design. I very much agreed with the design concept. The garden does `offer a sense of privacy; there  are spaces to sit and relax under the canopy of trees, enveloped by small shrubs and pretty perennials, with the sound of water gently burbling in the background’. This garden has a quirky chair made out of a bath tub and screens made out of shopping trollies, but manages to retain a sense of calm.

Reclaimed Bath tub

The Wasteland

I’m not sure I want an old bath in my Dream Garden, but I do want to create something individual and slightly quirky, whilst retaining the prettiness of a cottage garden.

Blooming Lovely!

Unusual plant container creating a pretty display at Chelsea Flower Show

Pic-nic TimeLilac PrettinessPastel Bicycle

So there we have it my Dream Garden inspired by Chelsea Flower Show. Do let me know what your dream garden would be like!