With nine show gardens, nine artisan gardens, five fresh gardens and over 100 floral displays, it’s set to be another bumper year at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show…
Designers, nurserymen and leading lights of the horticultural world prepare to descend on Chelsea again this month, with a positively blooming collection of exhibits that are sure to inspire even the most reluctant gardeners among us.
Having cemented its reputation as the best gardening event in the world, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – from 23–27 May 2017 – is set, once again, to be a feast of sights and scents. Here are some of this year’s highlights…
SPIRIT OF TRAVEL
From Japan to the Mediterranean, the crowdpleasing Artisan Gardens share a spirit of travel this year. Highlights include 2016’s winner of Best Fresh Garden, Gary Breeze, whose garden features the replica of an 800-year-old boat that was discovered in the Norfolk Broads. Ishihara Kazuyuki returns for his 12th year with Gosho No Niwa, inspired by the Kyoto emperors of Japan. Meanwhile, the work of inspirational Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí is the focus of designer Sarah Eberle’s Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration.
KEEPING IT FRESH
The Fresh Gardens offer designers the chance to think outside the box and build unconventional and thought-provoking spaces. This year’s gardens will include Jack Dunckley’s The Bermuda Triangle, which will resemble an active volcano surrounded by tropical planting. At 23, Jack is one of the youngest garden designers ever to exhibit at an RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Radlett-based Kate Gould’s City Living demonstrates how to create a usable green space in an urban apartment block, and Mind Trap by Ian Price is about his personal experience of depression.
GOING FOR GOLD
In the Show Garden category – which will feature a broad range of design styles, diverse themes and planting plans – James Basson will be going for his third consecutive RHS Gold medal with a re-creation of the stunning Maltese landscape. Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins are teaming up again with The Chengdu Silk Road Garden, which combines architecture and planting in a conceptual East-West landscape featuring a dramatic ‘Silk Road’ bridge. Lee Bestall is celebrating 500 Years of Covent Garden, while Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam aim to highlight endangered heathland for Wellington College. Chris Beardshaw is going for his 12th RHS Gold medal and is working with the National Youth Orchestra, which will compose a piece of music inspired by the garden.
GREENING GREY BRITAIN
Professor Nigel Dunnett, who created the wildflower meadow for the London Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2012, is the designer Set within an urban context of high-rise and apartment developments, Nigel will demonstrate and celebrate the multiple benefits of plants and gardens in even the smallest of areas, and provide a vision for the future development and use of private, communal and social spaces in the places where we live.
FEEL GOOD GARDENS
Designed to show how plants can enrich and indulge one of the five senses, these gardens will also celebrate Radio 2’s 50th anniversary and will be named after different presenters. The Chris Evans Taste Garden, the Jo Whiley Scent garden, the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, the Jeremy Vine Texture Garden and the Zoe Ball Listening Garden will have the backdrop of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and Chris Evans will be doing a live broadcast from the show on Monday 22 May.
Main image: RHS/Hannah McKay