What we loved at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Chris Beardshaw's Morgan Stanley garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

There was so much to love at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show from very experienced designers that returned to the show including Andy Sturgeon and Cleve West through to show garden newcomers like Sam Ovens or Jekka McVicar. As always we came away buzzing with plans and planting schemes and plenty of take-away ideas.

We’ve been a little bit obsessed with the idea of beech balls ever since Luciano Giubbilei used them in 2014’s Best in Show Laurent Perrier garden. This time Jo Thompson gave them a new spin in copper beech – a gorgeous deep purple contrast for her pretty rose and perennial planting. It makes a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous box balls too.

Copper beech domes in Jo Thompson’s garden

Rusty browns and burnt oranges featured in lots of gardens this year from Nick Bailey’s coppery landscaping on The Winton Beauty of Mathematics garden to Juliet Sargeant’s rich rusty planting.

A coppery balustrade snakes through Nick Bailey’s brilliant garden.

Sam Ovens’ first garden was a delight and an elegant lesson in how subtle accents of colour amidst magical grasses and greenery can be very effective – and very soothing.

Deschampsia Cespitosa and Agapanthus in Sam Ovens’ garden

The Senri Sentei Garage Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara, which comes complete with rooftop garden and immaculate Japanese planting, was in a league of its own in the Artisan gardens. We’d happily trade our usual parking space for this cool and beautiful set up.


It’s a great year for succulents at the flower show from Nick Bailey’s wonderful treatment, placing them into buff crushed limestone, to the many exhibitors in the pavilion which included Cambridgeshire nursery D’Arcy & Everest who also sell their stunning pots and troughs ready planted.

We love ideas that can be taken back home and Jekka McVicar’s Modern Apothecary garden was packed with neat cottage garden ideas from the gorgeous unmown lawn planted with lots of herbs and aromatics to the step-over apple trees that created a neat border to the garden.

We’ve never seen anything quite as extraordinary as The Antithesis of the Sarcophagi by Martin Cook and Gary Breeze – a magical garden encased in 44 tonnes of granite. While we can’t all install an enormous block of rock into our gardens it reminded us of how effective a sneak peek into an interesting space can be.

We adored Cleve West’s very personal garden from the dreamy woodland planting to the giant blocks of stone that provided impromptu bird baths.

Lessons Learnt and what we loved at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
— Clare
25th May 2016

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