Friday, June 29, 2012

...still have more about Chelsea

I think I have saved the best 'til last. Below are pictures of the gardens that for one reason or another keep popping into my mind.
This shows part of the Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Arne Maynard.  I loved the pleached copper beech, and the pale limestone path mixed with the abundance of planting. In the bottom left of this picture there is a Rosa 'Reine des Violettes' that has been trained over an Hazel cage. I expect to see a lot of these when I next return to England. I heard every group standing by the garden remark on the cage of roses and people seem to immediatley spot them in this photo, which definately doesn't capture their laid back elegance. If you see that part of the garden and think 'where's the water feature?', well it was around the edge in the form of a rill, filled with light coloured pebbles and the odd pinky, copper pebble, perfectly placed. Ahh, Chelsea.
Next up, Andy Sturgeons arts and crafts inspired garden. the centrepiece was definately the copper  'energy wave' sculpture which wound it's way through the garden and pool. Topiary was a feature this year and you can see the Ilex crenata balls here, Arne Maynard had Buxus and Cleve Wests Taxus below. If you plan to entertain on a Summers evening..
..this wall is hollow and becomes a light box at night casting soft beams of light through the holes. with white, scented plantings, I would imagine that it would attract every moth for miles around to 'add to your viewing pleasure'.

Cleve West received best in show (for the second year running) for the Brewin Dolphin Garden

I think this garden seems typically English, at first glance very formal and snobbish and then the realisation that it's very relaxed and welcoming (1. I've lived here long enough to know what you Americans think of the English and 2. I know what the English are really like, because I am one and therefore have a lot of experience of such things).
The planting was a similar mix of formal Yew topiary and relaxed perennial planting of whites, and lime greens with the bright red of poppies for added zing.
Nigel Dunnett's 'Blue Water Garden' was an absolute stunner.
The planting combined a mix of meadow plants from Europe and N. America and the water feature is designed to maximise water usage to the plants and minimize run off wastage. The pavilion is inspired by traditional buildings in the Puglia region of Italy.  The dry stone roof was constructed on site, just for the week, out of tons (14 if I remember correctly) of stone. Ahh Chelsea.

I think the 'Blue Water garden' and Cleve West's garden were my favourites, from a very personal point of view that I can imagine myself in those gardens, paddling in the collecting pools of 'Blue Water' or reading on the grass in the Brewin Dolphin Garden.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Furzey Show Garden by Chris Beardshaw

I loved the Furzey garden, in real life in the New Forest Furzey is part of the Minstead training project for people with learning disabilities and their horticultural section helped with growing plants for this garden .I think this looks as if it has been plucked straight out of the Northwest. OK, I haven't seen any thatch around the PNW. Just in case you are interested, don't get thatch if you are afraid of spiders. I spent a glorious summer living in a thatch cottage with the only downside being the size of the spiders, the description of 'big and hairy' doesn't do them justice. Back to the garden; here is a better view of the planting
It's just so lush and green and there are Rhododendron's!! Probably not seen in a RHS gold medal winning garden since the 70's. Are the RHS judges getting less stuffy? Were there horrified onlookers muttering"what next, Gnomes?".  All this is contextual, I inwardly shudder when I see a rhododendron, with a neat little line of french marigolds and the newfangled variety of petunia, probably with a sick looking conifer chucked in for good measure. Before you say, middle class snob, I have all of those growing in my garden....and actually if I had the space I would plant a garden with all of those plants and a bad gnome (yes,I think there are classes of gnome) and maybe even a pink flamingo to get me over my inhibitions and taste prejudices. For anybody who is English reading this, rhodies and conifers are native in the PNW and grow happily together with a mix of other plants.  But, the plantings in the Furzey gardens made me think of a recent trip to Bloedell:

....and I want that thatch building, our workshop would look just gorgeous thatched. Inside there was stained glass made with R.macabeanum leaves, I only saw it in a photograph, but it must look magical.  The garden also had fairy doors on the trees, I hope I have fairies at the bottom of my garden, doesn't everyone?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Show Gardens

I have hundreds of photos of the show gardens and getting them down to a handful of key photos has been tough. I have allowed time to wittle them out for me and so the photos I've included here are of the gardens that for some reason keep popping into my mind. So, first up is Satoyama Life by Kazuyuki Ishihara in the Artisan gardens.

Although the garden is very small, there was so much going on. I don't mean that in a bad way. You could split the garden into a myriad of different items,such as the building, water feature, path and plantings and then further divide each one, so looking at the sections of the garden was like looking at a mandala. Each part was exquisite and beautiful in its own right but also and perhaps most importantly all of the elements fitted together harmoniously and even in the hustle and bustle it seemed peaceful.
The Bradstone Panache Garden by Caroline Butler. I loved the movement in this garden and the vibrant colours in the soft woodland planting. I love the muted colours on the wall picked in the planting and the sculpture.  The tree forming the organic backbone to the sculpture is perfect.

I think I may have been living in the PNW too long, because on seeing this garden I caught myself thinking "now there are some nice pieces of cedar". Once I'd recovered myself, I was taken by the easy style of the garden. The beautiful rusty tones of the cedar were picked up in the irises, verbascum and bark of the Prunus 'Amber Beauty', leading you through the garden.
I love the simplicity of the lines in this garden shown here in the photo by the path and water feature. I've noticed the water features are overrepresented in my photos of the gardens - maybe because it was hot day?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer is coming.

Summer is coming.  The rain may be pounding the pavement outside, but I know that summer must be coming because I have picked my first dahlia flowers of the year. There may only be 3 blooms so far, but I am full of hope.  The parking strip dahlia bed has an abundance of very healthy looking plants and for the first time I have dahlias in my perennial bed. 2012 may be the year of the dahlia in our little corner of LFP
Blooms from 'Lolo' and 'Moonfire' dahlias.                     

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Great Pavilion, Chelsea

My first post and it's going to be about the Chelsea Flower Show! How am I going to improve on that? Anyway, to prove that I went, here is me just about to enter the Great Pavilion..
So much to see, so much colour and so many smells.  For colour, how about this show of Bourgainvillea?

or beautiful, perfectly formed Auricula? overwhelming tropical display from Barbados

There were so many beautiful displays by nurseries, here are two of my favourites

....and if perfectly formed blooms aren't your thing, there are always vegetables

or a mini?!