One hundred years of the Chelsea Flower Show and it gets more exciting each year. This year is no exception.
Natural style planting was in vogue last year with wonderful planting by Adam Frost and Andy Sturgeon. Will this continue this year? Comments made by some of the Garden Designers would suggest the answer is yes. Whether that is Christopher Bradley Hole’s design that is influenced by the best of the British countryside or Robert Myer’s garden where he is using native species of plants in his design.
Although the nurseries keep the plant selection of the designers confidential, there have been deliveries of a wide range colours. Not just the traditional blues, purples and whites but oranges and deep reds. Having said that, this year texture and shape may be stronger influences in the garden designs than colour. Several designers are using shaped Buxus to create strong images framing shapes and specific parts of the garden. Chris Beardshaw’s Arthritis UK garden is a an example of this as is Ulf Nordfjell’s Laurent Perrier garden..
Natural planting with a modern twist? Well we will have to wait and see the gardens in the flesh when the show opens.
So what plants to look out for this year? Two of my favourite Cornus are Cornus Canadensis. A great groundcover plant that is happy in wooded and shaded areas. Cornus kousa a wonderful large shrub, provides interest throughout a significant part of the year. The elegant white rock rose, Cistus ‘Alan Fradd’ is simply beautiful. The glaucous foliage of Sedum rhodiola is most attractive accompanying the yellow flowers, similar to Euphorbia pasteurii ‘John Phillips’ which is also used. A stunning poppy is Papaver somniferum ‘Black Beauty’. Its glorious deep purple double flowers are spectacular when planted with a white flowering combination.
So as the show approaches and perfection is created once again, I find my anticipation growing and await our first full view of the magical gardens and floral stands. With a record demand for tickets, the popularity of the show seems to secure its future for another one hundred years.