Well the sun has finally started to show itself and, with the occasional exception of a torrential downpour, summer seems to be well on the way. Good timing too since we are but days away from the start of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015! Naturally not everyone will be anticipating the grand opening of Chelsea with quite the excitement that’s taken hold of the Accent office, but we are all abuzz and speculation abounds. This must be what non-gardeners experience when the World Cup comes around or royal babies are born.
Anyway, there’s lots to see as usual and lots to be excited about. Here are a few of the gardens we’re really looking forward to seeing.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden (Darren Hawkes):
This year’s Brewin Dolphin is a bit off the wall (you’ll get that in a minute) but we like the look of it.
An almost Escheresque construction of slate monoliths based around prehistoric dolmens, some standing as you’d imagine but with others attached to them “hovering” at right angles over the planting. The planting itself is a wealth of woodland edge plants that seems to be rising to obscure some of the lower slabs. The whole together creates a very tense picture, these great slabs of slate hovering over the vulnerable new summer plants with a decidedly Damoclean menace and with over 40,000 pieces of hand cut slate making up the dolmens that is very menacing. Meant to evoke a sense of the fragile nature of wild plants, this surreal garden is maybe a little gimmicky but original and interesting. Hey its Chelsea!
Edo No Niwa (Kazuyuki Ishihara):
That’s Japanese for The Edo Garden by the way.
This is an interesting one; the Edo period was a historical period in Japan when the walls of class and position began to be redefined. One of the things that suddenly became accessible to the masses during this time was the creation of gardens, which led in part to the Japanese flair for garden design becoming a global phenomenon. Designer Kazuyki Ishihara wanted to celebrate this by creating a Japanese garden that combined the higher elements of traditional Japanese garden design with the more progressive. When viewed from the centre the simply, yet beautifully planted and landscaped garden is supposed to meld seamlessly with the interior of the opulent central pavilion, creating a visual and tactile history of Japanese gardening.
From historical Japan to future London.
The Morgan Stanley “Healthy Cities Garden” (Chris Beardshaw):
This health conscious garden was commissioned to embody Morgan Stanley’s healthy cities initiative, not for personal health promotion but to encourage the health and wellbeing of entire cities. Formal paths and landscaping show the physical infrastructure of the city, while the social elements are shown through the planting.
Vibrant and highly varied plants show the integration of cultures and social sectors that combine to create a successful city. It also reflects the brilliance of Chris Beardshaw’s design skills. At first I thought this one a bit trite in its message and a bit simplistic in its design, but the more I look at it I have to say it’s winning me over. The combination of diverse, almost chaotic planting working with the formal structure of paths, hedges and walls is particularly pleasing. More than that, the garden itself is set to outlive this year’s Chelsea as it is to be reassembled as a centrepiece of a community project in East London, so plenty of opportunity to have a look. I really like when gardens aren’t merely for Chelsea but have a life afterwards.
The Beauty of Islam (Kamelia Bin Zaal):
I have always been fascinated by Islamic gardens having spent quite a lot of time in the Middle East. The tranquillity that is created in the most hectic of places is quite wonderful and this is reflected in this garden.
Central to the design is the relationship between humankind and the earth, which is key in Islamic Culture. Different rooms create element of discovery, with water flowing throughout. The planting includes a lot of the plants seen in the gardens in Islamic and Arab countries. Really nice.
Lots more to think about of course and these are just a few impressions taken from the teaser designs and promotional pics. Still I can’t wait to see them in person, see you all on Main Avenue!