The Royal Horticultural Society has announced RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 highlights
Show Garden Highlights
Encouraging people to reconnect with nature is a key theme at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with gardens celebrating the beauty of the natural world. Seven-time gold medal winning designer Andy Sturgeon is back for show sponsor M&G Investments, drawing inspiration for his garden from nature’s power to regenerate. The woodland landscape will be colonised by young trees, ferns and jewel-like flowers, interspersed with stone platforms and huge burnt timber sculptures representing natural rock formations.
Multi RHS gold medal winning designer, Sarah Eberle returns to Main Avenue with a garden celebrating 100 years of forestry with The Forestry Commission. The Resilience Garden looks ahead to the biggest challenges facing our forests in the future, exploring how they can be made resilient to a changing climate and the increasing threats of pests and diseases.
Set within an outdoor farm workshop, both the garden and designer are inspired by William Robinson, an advocate for forestry, pioneer in experimental planting and visionary in the creation of wild, natural gardens. Echoing Robinson’s designs, the garden features exotic alongside native species – specially selected to thrive in habitats that mimic existing and probable effects of climate change.
The garden uses natural materials including boulders, stone and gravel to reflect its rural setting. Water is collected from the rear of the garden and distributed to create a variety of habitats including an arid area, damp area and well-drained meadow area. A full size hopper bottom silo, doubling as the designer’s office, stands over the garden at nearly seven metres tall.
Plants have been selected to respond to the three main habitats; forests/woods, dry/arid and damp/waterlogged. A wide variety of trees and plants, some more unusual than others, will feature in the garden signifying the diversification of planting required to create resilient forests and gardens.
The trees have been selected to cope with varied conditions as a replacement for timber and, in some cases, for their aesthetic quality and sympathy to the character of the English landscape. Plants have also been selected for their resilience to changing climate conditions.
A celebration of the environmental benefits of trees, this time within an urban space has influenced the design of The Savills and David Harber Garden by Andrew Duff. The garden seeks to create a beautiful, sustainable woodland clearing within a city, featuring bio diverse trees and greenery known to remove harmful pollutants from the atmosphere.
Three gardens on Main Avenue this year represent striking natural landscapes. Last year’s People’s Choice winner Mark Gregory is designing once again for Welcome to Yorkshire, inspired by the canals and waterways found in the West of the county. Jon Snow for Trailfinders is sourcing inspiration from further afield bringing the temperate rainforests of South America to Central London complete with lush planting and dramatic waterfalls. In contrast the The Dubai Majlis Garden designed by Thomas Hoblyn evokes a Middle Eastern feel inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes.
The importance of having access to nature and green spaces for all ages and abilities has inspired the brief for The Greenfingers Charity Garden designed by Kate Gould. Intended for a hospice to provide a fun, interactive and uplifting space where seriously ill children, their families and friends can come together and embrace the benefits of being in the fresh air and engaging with the natural environment.
Chris Beardshaw, winner of Best in Show 2018 and multi gold medal winning designer Jo Thompson complete the talented line up designing Show Gardens in 2019.
Space to Grow Highlights
For the second year Royal Hospital Way will be populated by inspiring gardens offering new ideas and inspiration in the Space to Grow Category.
Joe Perkins is taking on his first solo garden for social media giant Facebook. The theme of the garden is connectivity, celebrating the positive benefits of social media as a powerful tool for engaging in real world issues, connecting people and driving positive social change. The Facebook Garden: Beyond The Screen takes on a coastal theme to reinforce this message as coastal habitats are constantly changing and evolving and are rich and diverse environments where many species can thrive.
Vibrant colours and exotic leaves bring rural Africa to central London promoting the importance of Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow. Women produce much of Africa’s food, the garden designed by Jilayne Rickards highlights the work CAMFED does to educate and empower those reliant on agriculture in communities hardest hit by climate change to use climate-smart, sustainable agricultural techniques to provide for themselves and their families.
Education also underpins the message of The Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden designed by Jody Lidgard, an engaging space to nurture children, teaching them about the natural world and future of horticulture with new technology including hydroponics, aeroponics and vertical planting techniques.
Water features prominently in a number of the gardens planned for Chelsea 2019 and lies at the heart of Paul Hervey-Brooks The Viking Cruises Garden, a space created from a water meadow with multi-stem river birch and winding streams running through to a pool and concrete terrace.
The Warner Edward’s Garden by Hampshire designer Helen Elks-Smith incorporates water in a playful and imaginative way. Central to the design is an impressive sheltered courtyard, referencing the pastoral setting of Falls Farm, the heart of Warner Edwards Gin Distillery in rural Northamptonshire where all their gin is hand-crafted with nature. The central column with elements of copper and water is inspired by ‘Curiosity’, the Warner Edwards Gin still.
Said to be built ‘on rock and water’ the naturally occurring springs and aquifers of Falls Farm inspired the addition of an imaginative interpretation of the use of captured water, as it appears and disappears throughout the garden. With a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater and an emphasis on the horizontal plane, this enclosure is designed for relaxed entertaining with views to the wider landscape beyond and underpinned by subtle, textural planting.
Rainfall and water from rooftops is a playful element, on display rather than hidden behind drainpipes, slowing the passage of rainfall and highlighting how it might be used. Regionally-sourced quarried natural stone and materials will anchor the design. The garden contains a complex cantilevered roof and supporting structure. Bespoke, hand crafted glass panels are being designed for the garden by Oxford-based artist Wendy Newhofer. The blue of the glass created is from copper reacting with the glass.
The planting will include Juniperus communis, an evergreen conifer the berries of which are used to flavour gin; Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’- broad-leaved cockspur thorn; mixed native hedging, an important part of English countryside and Rosmarinus officinalis.
Small is beautiful when it comes to the Artisan Gardens and this year’s line-up promise to inspire and excite as traditional materials and methods are revitalised through new design approaches.
A garden celebrating 70 years of land-based education at Kingston Maurward College embodies the artisan approach as the college’s blacksmith, engineering, countryside management and horticultural students will all contribute towards the final design.
Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams were last at Chelsea in 2010 when they won gold and best Artisan Garden, the pair return with a garden celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Donkey Sanctuary, highlighting the vital role donkeys play in improving the lives for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.
Walkers’ Forgotten Quarry Garden designed by Graham Bodle takes inspiration from a quarry at the bottom of the garden at Walkers Nurseries, featuring reclaimed items and materials from the quarry.
The Great Pavilion
British horticulture remains at the heart of RHS Chelsea as the UK’s top nurseries fill the Great Pavilion with thousands of immaculate plant varieties on display.
For the first time the Great Pavilion will also house a judged walk-through Show Garden by internationally renowned British Designer Tom Dixon and home furnishings retailer IKEA. The immersive garden hopes to raise awareness that it is both possible, affordable and rewarding to grow your own food in the city using sustainable urban growing techniques. Upon first impression, the garden looks like a natural hillside landscape, on closer inspection, the viewer can see a subterranean, and futuristic high-tech garden with edibles and plants growing in an immersive horticultural laboratory.
Eight nurseries making their Chelsea debut and adding to the horticultural excellence on display this year include Andy’s Air Plants, Exotic Blooms, Lime Cross Nurseries, New Forest Hostas and Hemerocallis, William’s Cactus, Summerdale Garden Nursery, Newlands Herbs and for the first time a National Allium Collection will be on display demonstrating the diverse size, colour and shape of these popular plants.
New Forest Hostas are doing their largest ever display, which consists of a garden setting displaying over 100 different varieties of Hosta of all sizes. They will also be launching a brand new variety of Hosta.
Iconic multi RHS Gold medal winning rose breeder, David Austin Roses will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary at the show with a sensual display of award winning roses along with some exciting new introductions. Perennial is celebrating its 180th year of supporting those in the horticultural industry with a walk through feature ‘The Perennial Lifeline Garden’ designed by London College of Garden Design Graduates taking inspiration The Laskett Gardens in Herefordshire bequeathed to the charity by Sir Roy Strong.
Tickets are now available to buy now at www.rhs.org.uk/shows