The words Fun and Happiness sum up Chelsea 2016- for me.
Diarmuid Gavin, as always, provides the fun. And Ann-Marie Powell has the word Happiness written in 10 different languages all through her paving.
The moment I set eyes on those words, I thought Ann-Marie had perfectly summed up the mood for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
For the first time, it’s not all about how much money you’ve got to spend- it’s about making the best of what you’ve got- and just enjoying gardening.
Ann-Marie’s garden- commissioned by the RHS – perfectly captures the message that gardening is good for you. It’s good for mental and physical health. And it’s not all about big budgets. Or big spaces. The rose covered pergola -is made from recycled scaffolding poles. And the potting shed roof is packed with containers growing fruit and veg. I even spotted a beehive up there.
As for the planting-it’s a joyous riot of pink and orange. It shouldn’t work- but somehow it does. Maybe because the pink is lychnis flos-cuculi- a wild flower that has such happy childhood memories for me. I grew up on a farm with water meadows- waist high in those pink flowers, commonly known as Ragged Robin,combined with bright yellow buttercups. Ann-Marie has partnered the wild flowers with orange geums which give the same bright meadow look- mixed in with lots of grasses.
It’s a sight guaranteed to lift the spirits- and sets the scene for the rest of the flower show. If you are heading to Chelsea this week, Ann-Marie’s garden is located directly in front of the new-look RHS Hub. But to be honest- you really can’t miss it.
Cheerful combination of pink Ragged Robin with Orange Geum Prinses Juliana and tufted hair grass Deschampsia cespitosa. The bird feeders are made by blacksmith Alex Moore, mooredesigns.co.uk @MooreDesignsUK. The benches are also made by Alex. If you are like me, and notice beautiful small details, you can also spot his work on the Jekka McVicar garden. The pretty rose arch and twisty metal border edging is by Alex.
Ann-Marie working on the planting on Sunday. The flowers include alliums, lupins,salvia, geraniums and aquilegia. This is a garden to walk through,rather than just look at from a distance.
I loved this bright pink geranium (possibly palmatum) waiting to be planted on Sunday. How do they get it to look so perfect by Monday.
All finished by Monday-and still smiling. Ann-Marie Powell in front of the scaffolding pergola with climbing rose Westerland. The garden was commissioned to promote the RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign. I think it succeeded.
And finally- a photo of Diarmuid Gavin’s British Eccentrics Garden, inspired by the cartoons of William Heath Robinson. It’s wacky, a bit bonkers, and mesmerising for 10 minutes. But don’t take it too seriously. Go on- smile! It’s good for you!