Here’s my photo highlights of Chelsea 2016. If you have limited time and energy to see everything at Chelsea. Just follow this route to see my favourites.
Start at Diarmuid Gavin’s Harrod’s British Eccentrics Garden. You have to see it really. You just can’t go home without spying those twirling bay trees. And remember that while we are all worrying about box blight, Diarmiud has got mechanical failure to contend with. He’s got no one to blame but himself.
Just along the Main Avenue is Ann-Marie Powell’s Greening Grey Britain garden, sponsored by the RHS.The planting is a glorious combination of pink and orange. Wins my award for most cheerful garden at Chelsea, and there are lots of ideas to “borrow.” I love the edible planting in pots, the scaffolding pergola swathed in climbing Westerland Rose, and the seating where you can relax and watch the wildlife. It’s a welcome change to be allowed to walk through a garden at Chelsea. That’s what we do in real life- we don’t stand at a barrier and just look into a garden.
Cross over the Main Avenue – and be transported to Provence. James Basson’s L’Occitane garden makes you feel as if you are standing right on the edge of a lavender field in sunnier climes. The scent is something you’ll remember long after the show. Wins my award for most relaxing garden at Chelsea. I needed to stand there for quite some time after battling my way on the train and underground.
Also on Main Avenue, The Telegraph Garden by Andy Sturgeon takes you to the semi-arid foothills of the Andes in Chile. I love the orange isoplexis. Beautifully captures the spirit of the place. I stood in wonder.
Virtually next door on the Main Avenue is Cleve West’s M&G Garden, inspired by the ancient oak woodland of Exmoor National Park. I love the woodland-edge planting and the little pools of water in the rocks.
Turn the corner onto Royal Hospital Way and find Jekka McVicar’s first show garden, created for St John’s Hospice- called A Modern Apothecary. This is the garden I most wanted to transport home. A place of calm in the midst of all the busy chaos.
And finally, on the Rock Garden Bank is Matthew Wilson’s triumph- A Garden for Yorkshire. It really is a sight to behold. Inspired by the Great East Window at York Minster, it simply transports you to God’s Own County.