As London’s famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show dazzled and delighted global visitors, international fashion designer Amanda Wakeley invited her guests to a creative evening workshop of fine floristry (and fun) at her chic new West End showroom. Led by RHS award-winning floral designer Ming Veevers Carter, this ‘Wakeley Wellbeing’ flower power celebration hit a high note when budding floristas were crowned with their very own, hand-crafted, floral headdresses.
Crowning glory at RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Best Show Garden and Gold Medal Awards) went to landscape designer James Basson for his sleek, majestic M&G Garden inspired by a remote limestone quarry in Malta, with its unique ecology. Softened by rarely seen indigenous flowers and grasses, cooled by a long pool, two dramatic limestone slabs tower above low diagonal rows of limestone blocks (or seats) interspersed by natural, wild planting.
Another RHS Gold Medal for the Royal Bank of Canada Show Garden, designed by Charlotte Harris (Harris Bugg Studio) who drew on the country’s vast boreal forest and lakes. Stretching from the Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, the 1.2 billion-acre habitat embraces bedrock, endless forests, rushing rivers and broad wetlands, a theme captured in this imaginative design scheme. After the Show, this Garden will move to the UK’s Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Martin Mere Wetland Centre in Lancashire, a popular visitor attraction.
The Chengdu Silk Road Show Garden by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins won Silver-Gilt for its colourful representation of China’s super Garden City, Chengdu, where twenty huge new gardens, linked by a linear green park will form a ring around the city, in an ambitious natural ‘air conditioning’ circle, whilst creating a ‘green wall’ amenity space for city dwellers.”
In the Fresh Gardens section, designer Kate Gould won Gold for her stylish City Living contemporary garden, a beautiful ‘green plan’ over three levels of an imagined apartment block and a perfect example of how to ‘green up’ city spaces, a topic close to this designer’s heart.
In the Artisan Gardens, the clever, tiny Japanese ‘No Wall, No War’ Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara won Gold and the romantic Poetry Lover’s Garden by Fiona Cadwallader won Silver.
New this year, five BBC Radio 2 ‘Feel Good Gardens’ offered a sensory feast of Taste (exciting food planting with TV cook Mary Berry) Sound (Zoe Ball’s Listening Garden, where ‘silent’ vintage Radio 2 music played below ground vibrated upwards, or bubbled up via water troughs) Texture (Jeremy Vine’s immersive tactile garden) the Anneke Rice Colour Cutting Garden (full of colourful, cut flowers, styled by Home and Lifestyle designer Tricia Guild) and the Jo Whiley Scent Garden of nostalgic aromas, which Fragrance designer Jo Malone helped to create. www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea