Another award was won by The Plant School at Chelsea Flower Show this year following on from the awards received at both Chelsea and Hampton Court in 2014. It is a much appreciated recognition of the exhibit from The Royal Horticultural Society.
In recent years the front of the stand has been given over to a floral display and this year was no exception where an old hip bath (!) was planted up complete with a swirl and a shower of scented plants. Dripping over the bath was Wisteria brachybotrys ‘Ikoyama Fuji’. It has the scent of its better known white relation W. brachybotrys ‘Shiro-Kapitan’. This enticing plant drew visitors in from across Eastern Avenue, in fact a whole crowd of visitors.
This year the show was a delight for many reasons with Dan Pearson’s Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth garden deservedly stealing the limelight. The huge rock formations were an arresting backdrop and remind us all just how well these gardens are thought through and designed. It might not be what everyone would like in their garden but it is exciting and thought provoking and from this you can take home ideas for your own plot of plants. Golden flowered Rhododendron molle planted near brick red Primula was one of the memorable planting combinations of this show garden.
The show gardens are of course all exceptional in their own ways and the cool weather this year meant the flowers held well throughout the time they were on show. The choice of plants was exciting and some will lead the field in what plants are in favour for gardeners for the next couple of years. Styrax japonica was here in force. Its only crime was that the flowers refused to open fully in the cool late spring.
In future years if you are coming to see the gardens then a tip is to visit towards the end of the week. The plants are all then embedded with their surrounding companions by this stage and look so much better. Their flowers and leaves will then have found an order and they look so much more natural. Plants need to settle together and during the course of the show this is what then happens naturally. It is also a real test of a garden to see how it stands up after days of intense viewing.
I talk to visitors all week and they have often travelled thousands of miles to come and see the spectacle. They may not come each year but when they do they all say ‘this is the best flower show’. We are lucky to have it!