Five great show gardens at Chelsea 2017

There’s a fabulous mix of gardens at the year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Jean Vernon picks five favourites.

500 Years of Covent Garden
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The show gardens are the star of the show and this year there are not just eight fabulous show gardens but also several extra gardens including the four BBC Radio 2 Gardens celebrating its 50th anniversary and the RHS campaign garden Greening Grey Britain, (which are not being judged).

Breaking Ground

Breaking Ground

Designer Andrew Wilson

Many gardens at the show have a message to offer the visitors. This one is no exception highlighting the barriers in education with the hope of breaking them down. Structural, transparent walls connect the space, interplanted with a truly beautiful mix of colours and textures. Deep purple spires of salvia contrast with the more limey green euphorbias, combined with softer wispy grasses and nepeta. The colourful, textured planting flows unimpeded across the garden, echoing trains of thought.

The Morgan Stanley Garden

The Morgan Stanley garden

Designer Chris Beardshaw

Inspired by the fractural geometry and patterns found in nature, music, art and communities, this garden is divided into three distinct sections. A verdant woodland garden filled with ferns, hostas and liberally interplanted with pink primulas, is linked with an oak loggia with a sinuous path and then out onto a sun-drenched terrace surrounded by a rich colourful tapestry of planting. Tiered and tightly clipped topiary yews punctuate a border filled with a lively, textured planting of cersium, nepeta, irises, geums and hardy geraniums.

500 Years of Covent Garden

500 Years of Covent Garden

Designer Lee Bestall

Inspired by the floral heritage of the historic London, Covent Garden, this garden blends the rich floral provenance of the area with a hint of the structure of the distinctive Market Building in Covent Garden today. The soft planting reflects the soft tones of apple blossom in soft pinks and whites. Fat peony buds and spires of pink lupins and foxgloves add depth and height to the borders, but there is a rich helping of foliage too. A more formal central terrace, complete with timber benches and tables creates an area for both entertaining and for relaxing within the space.

The Jeremy Vine Texture Garden

Designer Matt Keightley

Not strictly a show garden, this is one of the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens. It’s a space that really appeals to the eye. It’s an immersive, tactile space featuring bold geometric forms, partnered with a soft, elegant planting palette. The textures are dense and fabric-like and draw the eye right into the intricacies of the plants. The large, angular rear wall contrasts with the smooth pathway and makes the planting even more appealing. With precisely clipped hedging, soft feathery grasses, velvety mosses and beautiful ferny foliage it ticks all the boxes.

The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden

The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden

Designer Sarah Raven

I think this might be my favourite garden at this year’s show. It actually reflects what I feel is the overriding theme of RHS Chelsea 2017; colour and vibrancy, which can be seen all around the showground. This little plot is a profusion of colourful cut flowers in celebration of Radio 2’s 50th anniversary. I love the coloured glassware glinting in the sun on the shelves of the potting shed. The richness of colours and flower types in inspiring, it’s like a floral celebration of life, but it’s growing and glowing in the sunshine. I love the huge jugs of cut flowers in the garden and why not? Vases of flowers can be just as decorative outside in the garden as well as in.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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