When you visit a flower show, you are washed with ideas and inspiration about not just the plants and soft landscaping and accessories, but the hard landscaping too. The Show Gardens are a wow factor, but sometimes you want to see things that you can recreate at home in a smaller plot on a lesser budget. This year at the autumnal RHS Chelsea Flower Show there were balcony gardens, gardens created using just containers as well as some houseplant studios packed from floor to celling with plants you can grow indoors. Here are five smaller plots at this year’s show that offer plenty of ideas for your garden.
Balcony Gardens – Arcadia
This year at RHS Chelsea there were five balcony gardens on show. Each had a different theme and style to represent alternative ways of using a small balcony space. My favourite was Arcadia. The backdrop wall was painted with a fantasy landscape, blending the bright coloured dahlias, rudbeckias, salvias and red parthenocissus leaves, with lush leafy planting and modern railings and the aged, weathered door. It’s escapism in miniature. The low level planting is leaf rich and calming but billows into a more tropical effect at head height. But it’s the door patina and the kind of portal feel it creates that connects fantasy with reality quite literally as it leads from the balcony wonderland back into the home. Designed by Martha Krempel.
Container Garden – Pop Street Garden
This aptly named Pop Street Garden just pops. It was created as a space to get energised and to jump-start the transition from lockdown to on the town and it does this in spades. What a vibrant space. It exudes the fun factor with its trendy, shocking funky colours and styles. It’s a great space to hang out with friends but especially those with an appreciation of pop and art and modern ideas. The garden contains original sculpture and mural from artist Robert Littleford. The containers and colours steal the day, but the plants soften the effect with the silver blue foliage of eucalyptus, striking grasses, rudbeckias, asters and cannas, all adding depth and colour. Designed by John McPherson.
Container Garden –The Hot Tin Roof Garden
There’s an industrial feel to this container garden that suits its urban setting. Corrugated steel containers fill the space, but are planted with contrast foliage shapes from shade loving ferns and grasses. The colour theme is simple, inspired by the sea and adds to the minimalist feel of the design. The sandy gravel adds to the seascape effect and an outdoor shower area completes the look. It’s clean and crisp and modern with a classic feel. Designed by Ellie Edkins.
Outside The Plant Room
Some of the highlights of this year’s autumnal Chelsea Flower Show are sometimes peripheral to the main exhibits. This area alongside one of the Houseplant Studios – The Plant Room, is in effect a patio/seating area. There aren’t many plants, but it’s a great example of how the use of colour and colourful accessories can completely transform a space and make it yours. Shocking pink may not be your taste, but it would work just as well with hues of blue, shades of scarlet or tints of turquoise. Choose your palette and use it with abandon to create the colour scheme that suits your mood, your space and your character. Designed by Ian Drummond.
This is not a garden in the true sense of Chelsea and yet it offers such inspirational ideas on how to make the most of your outdoor space that it had to be included. Granted you do need deep pockets to recreate the fantabulous dining, seating and outdoor garden kitchen elements of this space. And yet it is something to aspire to. But you can learn a lot from the use of colour, the juxtaposition of the plants and the way they have been used to decorate, soften and exemplify the whole setting. It is simply stunning. Look closely and yes the Curved Splash Lounge Sofa is stupendous, but the cushions are a simply beige colour and it’s the statement cushions that lift the scene. Then see how the fabulous flowers on the Broadwalk Dining Table pick out the colours of the cushions, the vibrant dahlias, lobelia, heleniums and echinacea in surrounding beds and borders. It is a work of art and a lesson in the use of shapes and colour. Just WOW. Designed by Ann-Marie Powell. This trade stand was awarded Best Trade Stand and the Director General Award.