The Fresh gardens at RHS Chelsea are an opportunity for garden designers to break a few rules and explore the boundaries of gardens and their design. Often with an inherent message to portray, the gardens are designed to be thought provoking and to encourage discussion and debate. Some offer great ideas for your garden at home, while others are a snapshot into a creative mind.
Here are five wonderful Fresh gardens at this year’s show.
City Living Fresh Garden
Designer Kate Gould
This small space shows how a city setting can be used to blend the garden and building, featuring an imagined apartment space in an urban block. It shows how small garden areas can be incorporated into the setting. It shows three different levels each one featuring private greened spaces. It’s a very lush, green leafy plot with fabulous hardy tropical plants and leafy foliage to create a very green and restful effect. There’s a whole wall of vertical planting and a roof garden, all densely planted to green-up the inner city space. The added bonuses of course are the positive effects that plants have on our health and the environment too.
Inland Homes Beneath a Mexican Sky Fresh Garden
Designer Manoj Malde
Inspired by the work of Mexican Modernist architect Luis Barragan this garden is a riot of colour, shape and stunning plants. It features fabulous colour washed walls in rich hues of bright orange-tangerine, pretty coral pink and the softer cappuccino that create a vibrant and dramatic backdrop to the whole space. It’s a clever and effective technique that brings everything else into focus. I love the plants here, structural agaves, so typical of a Mexican landscape mix with softer, but drought tolerant herbaceous in a tropical meets cottage garden look.
The Bemuda Triangle Fresh Garden
Designer Jack Dunkley
Don’t walk past this masterpiece of geometry. It is completely mesmerising when you get up close and take a good look. Right at the centre is a huge palm that erupts from the volcanic like structure that forms the basis of the design. Reminiscent of Bermuda and interplanted with some striking tropical plants, the colours and textures represent lava and evoke a pyroclastic flow. It’s all mirrored and lit to create a dramatic effect. The four quarters of the garden are each planted with a mini sanctuary of tropical planting. But stand back and get a good view if you can, there is more to this garden than meets the eye,
Mind Trap Fresh Garden
Designer Ian Price
Mental health is in the headlines and it’s really inspiring to see a garden portraying some of the personal effects of suffering depression at RHS Chelsea.
Mind Trap is a horticultural representation of this debilitating illness and has ben created to assure other sufferers that they are not alone. It features for metal walls that create the centre of the design and represent a feeling of imprisonment but also a sense of security, Visitors looking into the garden can see a glimpse of what is trapped in the centre of the garden; shade loving plants within the walls, but can also appreciate the outer layer of sun loving plants that can be enjoyed when the depression lifts or the patient is helped to find the right path through the darkness.
Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope Fresh Garden
Designer Ruth Willmott
Care, treatment and prognosis for breast cancer has been vastly enhanced over the decades by the scientists and specialists that research and work on this form of cancer. This garden is inspired by their work and depicts the lens of a microscope, represented by three large metal loops, decreasing in size and focusing on an image of healthy cells; the potential future – a world without this disease. At the front of the garden are jagged rocks representing the anguish of this illness. At the back is an area for rest, relaxation and a place to sit to share information in an effort to stop this disease in its tracks. The planting is fresh, featuring spires of rich pink lupins, peonies and rusty orange irises and two mature healthy acers that represent life, future and hope.