Flower shows are great places to glean ideas and inspiration for our own gardens. You might not have the budget of a Chelsea Flower Show Garden to spend on your plot, but that doesn’t stop you stealing a few concepts from the shows. Over the years we’ve been bringing you a few highlights from within the showground to recreate in your garden. We can’t be there this year, but we can share some of the highlights from previous shows. And perhaps there’s something to be said for a bit of armchair gardening. Why not spend your (potential) ticket and travel money on some plants and projects for your own garden and create your own take on the Chelsea spectacular at home?
Here are five of our favourite ideas and inspirations:
Sometimes looking at a space with fresh eyes can give you different ideas. You might think that there is room for half a dozen plants in a small area, but what if you were to install decorative ironwork steps within that space, leading up to a wall or a fence area? It would allow you to make use of every level as a place for potted plants, vases of flowers or decorative items.
It’s a perfect trick for small gardens, balconies and terraces. You could even use an old set of wooden ladders or something more elaborate to create the same effect. Try it out small scale first and then find a way to make a more dramatic feature. Don’t forget you can use this idea indoors for houseplants or even in the bathroom.
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like cut flowers and when you grow your own it’s a wonderful way to brighten the home using things you’ve grown in the garden. Sometimes it seems a shame to remove them from the garden, especially if they are bee friendly flowers, so why not enjoy them al fresco?
It’s a trick used on the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, buckets of cut flowers adorn the little patio, but there are jugs of flowers decorating the plot. You don’t need masses of cut flowers to make a difference; just a small posy in a little vase will light up a garden table.
Mini water feature
Not everyone has the room or the setting for a wildlife pond in their garden, but most people would love a water feature of some sort. You can use pretty much any container that holds water, the Kadai Firebowls by Wilstone are often at Chelsea and there’s usually a still bowl of water.
These vintage cooking vessels from India make fabulous barbecues and firepits but they will also hold water to make a water feature too. You could even use it as a water feature when you aren’t planning a barbecue or night on the terrace and just wash it out when you want to fire it up! Ingenious.
The simplicity of a pebble is a beautiful thing. Most of us have pocketed a pretty pebble from the beach as a child, marveling at its wonder still wet from the salt seawater. Then it dries and loses its appeal until once again the rain brings out its colours.
Pebbles are a great way to mark plants in the garden. You can write on a piece of slate or a flat pebble and use it to remember where you planted those precious bulbs, or to mark a line of seeds. These Stone balancing sculptures from Adrian Gray are very simple but effective and may inspire you to create something with a natural form yourself. It might even remind you of past visits to pebbly beaches and give you ideas to plan some future visits.
It’s no secret I’m rather obsessed with bees, so you may not be surprised to learn that one of my favourite things, first seen at Chelsea 2015 were the bee bricks, mortared in to the base of an Alitex greenhouse on main avenue. They are the perfect addition to a warm brick wall and provide essential nesting sites for solitary bees. Made by Green and Blue. Things have moved on a bit since 2015 and now you can buy special planters and pots with bee holes too.