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Talking points. Comments and questions on: => Other events of Mediterranean garden interest => Topic started by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 08:20:17 AM

Title: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 08:20:17 AM
The Royal Horticultural Society's 100th annual Chelsea Flower Show opens today, in London. I've taken pictures of some of the richly sponsored show gardens there, and will put some on the forum, either because the plants involved are particularly suitable for mediterranean climates, or simply because the design - even if not using mediterranean plantings - might be appealing to forum members.
Unfortunately, as I succeeded in smashing my camera lens before I got to it, I have no pictures of a show garden I'd been particularly looking forward to seeing: the one Phil Johnson has done for the travel company Trailfinders, using masses of Australian plants to demonstrate sustainability in town conditions. (You can find a newspaper's picture of it being built by clicking here ( It was announced this morning that this exciting garden has won Phil and his Australian team from Flemings Nursery the Best in Show Medal.
The most overtly mediterranean garden was done by James Basson, so I'll start with that, in the next post.
Title: Chelsea Show - After The Fire, by James Basson
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 08:23:07 AM
James Basson's show garden After The Fire, for Cancer Research UK, gives an impression of regeneration after a forest fire in the South of France. His plants, supplied by Kelways and installed by Peter Dowle, include Acacia dealbata, Allium atropurpureum, Arbutus unedo, Asphodelus fistulosus, Catananche caerulea, Cistus creticus, C. salviifolius, C. ladanifer, Erica arborea, Euphorbia cyparissias, Foeniculum vulgare, Molopospermum peloponnesiacum, Piptatherum miliaceum, Gladiolus byzantinus, Helichrysum italicum, Lavandula stoechas, Myrtus communis, Phillyrea angustifolia, Pistacia lentiscus, Ruscus aculeatus, Salvea sclarea, Scabiosa atropurpurea, S. perfecta, Sedum album, S. ochroleucum, Teucrium chamaedrys and Thymus vulgaris.
Title: Chelsea Show - Jack Dunckley's Juxtaposition
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 09:07:18 AM
Juxtaposition, by the young British designer Jack Dunckley, is designed for the gardeners' charity Perennial. Using plants from his own Birchfield Nursery in Sussex, and from the Italian firm Classiflora Zelari, he has back-to-back displays of lush broad-leaved subtropical and tropical plants on the one hand, and dryland plants from similar temperature zones on the other. My pictures are of the arid side (but you can glimpse the other side through the gaps in the screen), which might easily feature in an unwatered mediterranean garden. The plants used include Agave americana, A. x leopoldii, A. nigra, Dasylirion serratifolium, Yucca rostrata and I think A. geminiflora and Yucca filifera.
Title: Chelsea Show - Chris Beardshaw's Arthritis Research Garden
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 09:39:26 AM
The garden Chris Beardshaw has designed for UK Arthritis Research includes quite a few plants that would not be out of place in a mediterranean garden, given at least some watering - and conjured up for me a potential "mediterranean herbaceous border", if that's not self-contradictory! It is one of the most popular gardens at the show - when I was there his PR people were kept extremely busy organising the substantial queue of garden writers and TV crews waiting to interview him.
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: David Bracey on May 21, 2013, 09:49:53 AM
The Basson garden is very clever and demonstrates how clever landscape designers can be however it does not do justice to a Mediterranean garden but perhaps thats not the function of Chelsea.
Title: Chelsea Show - a rooftop Rain Garden
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 10:48:09 AM
Prof Nigel Dunnett, who specialises in water management at Sheffield University, collaborated with landscapers Landford Consultants ( and The Landscape Agency (, and plant wholesalers Hortus Loci (, to produce this roof garden. It is a "rain garden". The idea of rain gardens is that they should utilise the rainwater falling on a building and its surroundings, so that none needs to be removed as waste water. Prof Dunnett's idea is to use the water in the place where it lands - on a rooftop. Obviously, in mediterranean conditions the problem is usually too little water rather than too much, and it's impossible to imagine many of these plants - such as the meconopsis - surviving in mediterranean conditions, but the principle is interesting. Prof Dunnett also points out that the fashionable "living walls" tend to be all too thirsty in their water use, and this garden includes a living wall that needs very little water.
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: westyboy on May 21, 2013, 11:59:14 AM
What a star you are Alisdair.

I was watching Chelsea on the tv last night. And suddenly remembered one of the things I miss about England.
The wonder of Chelsea and Hampton court flower shows.

Your photos have helped a lot.

Thanks ;D
Title: Chelsea Show - four influential designers with their latest ideas
Post by: Alisdair on May 21, 2013, 12:04:32 PM
Robert Myers, for the financial firm Brewin Dolphin, has an appealing mix of firm hard landscaping with more free-form planting - pegged down by a few firmer rather mediterranean shapes. Could his main sunken area be a good replacement for a swimming pool. (top two pictures)
Christopher Bradley-Hole, for the Daily Telegraph, had severely clipped evergreen low hedges, very much in a mediterranean style, boxing in both angular shallow mirror pools and patches of exuberant unrestrained plant vigour. (3rd and 4th pictures)
Roger Platts, for M&G (another financial firm), has produced a particularly harmonious and crowd-pleasing design that I can see might flourish in one of the cooler South Australia or Victoria areas, or say the west coast of Portugal or the Piedmont in Italy, but is really the epitome of English as opposed to Mediterranean styling. (5th and 6th pictures).
The Swedish designer Ulf Nordfjell's garden for the champagne producers Laurent-Perrier (bottom two pictures) brings northern European and more Mediterranean design elements together, including again those boxy close-clipped defining hedges.
Thanks very much for your kind encouragement, Westyboy, much appreciated!

Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: SusanIbiza on May 21, 2013, 12:18:28 PM
Thank you Alisdair, for your beautiful photos of the various gardens at the Show.  We have been fortunate enough to follow it on the TV.  We especially admired the Australian show garden but the are all stunning.
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: Umbrian on May 22, 2013, 09:07:04 AM
Thanks Alisdair for your coverage and comments about some of the Chelsea gardens - something to enjoy as yet another cold and dreary day dawned here in Umbria. Amazingly the sun has just made an appearance and so I had better get out before it disappears again :)
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: Fleur Pavlidis on May 22, 2013, 04:36:20 PM
I think Daisy's garden compares quite well with these and I bet it didn't cost a quarter of a million.
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: Alisdair on May 22, 2013, 05:11:57 PM
Yes, indeed! (But then Daisy takes better pictures than I do, too, so perhaps mine don't present them in their best light....)
Title: Chelsea Show - my own favourite, Ishihara Kazuyuki's Alcove Garden
Post by: Alisdair on May 22, 2013, 05:45:20 PM
Four views of Ishihara Kazuyuki's "An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden", which very deservedly won the award for Best Artisan Garden. It produced a wonderful feeling of intimate calm, amidst the hustle and bustle of the show. These Artisan Gardens, off to the side of the main show area, are much smaller-scale than the grand affairs of the main heavily sponsored show gardens.
You can see a short video of the garden, including a brief interview with Mr Kazuyuki, by clicking here (
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: David Bracey on May 22, 2013, 08:51:35 PM
I agree Fleur. Give me a a quarter of a million and some friends and I will see what I can do:
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: David Dickinson on May 23, 2013, 02:56:24 AM
Thanks for the photos. One worrying aspect though (at least for me but I suspect maybe others too) is to read garden designed for "Cancer research UK". What does this mean? To raise money for the organisation? If so, what a pity that a flower show which, to my mind, should be dedicated to the peace and beauty that gardens bring should be tainted by organisations raising money to spend on vivisection.

All the more reason to visit Daisy's wonderful garden :)
Title: Re: Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Post by: Daisy on May 23, 2013, 10:48:21 AM
THANK-YOU for posting the photos Alisdair.
They are so much better to view, than the television.
Every time I spot something I want to take a closer look at, the cameraman whizzes past it too quickly for me.
When I lived in Surrey, I went to Chelsea every year.
I do miss it, although the cost of some of the gardens in recent years, is silly.
Thank-you for your remarks about my garden Fleur, Alisdair and David.
It is just as well, it is tiny, or I would probably be bankrupt. ::)
I have been away to a family wedding in England and have to go back shortly for a while, so I have not been here so much lately.
I have taken a few more photos. If I have time before I go, I will post some.
Daisy :)