I love this front garden. It has a simple box parterre and a magnolia tree, which has such as beautiful form that it looks lovely even when not in flower. Perfect.
What I like doing best at Chelsea is looking for ideas that I could replicate in my own garden one day. And as I may finally have one (fingers crossed – it’s all going through at the moment), this was a year when I could actually walk around noting ideas that I could actually put into practice. Hurrah!
There were quite a few roses around this year, and I liked the informal, lax habit of the Rosa rugosa in the Brewin Dolphin garden (above).
I liked Christopher Bradley-Hole’s garden but felt I’d seen many elements of it before – the multi-stemmed trees, blocks of box and yew, the meadowy planting, the cow parsley… Not only in previous Chelsea gardens but also at the Canal House in Amsterdam last year. That said, I love a multi-stemmed tree, neatly clipped box, and a bit of meadowy planting, and would definitely like to include them in my own garden.
I also the loved the way that edible and ornamental plants were mingled together in Adam Frost’s ‘Sowing the Seeds of Change’ garden for Homebase. I will definitely be doing this – I want to cram in as many edibles as possible.
I loved this simple oak bench in the Un Garreg (One Stone) garden. It may look simple but I bet it cost a small fortune.
The pebble path in the Healing Garden was designed to be walked on barefoot, stimulating reflexology pressure points.
Ponds scare me. They look complicated to get right, and I’ve seen a lot of bad ones. But this looks really doable – it’s shallow (so not too much digging) and the pebbles cover a multitude of sins.
And for sheer flight of fancy, who could resist this kids’ treehouse in the NSPCC garden? I think it made everyone want to be a kid again.
I must say I’m getting a trifle weary of winter bedding (and winter in general – will it ever end?), but this window box makes a refreshing change. Cyclamen coum are usually planted in the ground, but here they’re being used as bedding. They’re on top of some railings, so passersby can enjoy them at eye level. I much prefer them to the ubiquitous larger-flowered types.
There’s some interesting leaf textures going on, here too – the tiny leaves of the box, the larger leaves of the cyclamen, and the variegated ivy. Lovely.
In some contexts, evergreen box and ivy – and nothing else – would look a bit uninteresting/unimaginative. But against this very distinctive cream and black tiled background, it looks perfect. There are lots of similar window boxes outside the Grange Langham Court Hotel.
It’s not all monochrome, though – there’s usually a splash of colour from bedding in hanging baskets around the front door.