RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015: What was available?
The 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show has come to a close. It has long been said that no one takes gardens as seriously or does them as well as the English and once again the RHS Chelsea served as a testament to that fact. As always the show offered inspiration to home garden enthusiasts, and no doubt humbled a few of the more puffed up amateurs as well. For those whose gardening is best undertaken with silk flowers, the show which seemed to have an unofficial sustainability theme, provided a place for contemplation and a gallery of natural beauty.
Despite the weather, the show once again drew visitors from around the globe ranging from local pensioners to royalty.
The Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, made an appearance to support Prince Harry whose Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability garden took home a silver award. The Queen obviously agreed with the judges, telling her grandson that the garden was “well done” and he “should be very proud”.
Kate Moss who recently told Vogue that she and her friends now discuss gardening as opposed to clubs and nightlife made an appearance as did Piers Morgan, Bianca Jagger, Zara Phillips, Joanna Lumley, Allan Titchmarsh, Kirstie Allsopp, George Lamb, and singer Will Young, who attended with his mum. Musician, presenter and avid gardener Jools Holland was also in attendance.
Dan Pearson returned to the event for the first time since saying that designing show gardens no longer was of interest over a decade ago. Despite his long absence Will Hill had Pearson as the odds on favourite to capture a Gold award, which he did with The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden.
Kamelia Zaal not only gained well-deserved recognition for her designs but also was awarded a Silver gilt for The Beauty of Islam garden. The former Dubai government worker turned full-time gardener and landscape architect is the first time an Emirati landscape designer has been chosen to appear as a show garden creator. Zaal’s goal was to show the role nature plays in Islam. She said, “With so much negativity around in the media and the world today, I felt this would be a good opportunity to share our values with the public through garden design. Historically, Islamic gardens, whether in Spain, Morocco or India, were places of contemplation and relaxation and reflected the link between humankind and the earth around us.”
In addition to those mentioned above the show was replete with spectacular show gardens.
The Royal Bank of Canada Garden, designed by Matthew Wilson was perhaps the most striking example of the unofficial sustainability theme and highlighted our planet’s need for water with a garden divided into three sections; a dry garden, an edible garden, and a water harvesting zone.
L'Occitane took top spot as the most fragrant. The perfumer’s garden was fitted out with plants brought to Chelsea by lorry from France.
Historic events were also marked at the show, with Darwin Property Investments’ Living Legacy which marked the 200th anniversary of the Wellington’s victory at Waterloo.
Although the final day’s shopping had more in common with a rugby scrum mixed with a bunch of pre-teen girl’s hoping to get a glimpse of One Direction than the decorum one expects from the world’s most prestigious garden show, the items on offer were indeed spectacular.
In addition to the requisite bulbs and plants, kitchens, furniture, playground equipment, and urns and vases were plentiful.
Julian Cochrane, who has a Royal Society Prevention of Accidents qualifications, displayed rustic tree houses, swing seats, and bridges all designed to offer kids a fun, but safe, playground area.
Christo McKinnon-Wood finished as the runner-up for the RHS Product of the Year award for his Garden Kitchen made from recycled teak. The worktop comes complete with a sink and copper table at a price of £1,250.
The top spot went to the far more modest potato pot, which allows growers to monitor the progress of their potato plants and even harvest crops without pulling up the entire plant.
Planters, jars, and urns are a staple of garden shows and were in plentiful supply at Chelsea. Garden Art featured an impressive array of stone urns with the most impressive one selling for £25,000 before the show opened to the public. For the more budget minded, handmade jars and planters were available from £175.00 and made to order games benches were available for £395.00.