Chelsea 2016 highlights

Yesterday was a good day. I was one of the lucky journalists invited to attend Chelsea Press Day. Apparently famous faces at the show are now valued above those providing expert comment and informing gardeners about the new season’s plants and possibilities. I missed the opinions and ideas of my colleagues who had not been selected to attend, several of whom are well-respected members of our occupation’s professional body, The Garden Media Guild.M&GOf the Show Gardens, for me there were two clear winners. Cleve West’s garden for M&G is a good example of how not to throw everything into the allotted space. The exquisite planting was allowed to take centre stage and thus it looked like a real and very inviting garden.RHS-gdnMy other favourite, for very different reasons, was the RHS garden ‘Greening Grey Britain’ designed by Ann-Marie Powell. It portrays a front garden full of great ideas with a most inviting walk-through design, lovely seating, easily achievable meadow-style planting and touches of brilliance wherever you looked.hbI particularly liked the clever use of hanging baskets to make insect hotels and the beautifully designed bird feeders, benches and colourful plant supports around the garden. bird-feedersThey they are made by fellow journalist and CGS member Rebekah’s talented brother Alex Moore. See his work at http://www.mooredesigns.co.uk. He also made a beautiful rose arch at the entrance to Jekka McVicar’s Modern Apothecary Garden for St. John’s Hospice, and this lovely matching edging.edgingAnother brilliant front garden was to be seen in the Artisan Gardens, the Senri-Sentei – Garage Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara. This tiny space has room for a car, a seating area and water-feature . There is a winding staircase leading up to a rooftop tier planted as a garden with a good-sized area to relax up there too, all surrounded with fabulous planting and clever hard landscaping to connect and soften it all.carI came home exhausted but full of ideas for my own garden – I must look out my old hanging baskets. Many thanks to Rebekah for taking these lovely pictures for me when the batteries ran out on my camera – how thoroughly unprofessional of me!

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