Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Something for Everyone at RHS Chelsea 2015

If your passion for naturalistic planting remains undiminished, or you harbour an unfailing love of neat hedging blocks or rich purple palettes, Chelsea must seem like a horticultural second honeymoon. 

Dan Pearson's Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden is as natural as it gets in a flower show. Exquisitely executed, this garden turns the challenges of the triangular plot into a virtue, for whether standing beneath the stone stacks, or kneeling to appreciate the delicacy of the planting, this is a garden to be explored from all sides. 

We expect beautiful plants and inspiring plant combinations at Chelsea - particularly from Chris Beardshaw. His Healthy Cities Garden is a lesson in heavenly herbaceous planting with twists of citrus zing to lift the scheme.

Away from the wilder planting schemes, the hedging elements and the obligatory beautiful Chelsea flower borders, the exotic and mesmerising Hidden Beauty of Kranji Garden by John Tan and Raymond Toh gives us foliage combinations to die for. 

As always, the tiny Artisan Gardens offer a masterclass in fine detailing. A Trugmaker's Garden is truly astonishing in its detail. I am no trug expert (apart from a tendency to dangle one decoratively over my arm during the bean picking season), but there is no mistaking a great trugmaker's garden when you see one.

The Fresh Gardens seem to be gaining in popularity; they are certainly growing busier each year. Sarah Eberle's garden highlighting the work done to monitor plant pests and diseases indigenous to one part of the world which could threaten native plants from other countries, is thought-provoking and entertaining; it also reminds us that slinkies are not just for staircases.

For many visitors to the show, the plants are the stars, and each year new plants are introduced at Chelsea. Clematis TAE ('Toltae'), is one of three Clematis introduced by Thorncroft Nursery this year. It is striking for its very pointed tepals and pink/white colouring. Bred in Japan by Ren Tanaka, it is named after his late wife.

Antirrhinum ‘Pretty in Pink’ from Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants blooms all summer and is the first truly perennial Antirrhinum.

For something rather rarer, feast your eyes upon this gorgeous Trillium. It is one for my wish list in the oh-so-distant future. All we can do at the moment is hope that Kevock Garden Plants bring Trillium grandiflorum 'Raspberry Ripple' to Chelsea next year so that we can have another drool over it. 

If pink isn't your thing, here is a beautiful plant with one of those names requiring a mid-pronunciation tea break: Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Kilimanjaro Sunrise ('Jww5'). Exhibited by Burncoose Nurseries, its white lacecap spring blooms are followed by masses of red berries and orange-red autumn foliage colour.

It is the Plant Of The Year no less. A shrub! And not just any shrub. A Viburnum! Did anyone see that coming? Chelsea, my love, you never fail to surprise.