Chelsea Flower Show 2011
Sadly I wasn't able to get down to Chelsea - 'The Greatest Flower Show on Earth' - this year and so resigned myself to following it through the media. Actually, by the end of the week, I wondered if perhaps I had seen more through the Beeb's excellent daily coverage allowing insight into every minute detail of the Show. Certainly you see much more of the show gardens on television and beat the crowds! That said nothing quite compensates for the unique atmosphere you experience by actually visiting the Show. I would recommend it to everyone.
This year my general impression was of more modest and gentle gardens featuring quite naturalistic planting using perennials and soft harmonising colours. Box was of course present but used in a less formal way - not so tightly clipped. Pines were in evidence in a number of gardens and yet again there were alliums everywhere!
As for hard landscaping there was clever use of words engraved on paving, walls and wooden furniture - just as there is in our more local Little Sparta and Broadwoodside garden near Gifford in East Lothian. This is something you can readily incorporate in your own garden giving it a unique quality.
Water was used in a more gentle way too with rills and reflective ponds featuring in a number of gardens.
My favorite garden? Difficult - but I would say The Homebase Cornish Memories Garden designed by Thomas Hoblyn. I enjoyed the gentle harmonious planting in a pale palette of colours which softened the granite hard landscaping traversed with a modern take on the traditional 'rill'.
It was especially pleasing to see that the RHS CHELSEA 2011 Plant of the Year, Anemone 'Wild Swan' was raised by Scot Elizabeth MacGregor from Kirkcudbrightshire!