Once again, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is hosting the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Except for gaps during the two World Wars, this show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London every year since 1913.
This year several gardens stood out, as well as took home awards. Two in particular were the M&G Garden, which was awarded Best Show Garden and also received a Gold Medal, and The Poetry Lover’s Garden, which was awarded a Silver Medal for Artisan Gardens.
The M&G Garden, designed by James Basson, was created from a disused limestone quarry and includes a large range of flora from Malta. The idea in mind when creating the design was to demonstrate the vulnerability of Malta’s natural landscapes and resources.
“The quarry is not supposed to be pretty,” Basson told The Telegraph. “It is stark and monumentally brutal. I am fanatical about quarries anyway. The cleanliness and purity of them can be like a contemporary building. I love the graphic patterns of the blocks, the scouring marks and the way nature regenerates after man has left. A client told me about this one, and when I had the chance of coming to Malta for a design job, I came to see it and was blown away.”
The garden features a Pistacia lentiscus overlooking a sunken part of the design; this area is filled with limestone blocks and Maltese flora. The narrow edges of the garden were decorated with cliff top grasses and other clinging plants.
A dipping pool is also featured at the lowest level of the garden, which provides a place of cool relief in an otherwise hot environment. Leading up to a seating area are steps carved into the limestone retaining wall; large green flowers are interspersed to soften the scene.
Throughout the garden, limestone columns are scarred with disc saw marks used to cut the limestone blocks.
The overarching message of the display, according to the RHS website, is that humans need to take action in preserving the fragile environment of our planet.
“[The garden is about] man and nature reacting together over the course of time,” Basson told The Telegraph.
Taking home the Silver Medal in Artisan Gardens, The Poetry Lover’s Garden features a formally structured terraced garden built out of stone, as well as lush informal country garden style planting and four umbrella trained lime trees, centrally located to create a peaceful and shady environment.
This garden was designed by Fiona Cadwallader and presents a tranquil retreat that allows visitors to sit outside in the late afternoon sun and enjoy their literature, as well as the relaxing sounds of water.
The garden has a tiered construction which allows the plants to be displayed to their best advantage, and the centralized arbor of trained lime trees and formal layout add a romantic air to the garden’s overall feel.
Hostas, yellow Trollius, foxgloves and Fritillaria persica all act as stand out plants in this display.
A stainless steel water fountain set into a dry stone wall serves as a focal point in the garden and gives readers the chance to relax to the soothing sounds of running water at the end of a stressful day.
A mix of traditional and unusual plants adorn the terraced beds, and within the dry stone walls are ivies and native ferns, which are often naturally found growing in this habitat.