Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bloom or Bust? It's Every Plant Lover's Dream, but There's a Lot to Take in at the Chelsea Flower Show. Here's My Rundown of What Was Hot and What Was Not This Year

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bloom or Bust? It's Every Plant Lover's Dream, but There's a Lot to Take in at the Chelsea Flower Show. Here's My Rundown of What Was Hot and What Was Not This Year

Article excerpt

Byline: YOUR GARDEN With Diarmuid Gavin

IT was Chelsea Flower Show last week - for many the highlight of the horticultural calendar. But there has been one significant change this year - the smaller number of show gardens, with various reasons being given.

A lack of sponsors, say some, but from personal experience it may be time the RHS appreciated those sponsors who do contribute so much and treat the garden designers better.

If lessons aren't learnt, this venerable show which has persevered through thick and thin, may lose its lustre. I've never been one for the formulaic show gardens and with this year's crop, once again there was a feeling I'd seen much of it before.

However, it's always lovely to view gardens, absorbing ideas and marvelling at the technical ability to seduce plants into the grandest of shows for the starting bell on the Monday of the third week of May.

My method when reviewing Chelsea is to look beyond the obvious and study the smaller, quieter areas in search of sparkles of passion in courtyard and artisan plots.

In addition this year, there were the Radio 2 Feelgood Gardens based on the five senses. Chris Evans fronted the Taste Garden, designed by Jon Wheatley, and my favourite was the Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, designed by Matt Keightley.

His planting was an exploration of different plant textures, featuring many different leaf shapes - architectural ferns, soft mossy mounds, heart-shaped epimediums and lots of clipped Pinus mugo.

In some areas, his planting was ethereal, a dreamy mix of floaty perennials and feathery grasses - pink umbels, Stipa tenuissima and pale yellow poppies danced behind veils of bronze fennel - delicious!

And there were occasional bursts of vivid colours with Iris 'Kent Pride',' Cirsium atropurpureum, and Verbascum 'Firedance'. And, of course, Chelsea is all about plants.

The Great Pavilion is a dream for all plantaholics to admire the very best that British nurseries can produce. …

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