Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

To Be Smart, You Have to Be Cultivated; from Entries Inspired by Syrian Refugees to an Oasis for G&T Lovers, We Pick Our Chelsea Flower Show Favourites

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

To Be Smart, You Have to Be Cultivated; from Entries Inspired by Syrian Refugees to an Oasis for G&T Lovers, We Pick Our Chelsea Flower Show Favourites

Article excerpt

Byline: Alex Mitchell

THE WEDGWOOD GARDEN "This is a garden for a strong, successful woman -- I didn't want to make it fluffy," says its designer Jo Thompson. There's nothing fluffy about this sculptural bronzed-steel pavilion, which curves over a babbling stream, planted with irises, trollius, geums and primulas amid a calm backdrop of willows and acers. But it wasn't easy to build.

"I knew how I wanted the structure to flow but it travels in all directions so the department of engineering at Cambridge University helped me make it actually stand up," she says.

It's a calm, contemplative garden where you can just imagine yourself scrambling up the stream bed to sit on the rocks with a book -- an enticing prospect after battling the crowds here.

THE M&G GARDEN Rammed earth walls and Mediterranean planting makes for a scorchio combination in Sarah Price's parched masterpiece. Price, back at the show after eight years away, says she took her inspiration from Monet, and there's definitely an artist at work in the luminous planting and series of framed views as visitors walk around the garden.

Gnarled pomegranate trees, crepe myrtles and twisted cork oak give the space the air of longevity, and there are loads of drought-tolerant plant ideas here for Londoners with sunny, well-drained gardens, including the plant of the show, the delicate pink Beth's poppy, named after the late plantswoman Beth Chatto.

THE LEMON TREE TRUST GARDEN Richmond boy Tom Massey is a Chelsea first-timer but this garden, inspired by the resilience of Syrian refugees living in a camp in northern Iraq, is an assured, uplifting debut.

Pomegranate and lemon trees and joyful planting of red poppies papaver glauca, milk thistle and anchusa azurea "Dropmore" (blue is a big THE SILENT POOL GIN GARDEN Come home from the office, meander across the weathered oak decking around the infinity pond and lift the lid of your ice bucket, made from a copper still (natch) to pour a refreshing G&T. David Neale, in collaboration with Silent Pool Gin, has created just the sort of garden you want to come home to: restful multistem trees over loose, colourful planting including angelica, camassias and anchusa. …

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