Wednesday, October 17

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Trendy ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show to transform your garden into a restful space, a place for reflection and rejuvenation.

The 2017 Chelsea Flower Show ended on a high note for the Sanbi-Kirstenbosch team, who returned with two awards for their exhibit at the Grand Pavilion.

The team received a 35th gold medal and the prestigious President’s Award for the stand, designed by David Davidson and Raymond Hudson.
A total of 22 gardens in the categories of Show, Fresh and Artisan gardens were judged at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show, with 12 gold medals awarded. The M&G Garden, designed by James Basson, won a gold medal and the coveted Best Show Garden award for the inspiring portrayal of a transformation of an abandoned Maltese quarry. 

Five senses
This year saw the launch of a joint initiative between the BBC and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, a celebration of the station’s 50th birthday. The gardens aim to inspire people to embrace their gardens as places for relaxation and good health.
Each of the five gardens, named after BBC Radio 2 presenters, portray one of the five senses and show how plants and other design aspects of the garden can delight one’s sense of taste, touch, smell, sight and appreciation of sound.
The Jo Whiley Scent Garden, designed by duo Tamara Bridge and Kate Savill, inspired patrons to discover the power of fragrance. The garden’s muted colour pallet allowed for a better focus on the inspiring aromas of selected plants.
The dynamic Chris Evans Taste Garden, designed by Jon Wheatley, is packed with vegetables and herbs to promote a healthier lifestyle.
An abstract copper structure was the focal point in the Seedlip Garden, designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald. Picture: RHS/Tim Sandall
Top trends
Gardeners keep an eye on trends at Chelsea to bring new inspirations to their own gardens. Each year a number of trends stand out, some new and innovative, others part of a developing theme from previous years. What were the three big themes this year? Best practice, bold structures and big features.
Best practice
Concern for the environment and a commitment to find better ways of working alongside nature was a strong theme noted in a number of gardens. An emphasis was placed on the need for a garden as a place for rest and relaxation, while keeping focus on environmentally friendly practices. Designs featured less expansive lawn areas and more gravel pathways, wood decking and concrete or paved areas.
The M&G Garden, a transformation of a Maltese quarry, encompassed the Mediterranean island’s ecology from coast to woodland. The ecological challenges of the island – the scarcity of water, higher temperatures and the need for composting and recycling – are similar to those faced by gardeners in many regions around the world.
For the garden, designer Basson selected tough, smaller plants that are able to withstand these harsh conditions, many of which are unique to Malta. The garden’s centrepieces were two huge Maltese limestone monoliths.
Insect hotels, trendy structures popular at Chelsea over the past few years, were again included to accommodate wildlife. The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, provided practical ideas for recycling and composting in a city garden.
A curved mosaic wall, inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, was the centrepiece in the gold award-winning Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration. Picture: RHS/Tim Sandall
Bold structures
A number of gardens included structures that attracted the eye or drew one’s focus skyward. These included large trees, vertical gardens, hedges and man-made creations in metal, wood and concrete.
The Seedlip Garden, designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and a recipient of a gold medal in the Artisan category, featured an abstract copper structure which housed an outdoor apothecary.
The garden included a number of herbs and plants with medicinal uses as well as those that can be used in the distillation of non-alcoholic beverages.
Big features Garden themes were enhanced with the addition of pertinent focal points, many with a story to tell and inspiring gardeners to find items and sculptures that tell their personal stories.
The sculpture of Clippy, the rescue pony, for the World Horse Welfare Garden. Picture: RHS/Tim Sandall

A circular, arched wreath served as the entrance to The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Centenary Garden, a celebration of its 100 years in existence, and built in honour of thousands of fallen war heroes. The arch was inspired by a wreath in Tyne Cot in Belgium, the largest CWGC cemetery in the world.
A spectacular equine sculpture was a feature in The World Horse Welfare Garden. The sculpture, by artist Tom Hill, was constructed with horseshoes from a number of celebrity horses in Britain, included several belonging to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The garden tells the story of the rescue of a horse from a dark stable and nursed back to health to live in a lush, green paddock.
Whatever inspiration you draw from the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show gardens, remember to consider nature in your garden and the ever-increasing pressure on our limited water resources.
Make sustainable choices for a more eco-friendly city garden.

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