Highlights of RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Cleve West's Brewin Dolphin garden won Best in Show and a Gold Medal
Hotfoot from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I'm featuring some of the stunning gardens on offer this year ... and the weather is hotting up this week, so all those thousands of visitors lucky enough to get tickets will be taking off layers of clothing as they walk around the 99th show this week. Winner of Best in Show and a coveted Gold medal was the Brewin Dolphin garden (above), designed by Cleve West.
Another view of Cleve West's garden, behind the impressive gates (above)
The garden looked glorious in the early morning sunshine today, although getting close enough to photograph it required Herculean effort. I arrived as the doors opened at eight, joined the queues waiting to get through the gates, and by 10.00 you could hardly move! The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has become one of the prized events in the British social calendar and many ladies don amazing attire and hats to attend, so people watching is almost as much fun as viewing the show gardens.
Furzey Garden by Chris Beardshaw won a well-deserved Gold medal at the show this year
The Furzey Garden (above), designed by Chris Beardshaw stole my heart, with its vibrant colours and inviting pathway leading to the thatched shelter. Also a Gold medal winner, this Chelsea success will hopefully highlight the wonderful work that Furzey is doing with young people with learning difficulties at its Hampshire home, using horticultural and nursery experience as the basis of its training projects. The show garden is a charming miniature reminder of the glorious Furzey Gardens in the New Forest - in bloom right now and well worth a visit.
Andy Sturgeon's M & G Garden won a Gold medal
Another garden awarded a coveted Gold medal is the M & G Garden (above) designed by Andy Sturgeon - an inviting oasis, with water, sculpture and pastel colours. Water is an important theme for many of the Show Gardens, as is sculpture, and what's most noticeable about most of the entries this year is the extensive use of meadow-style planting, interspersed with clipped hedging and strong architectural features.
Joe Swift's Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden also won a Gold medal
The Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden (above) was also awarded a Gold this year at Chelsea. Designed by Joe Swift, a much-loved garden television presenter here in the UK, this garden also uses water, strong architectural lines and massed planting to create a charming view for visitors. Will we be seeing a new garden architecture range at Homebase later this year, I wonder, to give shoppers the chance to emulate this garden at home?
Royal Bank of Canada's Blue Water Garden - winner of a Silver Gilt medal - designed by Nigel Dunnett
Another of my favourite Show Gardens was the RBC Blue Water Garden (above) because I found the combination of blue and white, interspersed with planting, extremely alluring. Designed by Nigel Dunnett, this garden won a Silver Gilt medal, but I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more about its creator in the next few months, because he's also the lead horticultural and planting design consultant for the London 2012 Olympic Park.
     If you've visited Chelsea this week, do let me know which your favourite gardens are. More news on the show tomorrow, when I take you round the themed gardens and inside the huge marquee. And if you didn't manage to get tickets, you can always visit Chelsea Fringe instead - there are events all over London for the next three weeks.


  1. Wow... One year I WILL go to Chelsea...

    For now, though, I'm engulfed in the internet garden porn that is blog entries about Chelsea!

  2. Very inspiring gardens. I hope to visit your part of the world next year. Hopefully I can visit at least one garden. I had 3 gardens to choose from for my trip this year but did not get to go to any of them. Pity.
    -- Bom @ www.plantchaser.com

  3. Dear Charlotte,
    Thanks for the information. Will be at Chelsea tomorrow.
    Wish I could have arranged a visit with you today!
    All the best,

  4. Hallo Charlotte,
    Thanks so much for making this kind of beautiful posts. I want so much to see Chelsea Flower show one day but I have to confess I don't feel well in big crowds of people. I am pleased that BBC is broadcasting and we in Holland can watch the televisionprogramm's.
    greatings marijke

  5. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing all of your photos. So many beautiful gardens.

  6. Such beautiful and inspiring photos. Some day I hope to get to the Chelsea show! Its a bit of a trip from Northern Ireland. It's great to see your photos.

  7. We went yesterday, Joe Swifts garden was a stunner and deserved its gold. What did you think of the Japanses Artisan Garden?

    Gaz: Alternative Eden

  8. Beautiful photographs! I dream of seeing this show some day!

  9. Lovely photos, we went on Tuesday, stunning weather and lovely gardens. Loved Chris Beardshaws garden, the japanese one and the Aussie garden... and a bunch more.

    Gaz: Alternative Eden


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