The Chelsea Flower Show is wrapping up today and for the first time in
a long time ever I am not terribly excited to write about it. I’ve pondered if my feelings are due in part because I wasn’t actually there this week, but I think not….it is something more.
This year I feel let down. I am let down by design heroes like Ginny Blom, whose work I generally adore. Her garden for Prince Harry is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen. The myriad of patterns in subtle soft colors all look like a cheap model came to life. I honestly want to say something nice about it….but nothing is coming to mind, so I will move on.
Christopher Bradley Hole also failed my high hopes. He created a garden that to my eyes looks un- finished (I can’t help but see the frame of a new house being built among a complicated garden that technically might be interesting, but is nothing that inspires me). It does make me wonder if it might be one of those gardens where you ‘had to be there’ to really get it and appreciate it…. maybe pictures just don’t do justice? But when he didn’t win best in show (an award he has deservedly won in the past) he moaned…loudly and publicly. It was in poor form to say the least…even if he might have started a conversation about judging that is worth having.
Then there was the series of metaphorical missteps. I’m putting the Seeability garden in this group. It conceptually represents four different sight conditions – cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma – but somehow it isn’t really for blind people…what the what?
Also — there is this garden — whose description reads: ”Disease and death pervade this garden, which is themed around the threat that diseases, pests and invasive species pose to British trees and plants. Features include a grove of dead trees in one corner, and a striking lonely ash sapling on its own island.” Again, I don’t see it.
Many of rest were nice but not remarkably different than gardens past. I’ll spare you my critique because I am tired of complaining. There are bright spots though. I really did love the best in show garden and am so happy for the Australian team who built it. There are some other nice ideas that I will share in time. But in the interim…I am curious if you have any opinions or feelings about this years show?
Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff. (All rights are reserved.) except where noted. Seeability garden photo and Fera Garden by martin pope from the telegraph.
If you are anything like me, your compost heap is a work in progress. It is an effort in pure do-gooder hopefulness. Mine has been active and getting larger for probably 4 years, but since I have never turned it and I have never tried to take anything from beneath the new stuff that gets added to the top, I have nothing to show for my efforts (but I keep piling it on…). I am intrigued by Burgon & Ball’s flexible compost aerator which is really just a giant wine bottle opener. But the idea is that you screw it in, getting air to the middle so that the process speeds up. Seems like it has potential and I would be interested to give it a try.
Do you have any clothing made of bamboo? I have heard of it but never seen anything that I actually might buy. But apparently is it an organic and sustainable resource that doesn’t even require irrigation. Products made with bamboo also biodegrade faster than synthetics and they are naturally better at controlling skin temperatures, wicking away moisture and they have a soft feel and built-in antibacterial qualities. These gloves from Town and Co. look the same as my old gloves so I can’t think of any reason not to give them a try.
Do you use old frames or cloches? I haven’t used either, but I am interested to try the later. I just find them so charming. Access Garden products was shortlisted for their newest version of the cloche. It doesn’t have some of the charming styling of others, but it does look like it might be a whole lot more useful (because it is taller) and studier – because it is made to work and not just look cute.
There are 13 products on the short list for ‘best new product’ and they are all interesting. Since I have this tendency to disagree with RHS judges, I will be sharing all the the nominees for best new garden product all week and at the end of the week will post a survey on Facebook so that we can choose our own favorite.
Check out the other contestants:
images burgon and ball, town and co and Access Garden Products.
Some people are suckers for variegated foliage but not me. I can easily pass up a one of a kind variegated pine or magnolia. Show me a chartreuse leaved plant though and you have my attention. My affection for chartreuse first started with Salvia ‘Golden Delicious’ and then ‘Wasabi’ coleus but now I am enamored with Aralia cordata ‘Sun King.’ With the compound foliage and large, clumping form, Sun King aralia provides a punch needed to a New England landscape. We have several plants at CMBG planted en masse. When this perennial began emerging several weeks ago, it was like the sun was rising out of the ground. Not really, but it was nice to see such bright foliage after a long, dark winter. We have our plants sited in full sun but the further south you go, the more shade you want to give this plant. I imagine that as you move into warmer climes, that there is a greater potential for leaf burn to occur with direct or afternoon sun. If you are unsure how it will do in your garden, you might want to try it first in a woodland garden or shady spot. Once Sun King aralia is established, it will form a 3′x3′ clump of that wonderful, bright chartreuse foliage. It does produce white flowers in the summer followed by black berries in late summer into early fall.
This Aralia was brought back to the United States from Japan by the wonderful plantsman, Barry Yinger. Supposedly, he found it amongst the racks at a department store garden shop.
If you have not grown this plant yet, give it a go as I am sure the bright foliage will give your garden that pop it needs.
Photos: Terra Nova Nursery flickr, gardenshorts.com
The medals have been posted for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. There are lots of great gardens to share, but I am going to start with those that won best in show for their category.
The Aussie team behind the Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s has been awarded Best in Show. I can only imagine the hoopla that rose out of that lively team of builders.
This was Wes Fleming’s, head of Fleming’s Nurseries, ninth and final attempt at the show….and his team took the top honors for the first time. It is always so great to see someone go out on top.
The garden was designed by Phillip Johnson and it presents a sustainable habitat complete with monolithic stone gorge, running waterfalls, a studio structure and billabong.
I had to look up what a Billabong is (besides a surfer supply company). Here is what wikipedia says:
Billabong (pron.: bil-ə-bong) is a Wiradjuri word that is used for an isolated pond that is left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. Billabongs, reflecting the arid Australian climate in which these “dead rivers” are found, fill with water seasonally and are dry for a greater part of the year.
More Winners ahead….
I’m so sad to not be at the show myself, but Adam Woodruff is Studio ‘g’s man on the ground. He has taken pictures of the show for us all to enjoy. Thanks Adam!
Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff. All rights are reserved.
Between the X-Hose and the Flexi Sprayer, hand watering might just have moved into the world of modern day convenience. If you have a big garden like I do, then you need lots of lengths of heavy hose that have surely taken out your back — or at least a plant of two as you have moved it around. Smaller gardens just don’t have the space for this necessary tool. Either way, hoses are a pain in the butt and one of my least favorite things about gardening. One that shrinks up like a shriveling leaf when I am not putting it use would put a big smile on my face. I need to try this out.
Also up for the best new product award at Chelsea is the Flexi- Sprayer. It is the all in one waterer that is meant to eliminate the need for other sprinklers This head is flexible so you can use it as a hand waterer or as a free standing sprinkler or you can even hang it from overhead. There are a variety of flow settings. Why have a bucket full of sprinklers when you can have just one…I hope it is made well though….am I alone in finding hand watering wands to be the most flimsy things ever?
There are 13 products on the short list for ‘best new product’ and they are all interesting. Since I have this tendency to disagree with RHS judges (and don’t know yet which will win), I will be sharing all the the nominees for best new garden product all week and at the end of the week will post a survey on Facebook so that we can choose our own favorite.
Check out the other contestants:
images hozelock, perennial shop.