About the Show Gardens at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show in London, England
Held for five days every May in central London, the RHS Chelsea Flower is the most famous flower and landscape show in the United Kingdom and perhaps in the world. This post highlights just one aspect of the event, the Show Gardens, featuring 2019 Show Gardens. For a guide to the event with information about its history, what to expect at the show, and how to visit, read my post Chelsea Flower Show Guide.
The Show Gardens can be considered the headliners of the Chelsea Flower Show. They are the largest gardens. In planning for a year or two, the gardens are installed on site in an approximately two week time period. The gardens are judged on a set of criteria and how well the actual garden matches the submitted design. Gardens are awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal depending on how well they scored. Leaflets about the garden and the plants used are available at most of the gardens and someone from the design team is on site to answer any questions you may have.
There were 11 Show Gardens at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show.
The M&G Garden
The gold medal M&G Garden also won the title of Best Show Garden. Inspired by nature’s power to regenerate, the woodland garden featured various shades of green planted in a free-flowing naturalistic style. Burnt-oak timber was fashioned to resemble rock formations.
The Wedgwood Garden
A silver medal winner, The Wedgwood Garden contained soft shade-tolerant naturalistic planting around a central architectural structure with mature trees of pine and cedar lining the boundary. Water moved throughout the space, echoing the canals and watercourses fundamental to the china-maker Wedgwood’s production and industry.
The Trailfinders “Undiscovered Latin America” Garden
The silver medal Undiscovered Latin America Garden was inspired by the temperate rainforests of South America. It was built on a steep slope covered in lush planting. Monkey puzzle trees and southern beech lined the garden, which featured a red walkway and waterfalls cascading into a pool.
The Greenfinders Charity Garden
The silver medal Greenfinders Charity Garden was a peaceful space designed over two levels accessible for people of all ages and abilities. The design aims to highlight and promote the therapeutic benefits of the outside spaces created over the past 20 years by Greenfingers Charity, the charity dedicated to creating inspiring gardens for life-limited children and their families who spend time in hospices across the UK. Unfortunately I did not get any photos of this garden. You can view photos on the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Greenfingers Charity Garden page.
IKEA and Tom Dixon: Gardening Will Save The World Garden
Silver medal Gardening Will Save The World was the only show garden not outside on the grounds of the show. It was inside the Great Pavilion. Set on two levels, it was an experimental model for growing plants in an urban environment. Hydroponic technology was implemented on the lower level to grow edibles. The raised garden was a bit of an oasis (and offered great views of the rest of the Pavilion). I didn’t get a photo of this garden either, but I did take one looking out over the Pavilion from the top level.
Check the RHS Chelsea Show Gardening Will Save The World Garden page for more photos.
Warner’s Distillery Garden
Silver medal Warner’s Distillery Garden was designed to provide a relaxed space for socializing with family and friends. The sheltered courtyard referenced the pastoral setting of Falls Farm, the heart of Warner’s Gin Distillery in rural Northamptonshire. The courtyard overlooks natural, free-flowing plants with a purple colour theme.
The Resilience Garden
The gold medal Resilience Garden won the Show Garden Best Construction Award. It was commissioned to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s centenary and looked ahead to the challenges facing forests of the future by exploring how woodlands can be made resilient to changing climate and the increasing threats of pests and diseases. It contained areas of varied planting, including an arid area, a woodland edge, and streamside environments.
The Dubai Majlis Garden
The silver medal Dubai Majlis Garden was inspired by sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes. It included curbed beds with a central oasis-like pool and a sand-dune-inspired pavilion.
The Savills and David Harber Garden
The bronze medal natural-style Savills and David Harber Garden featured woodland and meadow-style planting around an expanse of water complete with a bronze-coloured sculpture. A living wall featuring ferns, luzula, and ivy, provided a boundary at the rear. A living wall is a self-sufficient vertical garden with the plants rooted in structural supports attached to the wall. I saw several instances of living walls at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Morgan Stanley Garden
The gold medal Morgan Stanley Garden was inspired by the UK’s love of beautiful gardens and explored how to continue the tradition of creating herbaceous-rich spaces, while managing resources more sensitively. (Herbaceous plants are plants whose leaves and stems die down to soil level at the end of the growing season.) The garden included topiary domes, a pathway through it, a relaxation room, and luxurious and colourful plants.
Welcome To Yorkshire Garden
Gold medal Welcome to Yorkshire Garden was inspired by the county of Yorkshire’s proud history of manufacturing and innovation, as well as its beautiful natural environment. In addition to a mix of cultivated and wild plantings, this garden featured a canal, a lock, a lock keeper’s cottage, and a stone wall, all of which were created especially for the show as part of the garden.
BBC televises several programmes about the Chelsea Flower Show while it is on. The public is given an opportunity to vote for their favourites in several categories. The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden won the People’s Choice Best Show Garden.
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Ken DowellJune 25, 2019 at 7:40 am
When you look at these pictures you would think that many of the gardens had been in place for years and are part of the natural landscape. Hard to believe they were created in two weeks.
Donna JankeJune 25, 2019 at 8:53 am
Ken, it is hard to believe those gardens aren’t more permanent and quickly they’ve been set up. Of course, they have been in planning for over a year and a lot of pre-work is done before the actual setup on site.
EvaJuly 4, 2019 at 1:10 pm
Lovely! I can’t imagine the amount of time, work and money that goes into putting on this show..
Donna JankeJuly 7, 2019 at 9:15 am
Eva, the amount of time, work, money and planning that must go into the show and each individual garden is incredible. I watched a few shows on BBC during the week that gave a glimpse into the efforts the creators of individual gardens went through, like hand-brushing hundreds of pieces of moss and placing them amid rocks in a way that looked like they’d been in that position for years.