29 September 2021
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 Highlights
The 2021 RHS Chelsea Flower Show has come to an end and it did not disappoint! For the first time in the show's 108 year history, Chelsea was held in Autumn. This change in season has brought an unforgettable experience with new and varying plants and foliage in season for designers to work with. The theme this year unsurprisingly, was based on the positive impact plants can have on our health and wellbeing. With striking autumnal designs and displays on offer, we bring you our favourite gardens and highlights from this year's show!
Show gardens are the main event at Chelsea and this year there were some new categories too! Featuring Balcony Gardens, Container Gardens and Sanctuary Gardens, along with the well established Show and Artisan Gardens! All the gardens this year were fabulous and we would like to congratulate everyone on their designs and hard work from landscapers to designers, florists and sponsors. We have picked out some of the gardens that caught our eye on the day.
BBC/RHS people's best show garden award
The Yeo Valley Organic Garden designed by Tom Massey supported by Sarah Mead and Built by Landscape Associates won the BBC/RHS peoples best show garden award. This nature-filled garden Incorporated habitats and plants found at Yeo Valley’s family-run organic garden in Somerset and is the first-ever organic show garden! It was designed to nurture soil health and biodiversity and support pollinators and other beneficial wildlife. The garden housed a large wooden, glass-bottomed egg that could be used as a wildlife hide and could be lifted higher up for a better view of the gardens. We also really liked that their details card was filled with seeds that could be planted after use!
Best Show Garden
Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden Designed by Peter Chmiel with Chin-Jung Chen, built by The Outdoor Room and sponsored by Guangzhou, China also won gold this year along with best show garden. It highlighted the benefits of responsible city planning and how planners must work in harmony with nature to better connect people with the natural world. Three wooden laminated bamboo structures of varying heights stood proudly amongst the green, white and blue foliage and a body of babbling water.
Best Construction Award
The Trailfinders 50th Anniversary Garden was designed by Jonathan Snow, built by Stewart Landscape Construction and sponsored by Trailfinders. The garden celebrates the origins of the company, which sold its first overland trips to Kathmandu in 1970. Inspired by the landscape, culture and plants of the Himalayan foothills. The colourful flags drew in the eye followed by a leading stone path that led to a hidden wooden Pavillion surrounded by lush greens.
Best Sanctuary Garden
Bible Society: The Psalm 23 Garden was designed by Sarah Eberle and built by Landform Consultants Ltd. This garden won gold along with 'Best Sanctuary Garden' and 'Best Construction Award'. It was inspired by Sarah's home landscape of Dartmoor. The message was one of hope, encouragement and solace. Huge boulder water features and native plants such as hawthorn, rose and ferns made for a beautifully serene space.
Best Artisan Garden
The Blue Diamond Forge Garden was designed by The Blue Diamond Group Team, built by Conquest Creative Spaces and sponsored by Blue Diamond. This garden featured a thatched working forge, inspired by a National Trust-owned, 15th-century forge in Branscombe, Devon, which has been in constant use over the centuries. Edible herbs and medicinal plants were mixed with wildflowers to create this wonderful woodland setting.
The People’s Choice Best Sanctuary/Artisan Garden
The Parsley Box designed by Alan Williams , built by Landform Consultants and sponsored by Parsley Box sought to challenge stereotypes of ageing. The outdoor kitchen and dining area was nestled perfectly amongst beautiful planting with bright sunny colours. The tiered planters added to the accessibility of the garden for all ages. The borders were brimming with edibles to forage, all while minimising food waste. A beautiful space to connect to nature and food and accessible for all.
Finding Our Way: NHS Tribute Garden was designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen Built by Burnham Landscaping Ltd Sponsored by the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This sanctuary garden celebrates the work of the NHS and the collaboration of professionals working to fight the Coronavirus. The planting, hard landscaping and the gentle sound of water provided a safe space for reflection and contemplation. This garden really stood out for the tranquillity it brought. The colours were warming, with an inviting, curved wooden seating area and blue pools of water. The copper details added an earthy but stylish element that reflected the sun beautifully.
The M&G Garden won gold this year and was designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg, built by Crocus and sponsored by M&G. The garden was designed as a shared green haven for people and wildlife, set in a busy urban environment. Originally designed for the May 2020 show, to stimulate conversations over the importance of urban green places. The 100m of metal framework gives a nod to the city's industrial past, softened by planting such as silver-leafed sea buckthorn and autumn olive.
The Calm of Bangkok was designed by Tawatchai Sakdikul and Ploytabtim Suksang and built by AJ Watts Landscaping. the space featured a yin/yang element with light and dark as well as a calming hammock area, exotic planting and a modern-looking pool of water. This garden won a silver-gilt award this year.
Balcony & Container Gardens
Chelsea challenged 5 new designers to create a pocket-sized realistic garden in the footprint of a generous 2m x 5m balcony. Illustrating how to bring urban areas to life, with practical solutions for workable outdoor areas.
The Landform Balcony Garden, designed by Nicola Hale places an emphasis on wildlife, aiming to add habitats to cities. The bright colours certainly attracted a plethora of bees and offered a calming yet functional space.
Martha Krempel’s garden Arcadia was about providing an escape from the bustle of city life with lush planting providing interest wherever one looks. The main feature was the stunning intricate wooden door originally from an Indian palace
John McPherson’s vibrant, playful Pop Street Garden, inspired by pop art was a real treat for the senses with bright props and planting that were a hit with the crowd and a definite talking point at the show.
Hot Tin Roof Garden was designed by Ellie Edkins and built by
Big Fish Landscapes and Topoforma Landscape. Taking inspiration from life at the beach. The curved corrugated steel added structure, mixed with bright green ferns and popping blues against the sandy gravel. The outdoor shower and shelving brought a practical function to the design.
House Plant Studios
House Plants made their RHS debut at Chelsea Flower Show this year with 6 individual studios filled with tonnes of inspiration for every room in the house! It is safe to say they did not disappoint! Each studio was magical in its own way and the plants definitely took centre stage! Providing the public with plenty of ideas on how to create the perfect green space indoors and which plants to use.
All the studios were amazing, showcasing a huge range of houseplants and their applications in the home. Each one transported you to a mini world from forests to pharmacies to bathrooms and beyond!
There were 3 Gold medal winners this year. One that caught our eye was 'The Green Room' by Ian Drummond of Indoor Garden Design and sponsored by Malvern Garden Buildings. The studio was suspended from a bright pink macrame holder with a pink terrace, complete with parasol and seating. Stepping indoors we were greeted with a hanging macrame chair and an array of beautiful plants including polka dot begonia, monstera deliciosa and calathea which filled every corner. Disco balls hung from the ceiling whilst music played and dry ice wafted from a magical luminous pink potting bench all adding to the experience! An unapologetically out there studio that pushed boundaries!
Forest In Your Home by Forest London also won gold. Stepping into the studio felt like walking into the rainforest with hanging vines and dark corners. Carefully placed furniture created the home living aspect with industrial lamps and a laid back chair.
The Great Pavillion
This year Chelsea had a new offering inside the great Pavillion, designers created small scale exhibits and large installations based around issues within the floristry industry such as pollination, preservation and British blooms.
Highlights included the beautiful arrays of Dhalia's by the lovely ladies at Dhalia Beach and gladioli providing bursts of colour and scent throughout the Pavillion. There were water features, harvests, succulents, a discovery zone and even a London bus!
This year, an Italianate market, boasting all the Mediterranean feels was created by Villaggio Verde, an Olive tree grower. Housing specialist growers of rare and unusual produce that would not normally be found at Chelsea. There was a big emphasis on harvest here, showcasing a traditional Italian harvest celebration with vintage market carts filled with seasonal produce.
This year truly was one to remember and we cannot wait to return next year. Follow our Instagram and Facebook pages for more photos and videos from the show and read all about our collaboration with Alitex at this year's Chelsea, in our previous blog post.