Nick Bailey hires Japanese master gardeners to create Chelsea show garden

Chelsea Physic Garden head gardener Nick Bailey has hired three Japanese gardeners to help create his debut Chelsea Flower Show garden on Main Avenue.

Landscapers working on the Winton Beauty of Mathematics garden. Image: Max HorberryImage: Max Horberry
Landscapers working on the Winton Beauty of Mathematics garden. Image: Max HorberryImage: Max Horberry

Eiko, Tsyako and Motoko are among 15 planters in a 40-strong team working on the garden. They caught Bailey's eye for their extreme attention to detail, precise skills and exact actions. These same ideas underpin the Winton Garden, which celebrates the beauty found in the mathematics and algorithms which underpin all plants, growth and life.

Its layout is based on the mathematical symbol for infinity, with further well-known mathematical expressions and concepts evident in the central area of the garden's path and planting layout.

Bailey, who is head gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden, said, "These extraordinary gardeners have the capacity to wade into complex delicate planting schemes, make an adjustment and return without leaving a trace of them ever having been there. Though the Winton garden has elements of naturalistic planting, making this work is a precise science, a science at which Japanese gardeners are masters."

The garden is full of Southern Hemisphere and Mediterranean plant species, including Aloe polyphylla (which is a perfect Fibonnacci spiral), Aeonium tabuliforme and pines and plants from the Asteraceae family. Purple and violet flowered perennials feature significantly and are complemented with planting in tones of chartreuse, silver and white. Key plants include Banksia integrifolia, Lotus berthelotii and Corokia cotoneaster.

Bailey said: "Chelsea is the world's greatest flower show, nothing tops it. I have visited the show for over 20 years and to finally be creating a garden rather than looking at other people's is thrilling.

"Winton have been incredibly supportive throughout the process of developing the garden, which has taken 14 months to bring together. I'm honoured to be representing such an innovative and dynamic company for their Chelsea debut."

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