RHS Chelsea Best in Show winner reveals environmental message

This year's RHS Chelsea Best in Show garden has a deeper message, about the future of our environment in Europe, according to its designer James Basson.

The M&G Garden by James Basson - image: HW
The M&G Garden by James Basson - image: HW

The M&G Garden – a first Best in Show for both designer and sponsor – was inspired by Malta and its many quarries, which Besson said are being slowly turned into rubbish dumps.

"Malta is a good symbol of where we are heading as a culture in Europe. They don’t have enough water now and have to ship it in. Waste is becoming a big issue there and the quarries are used as landfill.   

"They’ve been quarrying there for hundreds of years. It’s a great shame they are using them as tips." Instead Besson dreams of them being turned into gardens, and so designed his quarry garden as a space where nature had taken over.

Another lesson Malta can teach us about our future is that British gardeners will have to get used to drier conditions in the future, due to climate change. The designer, who moved to Monaco in the South of France with his family in his teens, is an expert in dry landscapes and runs his studio Scape Design from the French town. 

His RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden explored nature has adapted to reclaim a man-made landscape, using a naturalistic planting style, featuring grasses, heathers and evergreens found in the Mediterranean.

It is the first time some of the plants have been seen in the UK, thanks to the Maltese government giving James special permission to use and transport them to the show. Darniella melitense, Limonium melitense, Mattiola incana subsp. and the Melitense are unique to Malta.

He said winning Best in Show for the first time at Chelsea "is an incredible feeling and a testimony to the hard work of the whole team, including Crocus and my wife Helen, and I am very grateful to M&G for its support." 

Basson has won won four Chelsea golds in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and a silver gilt in 2012. 

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