"I couldn't have done it without Great Dixter," says RHS Chelsea Best Show Garden winner

Chelsea Flower Show Best Show Garden winner Luciano Giubbilei has said he could not have made his garden without masterful English horticulture and Great Dixter.

Special moment: Luciano Giubbilei (right) with Laurent-Perrier managing director David Hesketh and BBC presenter Nicki Chapman
Special moment: Luciano Giubbilei (right) with Laurent-Perrier managing director David Hesketh and BBC presenter Nicki Chapman

Giubbilei’s garden for sponsor Laurent-Perrier was awarded a gold medal and named Best Show Garden at Chelsea on Tuesday morning. This is his third Chelsea gold but the first time he has won the top accolade. The garden was built by Crocus.

The design mixes contemporary Italian style with traditional English planting, a marriage Giubbilei believed, and the RHS judges agreed, was made in horticultural heaven.

"If you think about a garden with Italian space arrangement, this great understanding of space and English horticultural knowledge, which the English are masters of, I think that mix works very well," he said. "Winning Best Show Garden was a special moment for us, a moment to treasure for quite some time."

He approached Fergus Garrett, head gardener at the Sussex garden, a year and a half ago and has been working on his own border there ever since.

"Luciano phoned me to say he wanted to learn about flowers," Garrett said.

"He’s a very talented guy because he can read space and we know flowers, we were really pleased to help."

Giubbilei said the border allowed him to play with plants.

"It’s a place which is mine and it is in the context of a great garden and I’m surrounded by people who know about plants," he said.

"Without Fergus and James Horner at Great Dixter this garden wouldn’t be like this. Fergus is one of the most experimental gardeners that there is.

"But it isn’t just about flowers, Dixter is a place about values and integrity. It’s about the way we work and the way we treat each other and work together.

"It was wonderful, I came to Dixter and I went into the kitchen there was a lady polishing the silverware, she was about 90 and reminded me of my grandmother, who I grew up with.

"It’s this beautiful connection between old people and young people and a strong emotional attachment to see the things that happen there and the care that’s taken, that’s very special. I think it influenced me as a person, it gives you a way you want to work on your own projects."

Unlike some other Chelsea designers, who think of show gardens as more of a horticultural stage set than a garden, Giubbilei designs in the same way for shows as for clients.

"We have to conceive them as real gardens," he said. "I don’t see any difference between designing for Chelsea and designing for a family garden, it’s not conceptual for me."

For this, his third gold medal-winning garden at the show and built by Crocus, Giubbilei explained that he wanted "really big blocks" of planting where "you can see the form and the colour and that’s the most important thing" and added that his used of space, both in his central pond and rills and in a square of gravel around his tree, was key to appreciating the plants better.

"If you look at the shadows on the gravel, if you don’t have that space you can’t read that," he said.

Six show gardens won gold medals under a new judging regime at this year's Chelsea against 10 last year, there were seven silver-gilts, a silver flora and a bronze flora. Hugo Bugg (RBC Waterscapes Garden), who was named Young Designer of the Year by the RHS in 2010 and Charlotte Rowe (ABF The Soldiers' Charity Garden) both won gold for their first show attempts at Chelsea.

The best Artisan Garden went to the Japanese garden, Togenkyo - Paradise on Earth, designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara for a depiction of Togenkyo.

The Mind's Eye by LDC Design and built by Dave Fountain, Pulham Garden Crafts took the Best Fresh Garden award with their sensory garden for blind and partially sighted people in association with charity RNIB.

In the Great Pavilion the Diamond Jubilee Award went to South West in Bloom and The President’s Award went to Birmingham City Council for its World War One commemorative display designed by head of parks Darren Share. Sparsholt College won Best RHS Discovery exhibit and Linda Porrett Best Floral Arrangement.

The full list of medal winning ehibits at this year's show is as follows:

Show Gardens

  • Gold ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
  • Gold Champagne Laurent-Perrier
  • Gold Homebase
  • Gold M&G Investments
  • Gold Royal Bank of Canada
  • Gold The Telegraph
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Auderset Fischer Design
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Bartholomew Landscaping & Stoke-on-Trent City Council Partnership
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Bord na Móna UK
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Brewin Dolphin
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Cloudy Bay
  • Silver-Gilt Flora First Touch - Supporting Sick and Premature
  • Babies at St George's Hospital
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Help For Heroes
  • Silver Flora Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
  • Bronze Flora BrandAlley UK

Fresh Gardens

  • Gold London Square
  • Gold Newground with John Everiss Design
  • Gold The RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) in Partnership with Countryside
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Gucci
  • Silver-Gilt Flora WellChild
  • Silver Flora City of London Corporation
  • Silver Flora House of Fraser
  • Silver Flora Sophie Walker
  • Silver Flora World Vision
  • Bronze Flora Global Stone Paving

Artisan Gardens

  • Gold DialAFlight
  • Gold Ishihara Kazuyuki Design Laboratory
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Team SAGA
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Viking Cruises
  • Silver-Gilt Flora West Green House Ltd
  • Silver Flora Welcome to Yorkshire
  • Bronze Flora The Roof Gardens

Great Pavilion

  • Gold Ainsworth Displays - Hardy & half hardy palm trees
  • Gold Avon Bulbs Ltd - Flowering bulbs & associated plants
  • Gold Barbados Horticultural Society - Tropical flowers
  • Gold Birmingham City Council - Remembrance commemorates the start of WW1 1914
  • Gold Brookfield Plants - Hostas
  • Gold Chrysanthemums Direct - Cut flower bloom & spray Chrysanthemums
  • Gold Craig House Cacti - Cacti & succulent plants
  • Gold Culm View Nursery - Hardy perennial plants
  • Gold David Austin Roses Ltd - Rose garden
  • Gold Derbyshire Bonsai - Bonsai trees
  • Gold Dibleys Nurseries - Streptocarpus & foliage begonias
  • Gold Downderry Nursery - Lavender
  • Gold Eagle Sweet Peas - Sweet peas arranged in baskets
  • Gold Every Picture Tells A Story - Bromeliads
  • Gold Federation of British Bonsai Societies - British grown Bonsai
  • Gold Fibrex Nurseries Ltd GPE/9 Pelargoniums
  • Gold Hampshire Carnivorous Plants - Sarracenia
  • Gold Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants - Herbaceous perennials in a formal setting
  • Gold Harkness Roses - Modern garden roses in a garden setting
  • Gold Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries - Alpines & woodland plants
  • Gold Harts Nursery GPG/5 Lilies
  • Gold Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants - Temperate & tropical carnivorous plants
  • Gold Hillier Nurseries - Trees, shrubs, climbers & herbaceous plants in a garden setting
  • Gold Hooksgreen Herbs and the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction – The enchanting world of The Peter Rabbit Herb Garden
  • Gold HW Hyde & Son - Growing lilies
  • Gold Interflora (FTDA) British Unit Ltd - Succession
  • Gold J.S.Pennings 'De Bilt' - Hyacinths
  • Gold Jacques Amand International - Bulbous plants, Arisaema, Cypripedium & more
  • Gold Kelnan Plants - Mature Restios & associated South African plants
  • Gold Kevock Garden Plants - Alpine, bog & woodland plants
  • Gold Mendip Bonsai Studio - Bonsai & accent planting
  • Gold National Chrysanthemum Society - Chrysanthemums depicting the solar system
  • Gold Norfield Nurseries Limited - Japanese maples
  • Gold Orchid Society of Great Britain GPH/1The cosmopolitan world of orchids - where, why & how they grow
  • Gold Pattaya City & Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden - Thai culture & orchid extravaganza
  • Gold Peter Beales Roses - Old fashioned & contemporary roses
  • Gold Pheasant Acre Plants - Gladioli
  • Gold Plantagogo.com - Heuchera, Heucherella & Tiarella
  • Gold Primrose Bank - Hardy perennials
  • Gold Raymond Evison Clematis - Clematis
  • Gold Roualeyn Fuchsias - Fuchsias
  • Gold South West in Bloom - The South West is rocking at Chelsea this year!
  • Gold Southfield Nurseries - Cacti & succulent plants
  • Gold Tale Valley Nursery - Shade tolerant perennials
  • Gold Taylors Clematis - Clematis
  • Gold The Botanic Nursery - Digitalis from the National Collection & associated plants
  • Gold Thorncroft Clematis - Clematis
  • Gold Trewidden Nursery - Proteas, restios, Aeonium & other unusual plants
  • Gold Tynings Climbers - Hardy & tender climbers
  • Gold W & S Lockyer - Auriculas in a traditional theatre
  • Gold Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors - Daffodils
  • Gold Warmenhoven - Amaryllis, Alliums & Ornithogalum
  • Gold Waterside Nursery - Aquatic plants
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Barnsdale Gardens - A 'Barnsdale' cottage garden display
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Binny Plants - Peony Pioneers
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Blackmore & Langdon Ltd - Begonias & delphiniums
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Bloms Bulbs - Cut flower tulips
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Bowden Hostas - Hostas
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Brighter Blooms - Zantedeschia
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Burncoose Nurseries - Display of trees, shrubs & perennials
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Cayeux Iris - Bearded iris
  • Silver-Gilt Flora City of Cape Town - The wonders of Cape Town
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Daisy Roots - Drought tolerant perennials & grasses
  • Silver-Gilt Flora D'Arcy & Everest - Alpine & sempervivum troughs
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Drointon Nurseries - Primula auricula
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Eversley Nursery - Unusual grasses, sedges & grass-like plants
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Grenada-Suzanne Gaywood - Tropical flowers & spices of Grenada
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Harveys Garden Plants - Rare shade & woodland plants
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Heucheraholics - Heuchera, Heucherella & Tiarella
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Hippopottering - Japanese maple woodland
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Just Airplants - Airplants & other bromeliads
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Kelways Plants - Peonies, tree peonies & irises
  • Silver-Gilt Flora McBean's Orchids - A range of orchid species & hybrids
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Penhow Nurseries - Perennial Diasia & Nemesia
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Pennard Plants - 'The Gardeners have all gone!' 1914-1918
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Perennial Gardeners' Royal Benevolent
  • Society - A celebration of 175 years helping horticulturalists
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Philip Tivey & Son - Alstroemeria
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Potash Nursery - Fuchsias
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Rickards Ferns - Ferns & tree ferns
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Sallis Chandler Landscape Designers & Gardeners - Nature's Hidden Heroes: Bees-Butterflies-Bugs
  • Silver-Gilt Flora South African National Biodiversity Institute - Kirstenbosch - South African wildflowers
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Topiary Arts - Sculptural topiary enhanced by underplanting
  • Silver-Gilt Flora UK Horticulture Waitrose & National
  • Farmers' Union - British grown fruit, flowers, vegetables & plants
  • Silver-Gilt Flora W Robinson & Son (Seeds & Plants) Ltd - Vegetables
  • Silver-Gilt Flora Westcountry Nurseries - Lupins
  • Silver Flora Creative Garden Design - Leamington Spa: The Garden Town of Shakespeareland
  • Silver Flora Enterprise Plants - A secret pleasure garden
  • Silver Flora Hoyland Plant Centre - Agapanthus & Tulbaghia
  • Silver Flora K Partington - Alpine & rock garden plants in a garden setting
  • Silver Flora Ken Muir Ltd - Fruiting strawberries
  • Silver Flora NAFAS - A Green Thought in a Green Shade
  • Silver Flora Oak Tree Nursery - Ornamental grasses & grass-like plants
  • Silver Flora PW Bamboo - Bamboos & associated plants
  • Silver Flora Victorian Violas - Hardy perennial violas
  • Silver Flora Westdale Nurseries - Bougainvillea
  • Bronze Flora Nicky Dominique Gurret & The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Bermuda - The Bermuda Double Fantasy Garden

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