Traditional gardens shine at Chelsea Flower Show

Planting schemes and designs mark a move away from modernism by garden designers at world-famous event

Old-fashioned gardening dominated the Chelsea Flower Show on May 21-24 with cottage-style planting schemes, traditional materials and well-loved plants evident in many of the displays. The top show garden was Kent-based Roger Platts Garden Design & Nurseries for Garden Open. This nostalgic design was built in partnership Jupp & Sons, of Sussex. One of many gardens to embrace traditional themes, eschewing the modernism that has dominated recent years at Chelsea, Garden Open was a tribute to 75 years of the National Gardens Scheme. It took the subject of a garden, neglected on one side, and well tended on the other. It featured rambling roses, colourful perennials and a range of shrubs such as Cistus, Hebe and Photinia. Two other gold medals were awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society. Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, which sponsored the whole show, also sponsored designer Stephen Woodhams in the Sanctuary Garden. Large hornbeams sourced from Pistoia in Italy led the eye to a water feature at the end. This was a wall in which was a glass disc represented the moon and sun. Another water feature, embedded in a cream limestone terrace at the front, was a shallow zinc pool. Flowers were also supplied by Woodhams, which is based in London. Irish designer Mary Reynolds created the third gold medal winner in her debut at Chelsea. Tearmann sí – A Celtic Sanctuary was another garden with a semi-wilderness theme, incorporating native Irish plants such as yarrow, hart’s tongue fern and spleenwort. The elements of earth, air, fire and water were combined in a design that had a grass mound and hawthorn and elder – trees important to Celtic lore. Six silver-gilt medals were awarded, five silvers – including for the Prince Charles-designed Laurent-Perrier Healing Garden – along with five bronzes. Visit or for further information on the Chelsea Flower Show.

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