LG Eco Garden. Photos: Adrienne Wyper

It’s not quite as quick and easy to give your garden a fresh look as it is to update an outfit, but if you approach it like wearing an old favourite (your existing garden) with different accessories, you can achieve a new focus, says Adrienne Wyper at Chelsea Flower Show.

Complementary colours

Cherub HIV Garden

As you may recall from school art classes, colours found opposite each other on the colour wheel, blue and orange, or purple and yellow, mutually enhance each other, an effect demonstrated by The Cherub HIV Garden: A Life Without Walls, and the RHS Wellbeing Garden. As Cherub HIV Garden designer Naomi Ferrett Cohen says: ‘Stick to a limited palette…less is more’.

One-shade wonders

Spirit of Cornwall

Swathes of a single colour abound in this year’s show gardens, whether spanning the whole plot, or in one patch. Green is the natural go-to for VTB Capital Garden – Spirit of Cornwall, inspired by Barbara Hepworth’s work, and designed by Stuart Charles Towner, who confided that he was ‘slightly disappointed’ with a Silver-Gilt medal. Blue is the hue in much of the RHS Wellbeing Garden, and co-ordinating citrus shades are used both for flowers and soft furnishings in the LG-Eco garden, an idea that’s easy to copy with a few cushions in the right colour (top photo).

Favourite flowers

Skin Deep Garden

Every year at Chelsea Flower Show, one or two species are seen in many show gardens. This year, as Nigel Slater noted in his Instagram feed, ‘If there is one flower dominating #rhschelsea this year it is the foxglove and I couldn’t be happier.’ And I couldn’t agree more. The tapering spires of the Digitalis family appear in white, lemon, apricot, pink and mauve, the innards of the bell-shaped blooms darkly spotted, rising up from the Skin Deep Garden, Welcome to Yorkshire and The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate, among others.

Seedlip Garden

The Gold-winning Seedlip Garden takes a penchant for peas to new lengths: every single plant is from the pea family, and dried peas are even used as shingle!

Repurposing and recycling

Lemon Tree Trust Garden

Growing things is one of the most basic human urges, symbolic of putting down roots. In The Lemon Tree Trust Garden, which won Silver-Gilt, designer Tom Massey worked with refugees in Iraq to create a garden that reflects their resourcefulness in repurposing the materials they have to hand to use as planting containers, such as plastic bottles, drainpipes, tin cans and building blocks, all put to use in the garden to grow food and flowers.

Recycling in the garden

The Weston Garden, balancing the traditional and modern, includes lots of recycled items, like the York stone and limestone slips, and many of the plants have visited Chelsea before, which brings to mind, on a smaller scale, moving plants or containers around in your own garden.

Feathery and frothy

Lots of gardens looked light and airy, with space to see between the plants, thanks to the use of grasses, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace. These add movement to a garden, swaying and swishing in the lightest breeze. Sarah Price, designer of the gold-winning Mediterranean-influenced M&G Garden (who also designed the 2012 gardens at London’s Olympics Park) incorporated ground-hugging herbs punctuated with taller, wispy, diaphanous specimens.

Adrienne Wyper writes about gardening, and other good stuff. See her work at adriennewyper2015.com

10 thoughts on “Trends to take away from the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

  1. The first photo!! Mouthwatering colours… yellow, peach, fresh green!
    Stunning, and inspiring for my balcony as well as in my wardrobe.

  2. Pleased to see you extending your portfolio of topics covered in this blog Alyson to the Gospel choir at the wedding. I enjoyed all of it the gorgeous Amal Clooney outfit in sunflower yellow coordinated with the handsome arm candy in the form of trophy husband George as some journalist described them. I watch Suits on Netflix so enjoyed seeing the whole cast of actors there. And the wonderful braided hairdos of gospel choir.
    On to garden planting and colour schemes this is great to see. I especially liked the serene Cornwall one with its Bertoia wire chairs. Used to own one of those. And the refugee Mediterranean planted one which has featured widely in television coverage. A day or so ago saw a beautiful garden for mental health problems with a serene interior space leading out into a tranquil garden probably with some falling water. Thanks for this coverage Alyson.

  3. I think lupins are one of the stars of the show – and remind me of my childhood. They come in scores of colours – pure delight.

  4. Oh so nice to see what I remember as a English garden! I love lupines, didn’t I see some of those in the pics? Also the foxglove is another favorite of mine. Did you see any delphiniums in the garden? I now live in Florida and cannot grow any of these faves of mine!

  5. What a display of gorgeous gardens and flowers. I would love to go to the show one day. Such a happy week – Chelsea Flower Show gorgeousness and a Royal Wedding! I MUST be getting old – am I the only bright-young thing of 60 who has started really listening to birdsong? Life IS a funny lark (no pun intended).

  6. I have lupins, delphiniums, foxgloves & roses in my garden, but as I live in NE England they are several months from blooming! That’s not counting the possible malign influence of the ‘beast from the east’…. Love CFS!!

  7. Maudie I too walk through my local parks under tree boughs listening to birdsong. It is a pleasure and not one confined to us oldies. To fully appreciate it one has to be in the moment and savouring that moment
    Last night a charming robin flew from my plum tree towards my potted flowers as we had our barbecued supper. First one I’ve seen all year at close hand and in late May.

    1. One of the things I love most about London is the amount of green space. You can’t beat a stroll around the local park on a Sunday!

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