The Greatest Flower Show on Earth - The Blooms
Saturday, 31 May 2014
The Chelsea Flower Shower is with out a doubt the greatest horticultural show on earth. I was lucky enough to book my tickets before they sold out in record time this year, apparently due to the 'Titchmarsh' effect (Alan Titchmarsh returned to design a garden at Chelsea 30 years after his last Chelsea garden, it also marked his 50 years in horticulture). This year wasn't just a year for grand returns however, this year was marked out by the number of young designers exhibiting at Chelsea for the first time and for some with spectacular results.
I'm still mulling over all I saw at Chelsea this year, it was a feast for the senses and for me some reflection is required before I determine which aspects truly stand out and consequently how I will add them to my garden in the future. You see although Chelsea is a marvelous spectacle, it is also a mirage. It exists fleetingly and then vanishes so of course there is a certain level of artifice involved. What works beautifully at Chelsea viewed from a walkway may not have practical application in a real garden. So today I am bringing you a peek, a flash of beauty, the best blooms from Chelsea Flower Show 2014.
DAVID AUSTEN ROSES
The scent of a rose is intoxicating and evocative. For me it brings back memories of childhood and summer. The David Austen stand in the Great Pavilion was deeply scented, so much so that my friend and I quite lost ourselves in there... in fact the experience was so heady that if I were a smoker I would have needed a cigarette afterwards. Instead giddy from the sweet aroma I decided to buy three bareroot roses (to be delivered in November) and one rose from the stand 'Jacqueline du Pré'. Jacqueline is now nestled in my border between peonies, a box ball and a sambuca I'm training as a small standard tree. The open cup of petals reveal wonderfully coloured pink stamen that hold aloft pollen for bees.
These poppies were among dozens that caught my eye at Chelsea this year. I don't think they can rivaled for impact in a border when coupled with their airy delicate nature. The petals of this variety looked like crinkled paper and would be stunning in a cut flower arrangement.
These are possibly the most photographed lupins on the planet, such was their impact in the Great Pavilion that the crowd was over five people deep just to take a picture. The sheer array of colour was mesmirising. Lupins can be grown as annuals or herbaceous perennials and I must have had my finger on the horticultural pulse of the nation back in February when I chose to raise both types from seed in my greenhouse this year. I can't wait to see how they do in the borders.
Iris is a welcome favourite at Chelsea, I love this naturalistic planting idea which is perfect for a damp corner of the garden.
Gardens filled with lavender are a joy to behold, there are colours to suit every planting scheme and they are an invaluable source of food for bees and other pollinating insects. I love to offset the vibrant hues by planting it with roses and black lily turf (ophiopogon nigrescens).
Downderry Nursery Stand in the Great Pavilion
How did The Chelsea Flower Show inspire you this year?
Lavender image courtesy of The RHS all other images ©Bella & Bear 2014.