Show Gardens

Show gardens are found at garden shows such as the Chelsea Flower Show held annually in London. They are created by garden designers to showcase new ideas in garden design as well as new plants and flowers. The public views them in the same way as looking at a piece of art work. As such they intend to provoke discussion and debate as much as to provide entertainment and enjoyment. Visitors to garden shows are looking for ideas to implement in their own gardens.

Landscapes or gardens? 

The winner of the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show  best in show garden was called A Rewilding British Landscape designed by Lucy Urquhart and Adam Hunt. This garden included a dam built by beavers across a small stream and swathes of wild flowers. The intention was to give amateur gardeners an idea of how to re-wild their own back gardens. However many gardeners, including BBC presenter Monty Don, argued that it was more a landscape than a garden.  After all gardening is meant to be an activity which controls nature.  A truly wild garden is not a garden at all.

Providing Inspiration

Nurseries and growers  use garden shows to show off the range of their plants  and introduce new varieties. Garden shows provide an opportunity for professionals to meet and to discuss new ideas and fashions. Garden designers follow fashion and the current fashion is to allow nature to recover and to re-wild the landscape.

Show gardens are artificial constructs, built in a matter of weeks with expensive hard landscaping and crowded planting. An experienced amateur gardener would find it very difficult to recreate such gardens in their own usually limited spaces.

A Typical Show Garden

At this year’s RHS Chelsea Garden Show one of the show gardens was The St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots Garden designed by Cityscapes (Darryl Moore and Adolfo Harrison). This aimed to show that green spaces in towns and cites could be created to provide personal, social and health benefits such as providing a sense of well-being, peace and tranquillity. The hard landscaping was made from recycled materials and the planting included a lot of foliage. The eye-catching orange and pink structures contrasted with the green plants. Issues of sustainability were not of importance. Instead what mattered most in the design was visual impact and innovation. Many gardeners would be perplexed as how to adapt such a design in their own back gardens.

To find out more visit the  BBC Chelsea website

and the Royal Horticultural website

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