5 must-see gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

·3 min read
 (RHS / Neil Hepworth)
(RHS / Neil Hepworth)

Rewilding, mental health and a celebration of craftmanship were the key themes at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Below are five of the best gardens to see.

The Mind Garden

 (RHS / Sarah Cuttle)
(RHS / Sarah Cuttle)

Andy Sturgeon is a Chelsea veteran who has designed ten show gardens winning nine gold medals and three Best in Show titles. His garden for mental health charity Mind is typical of his meticulous plantsmanship and immaculate design. Curving highly textured walls dance around the space each protecting pockets of planting – some calm and serene such as a lovely corner filled with the arching branches of Rosa glauca with its hot pink single flowers – alongside much busier areas such as one bed filled with Oxeye daisies, deep burgundy poppies, achillea, hot pink Byzantine gladiolus and graceful arching stems of Stipa gigantea.

The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden

Jamie Butterworth (PA)
Jamie Butterworth (PA)

Like many of this year’s show gardens Jamie Butterworth’s gold medal winning garden is a garden with a message. Made for the mental health charity Place2Be which provides mental health support for children within schools, the lush and pretty garden will be broken down and rebuilt at Viking Primary School in Northolt. A curving path leads visitors in a sunken seating area, which in turn is cocooned by multi-stem trees and pretty and lush planting that includes centranthus, verbascums, baptisia, camassias and the vivid blue spires of anchusa.

Mothers for Mothers

Polly Wilkinson (RHS / LUKE MACGREGOR)
Polly Wilkinson (RHS / LUKE MACGREGOR)

Polly Wilkinson has designed her first Chelsea garden this year and is following it up with a garden at the Hampton Court Garden festival – the RHS’s high summer show held in July. Her garden is dissected with large metal arches with a central rill and planting that moves from a more somber and subdued darker space into a more colourful one, echoing the dark experience of post-natal depression that new mothers can experience and the emergence into a happier headspace represented by a pastel filled zone packed with joyful flowers including Irises ‘Big Squeeze’ and ‘Wondrous’ as well as the ethereal rose ‘The Lark Ascending’.

Rewilding Britain Landscape

 (Lucy Young)
(Lucy Young)

In a show where wilderness was found in almost every corner and nettles, cow parsley and other weeds were welcomed with open arms the Rewilding Britain Landscape, which is also the Best in Show garden. The garden, designed by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt has a lush meadow planted with wild foxgloves and grasses and rough timber walkways over streams echoing the dramatic transformation of the land as we welcome beavers back into the landscape. A pool has been dammed by beavers with tree debris and woodchip.

Morris & Co.

 (RHS / Neil Hepworth)
(RHS / Neil Hepworth)

Ruth Willmott’s gold medal winning garden for Morris & Co is a total crowd pleaser with the prettiest planting palette based on medieval colours and a simple but highly effective grid system of narrow paths and square beds inspired by William Morris’s very first wallpaper design Trellis which was created in 1862. Willmott did a deep dive into the father of the Arts & Crafts movement and created her own stable of craftspeople to create everything from a laser cut central pavilion (decorated with Morris’ Willow Boughs pattern), handmade clay pavers, willow walls woven by Suffolk weaver Peter Dibble and Yorkstone cut by hand for the paths and walls. All of which is contrasted with the gorgeous planting with poppies, verbasums, anchusa and many different varieties of willow tree.

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