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Captivating Garden Trends from the Chelsea Garden Show


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By Hazel Fulton on 16th June 2023

Step into the enchanting world of the Chelsea Garden Show and discover the captivating trends that will shape your gardening choices.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of the Chelsea Flower Show, where artistic expressions come to life and influence not only our plant preferences but also the realms of food, fashion, and design. As we anticipate the upcoming grandeur of the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July, let's explore the prevailing themes that emerged from Chelsea and are set to permeate the rest of this summer's shows.

Embrace the Elegance of Muted Colour Palettes

The garden that stole the spotlight this year, captivating social media audiences worldwide, was none other than Sarah Price's breathtaking Nurture Landscapes garden. The leading designers opted for a departure from intensely saturated hues, and Price's creation embodied this trend in its purest form. Inspired by the works of visionary plantsman Cedric Morris, Price's garden was akin to stepping into a living masterpiece.

With her fine-art background, Price's innate understanding of colour theory comes as no surprise. She artfully combined two-tone irises, Sicilian honey garlic, and smoky succulents against sand and terracotta backdrops, evoking dreamlike scenes brimming with exquisite details in faded shades of olive, apricot, burnt umber, and smoky mauve. Above it all, a meticulously positioned, cloud-shaped Scot's Pine seemed almost ethereal. Never before has a planting plan been so reminiscent of a cinematic aesthetic.

© Neil Hepworth, Sarah Price's Nurture Landscapes garden
© Neil Hepworth, Sarah Price's Nurture Landscapes garden

Indulge in Edimentals: Where Beauty Meets Flavour

The term "edimentals" has taken the gardening world by storm, seamlessly blending the concepts of ornamental and edible. As the "grow your own" movement gained momentum during the pandemic, edimentals emerged as the latest evolution, perfect for small urban gardens where space constraints prohibit the separation of produce and flowers.

The surging popularity of plant-based diets has likely contributed to this trend. A remarkable observation at Chelsea this year was that over half of the show gardens embraced edimentals. Flowers such as borage, marigold, and nasturtiums, alongside visually pleasing vegetables like rainbow chard and flowering beans, added a delightful touch to the gardens. Notably, Savills, the esteemed estate agents, presented a garden by Mark Gregory, featuring the first functional outdoor kitchen as part of their country house hotel concept. The walled garden, adorned with vibrant edimentals, offered a visual feast for the senses. Sam Buckley, the resident Green Michelin-starred chef, foraged fresh ingredients from the garden each day to craft stunning lunches, savoured in a sunken dining area.

Society garlic, (Tulbaghia violacea)
Society garlic, (Tulbaghia violacea)

Embrace the Allure of the Wild Look

The notion of rewilding has long captivated our imagination, and this year at Chelsea, it reached new heights. The allure of naturalistic landscapes, where human intervention is minimal, captivated both designers and visitors alike. Surprisingly, weeds—rechristened as "superweeds" or "hero-weeds"—purposefully found their place in many show gardens, sparking lively discussions.

Cleve West's garden for Centrepoint, the esteemed homelessness charity, transported us to a decaying Victorian townhouse where nature had triumphed. Overgrown ornamental plants mingled harmoniously with dandelions, cleavers, herb robert, and other native wildflowers, defying preconceived notions about their compatibility.

Overgrown, wild garden with emphasis on weeds
© Neil Hepworth, Cleve West's garden for Centrepoint

“If it looks beautiful, why not keep it?” said Steve Williams of Wild City Studio, designers of The Balance Garden for the Centre for Mental Health, which also embraced wild plants and native trees. Of course, ‘weeds’ don’t just look beautiful; they also create an ecologically rich environment for insects. Elsewhere at Chelsea woodland-edge meadow plants like nectar-rich buttercups and cow parsley were paired with decaying lumps of wood: the perfect habitat for minibeasts.

The Chelsea Garden Show has once again proven its prowess as a trendsetter, influencing not only the world of plants but also the realms of fashion, design, and gastronomy. As we eagerly await the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and other summer shows, let us immerse ourselves in the enchantment of these trends, allowing them to guide us toward a more luxurious, harmonious, and sustainable way of life. So, venture forth, embrace the muted tones, indulge in the beauty of edimentals, and unleash your wild side as we celebrate the timeless allure of nature's wonders in our pursuit of a truly exquisite lifestyle.

Woman smelling flowers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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