Chilly Chelsea

Chelsea was freezing! Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration (and although I’m prone to innocent bouts of exaggeration, at times, that’s still pushing it). Chelsea was cold. And grey. All day. No let up; no sun.

Let’s face it, gardens come to life in sunlight and an absence of the golden rays falling on beautifully, expectant gardens does rather dampen the ‘ooh, ahh’ factor. So I’ve waited a few days before committing my Chelsea Centennial views and opinions, to offset the distraction of inclemency.

Given this was a celebration of 100 years of the Chelsea Flower Show, or the Great Spring Fair, as it was known when it started its life in 1913, it was a tad disappointing. Although well represented by a garden-full of well known and respected garden designers, Ulf Nordjfell, Chris Beardshaw, Robert Myers, Jinny Blom, Roger Platts and Christopher Bradley-Hole, notable by their absence were Diarmuid Gavin, Cleve West and Andy Sturgeon.

Main Avenue played host, as usual to the aforementioned ‘big ticket’ designers, including the up and coming talent of Professor Nigel Dunnett, Jo Thompson and Adam Frost.

A veritable shower of gold medals were bestowed upon the designers this year, with Main Avenue recipients including Beardshaw, Myers, Dunnett, Nordjfell and Bradley-Hole. Blom’s much anticipated return to Chelsea with the disappointing, Prince Harry inspired charity Sentebale garden was somewhat generously awarded silver-gilt. Jo Thompson’s beautiful ‘Stop the Spread’ garden (her first ‘large’ Main Avenue garden) was cheated with a sorry silver. Whilst Best in Show was somewhat surprisingly awarded to Flemings Australian Garden, presented by Trailfinders.

For me, Best in Show was the Balston-Agius designed East Village Garden, which nods towards East Village, the 2012 Olympic legacy.


Beautiful, lush planting with notable inclusion of Zantedeschias, Matteucia, Azalea luteum and Rhododendron macabeanum, around a gently, curving, stream of water, meandering alongside a honey-coloured brickette pathway. A beautiful, cantilevered, curved and screened seating area sits snugly amongst the planting.

Sheer class!

For more information visit:

More Chelsea Show Gardens to follow shortly…

Author: Mike the Gardener

Freelance gardening writer, consultant and designer. Mike Palmer is a passionate and professional plantsman, offering services in garden writing, consultancy and garden design. Mike is also available for garden and plant related talks and presentations. Mike has been a professional horticulturalist for over fifteen years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: