Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Postcard from Chelsea: Medals day

The Daily Telegraph Garden won Best in Show for the second time running - though unlike last year's rather cool and unengaging garden I totally fell in love with Andy Sturgeon's passionate, warm design.

The write-up goes on about Southern Cape fynbos and Mediterranean maquis in a rather overblown travel guide sort of way that entirely fails to do justice to what is so engaging about this garden. I could go on for ages about all the things I loved most about it: but I'll just pick out a couple that everyone could borrow easily to adapt in their own garden.

  • The first is the echoes that run right through the planting. For example: he picks up the silver spikes of those Verbascum bombyciferum 'Polarsommar' with relatively low-growing Eryngium giganteum nestling by the ground and then echoes it again in the tall, stately Onopordium acanthium at the back (now I know where all those onopordums I saw at Crocus earlier this year were destined for). The result is a three-layer planting with symmetry running like a thread to draw your eye through the garden.

  • The second is the simple trick of picking up the colours of your hard landscaping (in this case, corten steel) very precisely in your planting. Here's a pic to prove the point. I have yet to find out what the cultivar of these bearded irises is: but when I do, I shall acquire some forthwith (and hopefully some corten steel to go with it: it is a match made in heaven).

  • And last but not least: quite simply, the planting was sublime. Quite a muted palette of silver, bronze and purple: which has now become one of my all-time favourite combinations. This is the one which is going in my notebook so that one day I can nick it pretty much wholesale for my garden.

I haven't quite got it all yet, but a good start would be:

Verbascum 'Clementine'
Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
Euphorbia 'Blue Haze'
Euphorbia mellifera
Geum 'Cooky'
Eryngium giganteum
Libertia peregrinans
Nepeta racemosa 'Walkers Low'
Ozothamnus ledifolius
Stipa tenuissima


La Petite Gallery said...

That is such a lovely post the gardens are beautiful. I have lambs ear and veronica in my rock gardens. I have to say the colors in your post are so soft and lovely.


Wild Somerset Child said...

Lovely - thanks for going there 'for me' as I could not have stood the journey down and back, nor the crowds. Love those bearded Iris, and I have plenty of junk rusty steel lying around here; so maybe ....

Victoria said...

I loved it. I also liked the fact that it was very different from last year - shows he's not a one-trick pony.

Plant-driven Garden Designer based in SW London & North Cornwall said...

I, like Wild Somerset Child, was unable to get to Chelsea this year but the TV coverage is so good I felt I was there. However, your blog is even better - I would love to have seen Andy Sturgeon's garden in the flesh - it looks lovely. Great pictures Sally.

Related Posts with Thumbnails