It was a particularly rain-swept visit to Chelsea this year. Undeterred, Carolyn and I decided that the monsoonal weather did provide some great photographic opportunities.


Being a Chelsea fan I do get fed up with comments on the ticket price,and the crowds. Speaking for the tens of thousands of people who choose to go, it is a truly remarkable horticultural experience, design ideas to soak up,nursery men and women to talk with and new plants to be wowed by. It is my favourite day of the year. If you think it is expensive, well just don’t go is my simple answer.


If I had to have an overall favourite show garden then it would go to Hugo Bugg for his RBC Waterscape Garden. I found the design fresh and innovative. I loved the tessellated tiles. It was engaging, in fact it was mesmerizing. I felt that this was a complete garden. The internal spaces linked together seamlessly to create an incredibly well structured and cohesive design. I loved the choice of Hugo’s planting, particularly the Anenome White Swan.

I thought the planting around the pool in the No Man’s Land garden was perfectly beautiful.

Admittedly I did find one or two of the main show gardens just a little on the bland side (design wise) with water features and borders which were safe on the eye,offering no visual challenges that are so important in moving garden design forward.

There are certain gardens which I still have a strong visual memory of from years ago. Diarmuid Gavin’s show gardens always packed a great design punch. In 2007 there was a brilliantly bold garden by Sarah Eberle, which was a representation of a terrestial space garden on the planet Mars.


The floral marquee is always fantastic,the range of plants was eye-popping and the floral dresses were of great skill an beauty. On Saturday I think they had the largest queue of anything we saw.

Maybe I should get my act together,stop criticising others and work up a scheme with my landscape and garden designing friends and see where it takes us. No safe planting,plenty of excavation,lots of deep dark colours and a sculpture or two.

So here are some of my top images. This sculpture was my most memorable view of the whole show. It stopped me in my tracks. It was an incredibly powerful statement and made me think of a persons capacity of finding internal strength and the ability to keep on keeping on when life gets a bit tough. I really wanted to buy it.


My two top flowers were Verbascum Gainsborough – a beautiful primrose yellow colour and Cersium heterophyllum – an iridescent purple thistle like perennial. I am going to invest in both.

So home now trying to get to grips with my own garden – it may take some time .