In my last blog I talked about the gardens I had seen at the Chelsea Flower Show that I thought could translate into an Australian garden easily. With this blog I will look at the more weird and wonderful gardens that you only see at a show like Chelsea.
Firstly, Diarmuid Gavin's pyramid garden. This was a garden made of black scaffolding with gold joiners fashioned into a 100ft high pyramid! Its sounds unbelievable and crazy and it was! The lower levels showcased woodland plants like tree ferns and rhododendrons (both of which you can grow in Oz) a level up showed interesting use of raised gardens for veggies and herbs.
Further up still secret nooks started to appear for sitting, storing and entertaining. The very top of the pyramid had a tree planter box with Birch bursting out of the structure. Now I’m terrified of heights and didn’t fancy taking the internal lift down so was very happy to take the slide that wrapped around the pyramid down to the bottom of the garden!
I was lucky enough to pick Diarmuids brain about the design and he is well aware that nobody in their right mind would ever want a 100ft pyramid in their back garden but he does think the design has more merit than simply shocking people.
The main aim of the design is to show off no matter the space you are confronted with there is a way to make it into a garden. All the angles he was faced with were cleverly manipulated to create usable spaces and lots of plants were added to make the space feel comfortable and livable. He also mentioned gardens should be fun … and his certainly was!
Another garden that had a bit of fun was Doris the caravan garden by Jo Thompson. I loved this garden and thought the planting a real standout but the main feature of the garden was a 1950’s aluminum caravan.
The caravan was a great example of how to have fun in a garden without going over the top. I think something like this would make an excellent workspace, alternative guest accommodation or a kids’ cubby house; in fact I have been looking for a roll top gypsy caravan for my garden for ages now and its great to see I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.
As mentioned before Jo’s planting was a real standout and when questioned about it I found out she plants like I do. She starts with the bigger items such as trees and then moves onto the large shrubs like the candelabra shaped viburnums she used. Lastly the smaller items like foxgloves and cowslips go in to fill the space up.
Another mention has to be given to the repetition of detail she used to tie the garden together. The print detail on the side of the caravan was repeated in the bottom of the water rills that crisscrossed the garden floor, by doing this it makes the space feel more planned and less like it has a caravan plonked in it.
If you can’t tell I was very fond of this garden and feel it deserved a gold medal over the silver it achieved.
Another one that was way out there was the glamour lands garden, the crew and I nicknamed this garden the disavowed unicorn and if you look at the picture you’ll know why!
I’m not quite sure how to describe this garden or what tips I can give you about it …. I guess it shows how to embrace what you like, remember your garden is yours and nobody else’s so make it how you want it.
Next week I’ll be looking at the more traditional Chelsea show gardens.
Charlie Albone flew Virgin Atlantic to the U.K