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Chelsea 2012: Sarah Price garden design influences

Sarah Price, designer of this year’s Telegraph garden at Chelsea Flower Show, talks about some of the places from her childhood and her travels that have influenced her style of planting.

My planting has definitely been influenced by the Dutch heemparks (Heemparken), especially the Dr. Jac P Thijssepark (thijssepark.nl), De Braak, Kwekerij en de Doorbraak park and the smaller Dr. Koos Landwehr Park.

Also areas of Henk Gerritsen’s Priona garden in Schuinesloot in the east of Holland (particularly the pond edge and tiny damp meadow areas). See gardenvisit.com/garden/priona_tuinen.

Whilst different landscape types have been really influential on the Chelsea design, it’s important to emphasise that I’m not trying to recreate a specific place or type of habitat. Rather, it’s an abstract take on a number of different plant communities. So I will be using lots of poetic licence and overlap. Native plants will be dominant but I may well use a few non-natives as well.

Inspirational landscapes for me include flower-rich wetlands and damp meadows. But rather than attempting to replicate one spectacular place, I refer back to many different places from different times: plants I’ve glimpsed growing along hedgerow verges in spring (say in the Welsh Black Mountains, in Wareham in Dorset and on Dartmoor). Recently I’ve been looking at stone for the garden and the sides of a limestone quarry I visited have also stuck in my mind. All these places influence my planting.

One place near my family home which I’ve yet to visit is Trewalkin Meadow Nature Reserve. It has has lovely damp meadows with many species that I’m using at Chelsea, including globeflower, betony (hopefully), ragged robin, great burnet, meadowsweet and orchids. This is definitely the feel I’m after.

Inspiration comes from many places, sometimes unexpected. The layout of the Telegraph garden was influenced by square swimming pools that jut out into the sea, as I’ve seen at Margate, and also the square salt pans I’ve seen in Gozo. And quarries, with their abstract line of stones cut and waiting for delivery, are another image that feeds into my design. More HERE

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