Rather than simply visiting the Chelsea show ground this year, one of the royal family members got their hands dirty and co-designed the RHS Back to Nature Garden. It would have been easy, then, for this garden to steal the show. After all, Kate’s five-year-old son Prince George gave the garden a whopping (and impossible, but we’ll let it slide) 20 out of 10. And the garden was a spectacular woodland play area, with an enviable treehouse I’d have traded every single one of my Barbies for when I was kid.
Fortunately, though, the other gardens held their own. The M&G Garden, in particular, stuck in my mind, with its striking burnt timber sculptures and diverse planting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the space gained Andy Sturgeon not only his eighth Gold medal but also his third Best in Show award.
The monkey puzzle trees of The Trailfinders ‘Undiscovered Latin America’ Garden also caught my eye, and the bold planting scheme in Andrew Duff’s The Savills and David Harber Garden. I can’t help but feel this garden was undervalued, though, as the only show garden to be given a Bronze medal. At an event where hundreds of people weave around you and camera crews dominate, to create a tranquil space is quite an achievement, and Andrew did just that.
But that’s the risk when competing against the best of the best, and designing a show garden at Chelsea is an incredible achievement in itself. So, congratulations to all of the designers, contractors and suppliers who took part and made the show a memorable one.