RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 - What We Found Interesting...
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is THE horticultural event of the year, it’s famous for royal visits, ground-breaking displays and setting the tone for the year to come in horticulture. This year we saw a big focus on rewilding, mental health, environmental issues, and accessibility. We even saw dandelions feature in an award-winning garden, which is untraditional to say the least. For us, a few gardens stood out, not only for their horticultural efforts, but for highlighting certain aspects of our society.
The Centrepoint Garden – Cleve West (Gold Award | Best Construction Award)
This garden by previous award-winning designer Cleve West features the remnants of an old town house that has been almost completely reclaimed by the natural world. West came up with the idea to be used as a metaphor for youth homelessness, backed by Centrepoint, a charity that provides support to homeless young people.
The garden features a whole load of plants that you’d find in a usual rewilding situation, such as nettles, dandelions and even Buddleja (which can be found growing just about anywhere it's allowed to). Other additions were the use of Cordyline australis and other plants you'd typically find in a Victorian townhouse garden and could survive years of neglect. Down to the fallen birch and smaller saplings planted around it, the level of detail here definitely deserves the gold award.
The Platform Garden designed by Amelia Bouquet and Emilie Bausager (Silver-Gilt Award)
One of the smaller spaces this year but one that we can personally relate to being right next to an overground station (in The Old Station Yard no less). This display takes its concept from the Energy Garden collective who 'green up' spaces that go otherwise unused on London Overground platforms.
The two English Gardening School graduates chose plants that are drought tolerant, edible, or anti-pollution and made sure to re-purpose any old concrete structures to demonstrate how these platforms can be transformed. Some notable plants used being Santolina chamaecyparissus, Mentha spicata and Pittosporum, all of which we often have in stock, if you fancy spicing up Wood Street station.
The Green Gap Garden designed by Grow to Know (Tayshan Hayden-Smith and Danny Clarke)
Another London-centric one, but that’s where we are!
Grow to Know was set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster in an effort to reconnect the local community to green space and this is actually the smallest garden to debut at the flower show. Their aim was to call attention to the ‘green gap’ between London's privileged and deprived communities.
The garden totals 4.2m², which is a 1:10 scale representation of green space available to the residents of Notting Dale ward in Kensington, where Grenfell Tower is. The only greenery in the concrete crack is compiled of UK wildflowers.
This is another one we can relate to, being a relatively small garden centre in an urban area, we try to make the most of our space and help others to do so with theirs. Green spaces are so important for mental well being, especially for those faced with the tribulations of city life.