Top Picks From This Year's Chelsea Flower Show

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This year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 has, as ever, showcased some beautiful garden designs and plant varieties, but this year we have seen two deeper themes running throughout the displays – the environment and mental health.

The designers have created gardens that really highlight how plants, flowers and green spaces can have a positive impact on our lives, in terms of health, wellbeing and happiness.  As we know, gardens are a great haven to escape from the stresses of everyday life.  The designs also reveal how plants and gardens can help us tackle some of the biggest environmental problems of our time – sustainable materials. 

My personal favourite is The Lemon Tree Trust Garden by Tom Massey whose design focus was to improve people’s wellbeing.  He was inspired by the inventiveness, resilience and determination of refugees living in Domiz camp in Northern Iraq.  Despite conditions he really manages to capture the unexpected beauty hidden in the camp. 

The garden is bursting with beautiful trees laden with fruit, including figs, lemons and pomegranates, that provide scent and crops to harvest. Brutal, harsh materials, such as concrete and steel, widely available in the camps, are made beautiful with techniques such as polishing, casting and crafting into patterns and intricate Islamic inspired designs. Cooling and calming water flows throughout the space, collected in channels and pools, recycled and pumped back through the brimming central Islamic inspired fountain, representing the importance of grey water reuse and the many makeshift fountains refugees have built in their own gardens in Domiz camp.  As for the plants, Massey has chosen an interesting mixture of colourful and textural plants such as fruit trees, single Roses, Alliums and dazzling blue flowered Anchusa that soften the hard materials beautifully.

At Coolings, Anchusa ‘Loddon Royalist’ is a real favourite with our customers.  They look beautiful planted with bright orange Geums  - another favourite at this year's show.  Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ ‘Boresii’ and ‘Flames of Passion’ all look lovely in borders dotted in between lovely Anchusa or Nepeta.

Geums 'Primrose Cottage', 'Boresii' and 'Flames of Passion'

 Anchusa 'Loddon Royalist' and Geum 'Tempest Scarlet'

Lupins are also widely used throughout the show as were the unusual perennial Primula vialii that has rosettes of soft, downy leaves and dense heads of small, tubular, lilac-blue flowers in early summer.


Lupins and Primula vialii

The highlight of the gloriously gorgeous Great Pavilion was definitely the sea of colourful Clematis by Raymond Evison.  His seaside themed display had boats overflowing with flowers, with dazzling red Clematis forming the foreground, while white trellis waves, trained with Clematis provide a coloured seascape.  We have a fantastic range of Raymond Evison Clematis in store at Coolings for you to choose from as per the below picture.

David Austin Roses had a magnificent (gold medal winning) display at the show.  Pergolas festooned in Roses encapsulate walkways, which lead you to a quiet enclave surrounded by fragrant, climbing Roses and a table dressed with a quintessential English afternoon tea.  A quiet, reflective space to stop and smell the Roses.  As always we boast a huge range of David Austin Roses at our Rushmore Hill Branch.

David Austin Exhibit at Chelsea 2018

Finally, we would just like to bring your attention to Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ that was launched at Chelsea this year.  The new growth that emerges in spring is unique.  It initially displays shades of gold and flame orange, then matures to a rich golden yellow before turning green in the height of summer.  It’s ideal for shady positions and is in stock at Coolings now!

The prestigious Chelsea Flower Show has been captivating audiences since 1913, and for those of you lucky enough to attend, I’m sure you’ll agree this year has been no different.



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