Chelsea blooms within and without


From Britain in Bloom to Chelsea in Bloom, with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show now only a month away, detailed garden designs are being revealed and preparations are well under way for a thoroughly floricultural experience.

Kate Gould joins Alan Titchmarsh to create Chelsea Garden


Chelsea 2014 garden gould pxThe RHS Britain in Bloom 50th anniversary garden will be designed by one of Britain’s most experienced horticulturalists and RHS Vice- President, Alan Titchmarsh, alongside Gold-Medal winning designer Kate Gould. Entitled ‘From the Moors to the Sea’ the garden will celebrate the work of the 300,000 volunteers who make Britain Bloom each year from the Yorkshire Dales where Alan was born to the Isle of Wight where he has a home and garden.

Commenting on the collaboration which will also mark Alan’s 50th year in horticulture, Kate said, “I was surprised and honoured to be asked by the RHS to work on a garden with Alan Titchmarsh who has always been an inspiration both in terms of his approach to horticulture and to people. Britain in Bloom is a fabulous organisation that unites communities in beautifying their shared spaces. That’s something we’d all like to see more of.”

Hope on the Horizon Garden

At the other end of the scale, reflecting the Show’s focus on up and coming talent this year, is  29 year-old Matthew Keightley’s first Chelsea garden in honour of his brother, Michael who has served in Afghanistan and in recognition of the work of the charity Help for Heroes. His ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden focusses on the process of recovery and rehabilitation undergone by returning sick and wounded military personnel and their families.

“Inspiration for this particular garden was never going to be hard to come by, with a military link so close to home and an overwhelming admiration for the work that Help for Heroes does,” he said.

Hope on the Horizon - perspective-1

Structured in the shape of a Military Cross, with granite blocks representing the soldiers’ physical well-being and the planting representing psychological well-being at the different stages of recovery, the garden will evolve from a rough unfinished overgrown beginning to a perfectly sawn and structured end and include an avenue of hornbeams to draw the eye to a sculpture resembling ‘a hopeful horizon’.

The whites, blues and purples  of plants such as  Acanthus mollis, Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’, Digitalis purpurea, Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, Brunnera macr.’Jack Frost’, Lupinus ‘Gallery Blue’ and Papaver orientale ‘Royal Wedding’  will be used to evoke a contemplative mood in the garden in contrast with the regimented lines of Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ and Buxus sempervirens representing military life.

After the show the garden will be relocated to the grounds of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester.

Chelsea in Bloom

And when a visit to the Show is over, there will be a stroll through Chelsea itself to enjoy – the area will be abloom once again with fresh flowers and plants as shops compete to create the most eye-catching displays.

Visitors wil be able to wander through Sloane Square, Sloane Street and Duke of York Square; check out the interpretations of this year’s theme, ‘Creation in Colour – a journey through fashion, food and lifestyle ‘; sample refreshments from  pop-up champagne and ice-cream bars along the way; and then register a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Official RHS judges will also be selecting their winner based on creativity, use of flowers and fidelity to the theme.

Chelsea in Bloom px

Images from Chelsea in Bloom 2013

Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea in Bloom take place : 19th-24th May, 2014

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