Cleve West triumphs at Chelsea

by Rhiannon James

Cleve West and The Daily Telegraph Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011, credit: The Daily Telegraph

Cleve West has won Best Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, making it three in a row for The Daily Telegraph, while Jamie Dunstan’s urban garden and Jihae Hwang’s artisan garden also triumphed.

West’s contemporary sunken garden, which was originally inspired by the Roman ruins at Ptolemais in Libya, features sculptural columns and imaginative planting, including parsnip flowers from West’s own allotment.

“Words cannot express how delighted I am feeling.  It has been a privilege to work with the Telegraph, who gave me the freedom to create a garden I felt passionate about, and I would like to thank the entire team, including Crocus, who worked tirelessly to prepare and build this garden,” he said.

The Winds of Change Garden, designed by Jamie Dunstan, won Best Urban Garden with its sustainability theme and creative use of reclaimed materials including industrial cooling fans, which are turned into wind turbines, and wooden flooring from a school gym, which is transformed into garden fencing.

“It was a big surprise. I was confident about the garden but this award is something you don’t really think you’ll ever achieve.

The judges thought the idea behind the fans was ingenious apparently and they liked it for its originality as well, with all the detailing that I put into it,” said Dunstan.

Hae-Woo-So by Jihae Hwang, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Jihae Hwang’s first garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Hae-Woo-So, which features a traditional Korean toilet, won Best Artisan Garden. Hwang’s apprehension at the prospect of designing for the show provided the idea for the garden which follows a theme of emptying the mind of worries.

“My heart is full, I’m so happy. I never expected to get any awards so I’m very, very surprised,” she said.

The garden has a vintage feel, inspired by Hwang’s memories of her childhood garden and features wild, naturalistic planting including native Korean plants such as a lilac, Syringa dilatata, white dandelions, Taraxacum coreanum Nakai, and Duchesnea chrysantha which has fruits that look like strawberries. “We don’t plan a garden and then plant, say, a specific rose in particular spots. We go into the mountains and build a house so our garden is already there. The trees, the plants, the wildflowers and the Korean herbs, they’re all already there. I wanted to show that wildness and naturalness,” she said.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs until Saturday 28th May. Tickets are sold out but it’s worth checking for cancellations here.




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