The gardens on show at the Chelsea Flower Show are always inspiring, with fabulous planting schemes, inspiring design and often with a real wow factor. Sometimes though it is difficult to see how some of the ideas behind the gardens would work for those of us with smaller plots, even tinier budgets and less time on our hands. I often come away from garden shows with titbits of ideas from individual gardens which may well work for me in my own garden. This year The Sowing Seeds of Change Garden designed by Adam Frost looked great. It is planted organically, is multi-functional, and can be used by all generations of the family.
The focus of the garden is a series of allotment style beds, easily accessed by everyone, but especially children, and maintained, several with fruit trees in the middle. There was a good balance of growing fruit and vegetables with all the centre beds having a mix of flowering plants and vegetables. I especially like the low walls which with very smooth tops would easily double up as a seat or table. The waterway channels added a great feature to the garden whilst being safe. I could see a boat race or paddling taking place in them on a hot summer’s day.
The layout of the garden meant that there are lots of pathways for running around or paying with a little trike.
The designer beehive was beautiful and it may well work if you had older children. The planting scheme was certainly very bee and wild life friendly. No there wasn’t any real space where you could kick a football, but the lawn with the beehive was perfect for a swingball. The garden won a well- deserved gold.
The NSPCC’s Garden of Magical Childhood is a nostalgic design with a tree house, teddy bears picnic and vintage toys. The centre of the garden holds a wishing pond with the inspiring idea of message pebbles. We don’t have a pond in our garden, but that isn’t going to stop us creating some message pebbles of our own. The garden might take people back 40/50 years but in fact I am sure a child of the 21st century would find it equally as magical.
Of a much more contemporary feel is Nigel Dunnett’s Blue Water Roof Garden. For me this is cutting edge design. This is how you can bring green space to cities. It is an urban living rooftop garden which looks just like a garden on the ground. The living walls require no watering. What more could you want.
One final mention of a garden which was so beautiful and exquisitely planted. The Mindfulness Garden by Martin Cook, designed as a one person meditation garden. It is a space to find peace and tranquillity. Something all families need at some time.