The 82nd Annual Chelsea Flower Show was held from Tuesday, May 25 to Sunday, May 28, 2004. The show is built on 11 acres in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and attracts approximately 160,000 visitors annually. During the week of the show, 6,500 bottles of champagne, 18,000 bottles of Pims, 5,000 lobsters, 110,000 cups of tea and more than 28,000 rounds of sandwiches are sold. On display this year were 21 show gardens, 10 chic gardens, 9 courtyard gardens, 4 city gardens and 8 Sunflower Street gardens. The Great Pavilion showcased plant nurseries, growers and specialist societies. Thousands of plants were on display, some new and never seen before. In 2004, for the first time ever, an Australian show garden was included in the Chelsea Flower Show.
Fleming’s Australian Inspiration
A collaboration between Fleming’s Nurseries, Semken Landscaping and garden designer Jim Fogarty, this garden was a modification of the triple award winner and best show garden at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in April 2003. It was an example of how to bring a touch of the Southern Hemisphere to a small backyard, using exotic shade plants, feature trees and alternative wall ideas.
The garden featured retaining walls of rammed earth, two cascading, black stone pyramid water features, rustic steel pots, an informal screen of snow gums, a barbecue, an open roofed lounge room with jarrah benches and coffee table, and an architectural eucalyptus stack wall. Plants in the garden were a mix of drought tolerant Australian natives and exotics, selected to promote the idea of water-wise gardening. They are all available to home gardeners, both in England and in Australia.
Fleming’s Australian Inspiration won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Silver-Gilt Medal.
The National Lottery Garden – A Colourful Suburban Eden
Designed by Diarmuid Gavin, this vibrant, light-hearted garden featured hundreds of shades of green, punctuated with drifts of colour. Multi-coloured metal spheres formed a curved pergola overhead, with a wave of similar spheres on steel posts towards the back of the garden. A summerhouse, which could also double as a conservatory, provided a backdrop to the garden. This high-tech structure was also covered in small, bright metal spheres.
The Garden of Hope
Designed by Jeff Goundrill, this garden was sponsored by Her Majesty’s Prison at Leyhill. The prisoners were involved in every stage of the project, from the initial planning, design and drawings right through to the planting.
The garden showed how nature fights back and overcomes adversity, constantly healing and repairing the scars inflicted on the world by mankind. This gives the average person hope for a better future during times of aggression and conflict.
A war-torn cottage surrounded by debris was the centrepiece of the garden. A bomb crater became a water feature, with water pouring from a broken toilet cistern pipe. The wildflowers were flourishing and vegetables were going to seed, providing hope for a future crop.
Tourism New Zealand Ora – Garden of Well-Being
Don chatted with Kim Jarret, the lead designer of this award winning exhibit. The garden reflected the geothermal landscape of the Central North Island of New Zealand, and included a hot mineral pool, silica thermal terraces and traditional Maori carvings. The Maoris have strong spiritual ties to the land, and these have influenced the attitudes of the nation.
All the plants in the garden were New Zealand natives. They included four species of tree fern (Cyathea medullaris, C. dealbata, Dicksonia squarrosa and D. fibrosa), cordylines, hebes, Chatham Island forget-me-not (Myosotidum hortensia) and the poor knights lily (Xeronema callistemon).
This garden won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal.
Diarmuid Gavin’s book, Design Your Garden, is published by Penguin Books (ISBN: 140530452). It is available at book stores Australia wide. RRP $49.95.
Jim Fogarty, Landscape Designer
Phone: 1300 888 916
The next Chelsea Flower Show will be held from May 24 – 28, 2005.
In the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3.
For more information on the Chelsea Flower Show and the many other garden shows in England, visit www.rhs.org.uk/events/shows.asp