Heading for Chelsea
May brings all sorts of interesting things, including Chelsea. Each year I wonder if I will still be dazzled by RHS Chelsea Flower Show (www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011/Gardens) and usually I am. I look forward to seeing so many different aspects of the show. There is so much to take in on the last day of the build-up and also on Press Day,
May brings all sorts of interesting things, including Chelsea. Each year I wonder if I will still be dazzled by RHS Chelsea Flower Show (www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011/Gardens) and usually I am. I look forward to seeing so many different aspects of the show. There is so much to take in on the last day of the build-up and also on Press Day, so I will tell you more about it over a series of blogs, highlighting gardens, plants and products that caught my attention. First there are the show gardens, the big and beautiful, and sometimes the wacky. Most of them, in their totality are beyond the reach of the ordinary gardener, but there are usually elements that make such an impact that you want to ‘take them home’ to recreate in your own garden. This year there are around 17 main show gardens in contention for medals and best in show award.
I liked the garden designed by Nigel Dunnett, Reader in Urban Horticulture at Sheffield University, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, The New Wild Garden was one of my favourites with its two circular metal pools that catch the run-off rainwater from the roof garden of the studio in a container. The garden is in effect a rain-garden, that absorbs the rain, and also collects it for recycled uses. Insects and wildlife is encouraged by the planting and by the habitats the garden provided. The garden was divided into sections by undulating walls of natural stone, inset with insect and other forms of wildlife habitats made from recycled items sourced by students. The planting includes swathes of orange geum, white valerian and thrift weaving through the garden.
There are so many plant launches at Chelsea each year and one of the most poignant was that of the Natasha Richardson Rose as a tribute to Natasha Richardson. Bred by Harkness (www.roses.co.uk) and exclusive to Dobbies (www.dobbies.com), it is a floribunda rose, with a lemony fragrance, that will grow in a large 45cm container or in borders. It is a delicate pink with a large flower that lasts well in the vase. Each plant costs £9.95 bare root and £14.95 in a container. It grows to a height of 90cm when grown in the ground, and because it is disease-resistant, it is relatively easy-care.
Harkness and Dobbies describe it as a “rose gardener’s dream come true”, with its perfume, its flower size and its resistance to disease.
Dobbies are donating £5 of each purchase to the charity Make-a-wish Foundation®.
Photos and text copyright Barbara Segall 2011