26 things at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The consensus so far from people at RHS Chelsea? “This is a good ‘un”. Variety is the spice of life and variety is the word on the champagne lined street. Show gardens a real mixture of styles and colours with no clear themes emerging. This is the first year I don’t have a front runner favourite – no one I’ve met can say who they think will win Best in Show. Experimentation and boundary pushing high on the agenda this year, both in the gardens and the Grand Pavilion has made for an exciting and unpredictable theatre of excess. 

Below are a number of things that caught my eye. In no particular order as per usual. Also as usual, I may add to this list.

1) Yorkshire brings British naturalism

2) Jo Thompson going all modernist on us with this amazing sculpture

3) Even the smallest garden can have a sauna and plunge pool

Not to mention fresh, reserved planting. All by Paul Hervey-Brookes. This is the first Chelsea garden I’ve actually had the opportunity to stand on and walk through – as such the first one where I’ve experienced that minute of calm. Quite awesome.

4) South Africa rocks my world

Jonathan Snow’s Trailfinder’s Wine Estate.

5) Instagram ready

Photo credit: Christopher Anderson

Nic Howard’s David Harper and Savills garden.

6) Most beautiful flower combination was in this floral arch

7) What the big blue head is looking at

I love the way the Jolly Blue Giant is emerging from the froth of flowers but it’s easy to look at the statue and miss what was one of my favourite plant combinations. Frothy and colourful, full of fennel and yellow Aquilegia chysantha. Also this garden had an amazing prostrate Yew.

8) Such colour. SUCH COLOUR!

Sarah Price’s M&G Garden features plants with off-colours that glow. It’s a very unique combinations of colour. Colour matters. I feel like us Chelsea fanatics obsessing about the show for months before may have been spoilt with the gorgeous pre-show painting that it took some of the edge off. It will be interesting how everyone else feels because the colour specifically is something special here.

9) And while I’m at it, what about this tile pile?

10) This modern doorway separated from the seating area by water and floating borders

You’re going to get wet feet when you deadhead but who wouldn’t want to experience stepping across water straight from the house. The LG garden by Hay-Joung Hwang had a beautiful yellow and white colour scheme too.

11) Chris Beardshaw’s fabulous use of glowing blue

Meconopsis and Corydalis glowing among the green.

12) Oreopanax is the new (less hardy) Tetrapanax

Although not hardy according to Crug Farm plant hunters Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones.

13) Under the sea

Our photos don’t quite do this garden justice with its land plants that look exactly like a coral reef. Pearlfisher Garden by John Warland

14) The shadows and lines in this big round seating thing

In Naomi Ferrett-Cohen’s Life Without Walls garden for Cherub HIV.

15) Gonna use me some Lupinus ‘Salmon Star’ in the near future

On the Westcountry Lupins stand.

16) This bridge (am I right)

17) Every year I see you, Lagurus ovatus, and I love you a little bit more

18) Slightly raised brick walkway in Matt Keightley’s garden

19) The swirly stone whatsamagig on Matt Keightley’s garden

20) The simplicity of Tom Stuart-Smith’s garden

21) I want this table and chair set (and all the plants)

22) Sarah Erbele doing it for the mosaics

23) Who knew living walls of lettuce would be en vogue

24) Are you sure water should be that close

25) When flowers match the graffiti

Phew! And I still feel I haven’t properly touched on the GRAND PAVILLION. Luckily we’re back again tomorrow for RHS members day.

26) Chris’ outrageous floral trousers

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “26 things at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

  1. Amazing. Like, totally superior. Perfection there. I wish we had its equivalent in the states.THANK YOU for sharing. AND fir links to previous years shows! Going to look at them now. This is totally cool. Kudos to you for going and enjoying and sharing. And kudos to me for finding your blog and getting to see things thru your lenses.

  2. i wonder too what the small blue thing is? is a young baby something? again great job. i wish you could review shows before your time. i love the plantings of them. I do notice every year so many of them get more grasses. I am currently in love with ”dare to be wild” Mary reynolds. in the film she is in competition with the prince and a design firm whom she worked with. who was using her designs. 2002 I wasnt sure if she could have been disqualified since her designs were in that book that her boss had… I also wonder whom the other deesigner owner of the design landscape service was.

    also that design had a rose garden in a crib and some kind of background fencing that seemed cane like. very charming. Was it based on factual entry 2003. ive googled and failed to find it. Id love to know who the designer was. and love to have seen that garden. since it evidently was also mary reynolds works. Chr. had seen it in that book. Not sure what was all factual or fiction. I think a london based landscape business. Guess i will have to rewatch Dare to be Wild. loved the fantasy of the wild celtic seating fire and water and totaly loved the bubble idea… though not practical. loved the fire candel light idea mystic loved the wild planting. though would love also more pretty flowers. but get the idea. thanks

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