The Stunning Chelsea Flower Show 2024

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    Chelsea Flower Show 2024

     LR JayneLloyd TheEnglishGarden RHSChelseaFlowerShow2024 The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with The National Trust 0546 Chelsea Flower Show 2024 Highlights: A Personal View of this year’s Show

    Once again, the Chelsea Flower Show has been and gone, bringing with it a mix of anticipation, sophistication, and vibrancy in equal measure.

    As in recent years, the message of accessible gardens, sustainability, and environmental innovations was at the forefront of many of the garden designs, not just on Main Avenue but throughout the Showground.

    Octavia Hill Garden

    Some of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show 2024 included Ann-Marie Powell’s design. It celebrated Octavia Hill’s ethos that a green space should be accessible for everyone. Hill, along with two others, was instrumental in the founding of the National Trust in 1895.

    Ann-Marie created an immersive space that hummed with life and colour. Accessible for all, with wide walkways for wheelchair users and plenty of seating areas to sit and enjoy the space. Her clever use of sounds and textures helped not only those with sensory impairments, but children and adults alike, connect with the garden on a deeper level. Ann-Marie’s colour choices showed a level of exuberance and sensitivity to match her sunny personality. The colours within the hard landscaping were also taken into consideration. Her planting scheme created a rhythmic dance of woven colour that led the eye from one area to another, picking up and depositing colourful tones throughout the design. Copper, peach, and apricot sat happily alongside lime and yellow, leading into richer, deeper pinks, purples, and dark plum tones. She is a plantswoman who understands the subtlety of colour, shape, and texture, and combines this to create an intellectually stimulating experience.

    JayneLloyd TheEnglishGarden RHSChelseaFlowerShow2024 The Octavia Hill Garden 0595

    Ann-Marie may not have won a Gold Medal for her design, but she won the People’s Choice award. For me, it summed up the Chelsea Flower Show 2024 highlights, bringing the joy of colour and gardening to many people.

    National Garden Scheme Garden, by Tom Stuart Smith

    Many experts and visitors have praised this garden as being serene, elegant, and magical.

    Tom Stuart Smith proves his mastery by making a sophisticated and complex planting design look simplistic. He nailed the design brief, creating an oasis of calm serenity by keeping to a very limited colour palette. The garden reflected the ethos of the National Garden Scheme, which is to create therapeutic gardens for people to share and exchange ideas.

    Tom Stuart Smith Chelsea 2024 The National Garden Scheme Garden

    The garden itself was based on the ‘edge of a woodland’ style, with dappled shade created by large, spreading Hazels. The midsection was filled with the fragrant, white flowering Rhododendron daviesii, a late addition to the planting scheme that Tom chanced upon during a routine visit to one of the trade nurseries supplying plants for the garden just a few weeks before planting began. The understorey contained a mixture of many plants. Diversity in leaf shapes created movement through the space, with classics like ferns, grasses, Aquilegias, Foxgloves, and Cow-Parsley. These sat comfortably alongside more unusual choices such as Saruma henryi – a woodland ground-cover perennial from China with soft arrow-shaped leaves, and Cynanchum ascyrifolium, False Bush Stephanotis from Japan, with white star-shaped flowers in late spring.

    Panathlon Joy Garden, by Penelope Walker

    The sinuous coloured curves in the background, which complemented the garden’s colour scheme, really caught my attention. The overall palette was soft and nostalgic, with apricot, soft blue, and mauve. I smiled at a passing comment on the BBC coverage about a happy accident within the planting scheme. The Verbascum had changed colour due to the lack of UV light and had faded from a rusty burgundy colour to reveal the yellow underneath. All I’ll say is, “Even garden designers make mistakes!”

    Chelsea2024 H8A0562 May 19 2024 scaled 1  Chelsea2024 H8A0557 May 19 2024 Penelope Walker the Panathlon of Joy garden Verbascum in Panathlon Joy GArden Chelsea 2024

    A Quick Look at this Year’s Plant Winners

    1st Place – Prunus Starlight – breed in the UK. Prolific Spring flowering tree with white star shaped flowers. Good for smaller gardens.

    2nd Place – Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Cherry Chocolate’ – an improvement on the popular Chocolate Cosmos, with larger flowers and hardier than Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Chocolate’

    3rd Place – Agave Praying Hands – more upright spikes as apposed to the more common open rosette.

    A Final Note

    Colourful planting dominates my overall impression of the Chelsea Flower Show 2024. Much of it seems to be what I’d refer to as Sunset colours: warm blends of  soft yellow, apricot, terracotta & copper, punctuated by deep reds & dark plum tones. My favourite flower? Too hard to choose—possibly Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’, Iris Benton Deirdre & Verbascum Clementine.

    Everyone involved in bringing Chelsea Flower Show to the public, should be praised for their phenomenal talents. It is a world-class event and no mean feat to achieve. From the growers, construction teams, designers, administration, journalists and broadcasters, their dedication and hard work are second to none.