GET THE LOOK
brim with fresh new leaves, frothy may blossom and elderflowers, cow parsley and ox-eye daisies growing up through long grass, I felt for once, Chelsea was in tune with nature.
MY BESTIN SHOW
Bucking the pastoral trend but my personal favourite was Joe Swift’s first Chelsea garden. Subtly colourful in burgundies, terracottas and coppers, using textural barked trees (enhanced with a rub of virgin olive oil) — Cornus mas, Arbutus and Prunus ‘Amber Beauty’, this was a sensitive, intelligent and grown-up garden from a designer whose blokey on-screen persona belies artistic maturity. Designed to thrive in a dry climate, evergreen shrubby plants such as Pittosporum, myrtle and pistacia lent solidity and were fronted by Bergenia ‘Overture’, Tellima and coppery Acaena, while lime-green euphorbias, coppery verbascums, irises and bronze fennel gave height and colour. Joe told me he was pleased with his garden, and he won gold. Bravo! Go back to familiar cottage garden plants like aquilegias and poppies available from seed from plantworldseeds.co.uk. Wild-flower-filled meadows can be bought as turf from wildflowerturf. co.uk and meadowmat. com, or planted from seed from pictorial meadows.co.uk. and meadowinmy garden.co.uk. Frothy cow parsley is all the rage, try Selinium wallichianum, Melanoselinum decipiens or Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’ as alternatives. Edible red orach can add a touch of burgundy that’s popular this year. Clipped evergreen balls and hummocks of box add formality. Use clumps of native grasses like Deschampsia cespitosa and Festuca ovina for that pastoral look. Don’t forget to check the Chelsea Fringe venues until June 10 on chelseafringe.com.