This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chelsea Flower Show Special

The Telegraph Garden

The Best Show Garden Award

Today I am devoting the blog to the Chelsea Flower Show in London, the most important flower show in the international horticultural calendar. This is the day when members of the Royal Horticultural Society get to see the show for the first time, the awards are announced, and it is officially opened. Yesterday was the day of the royal visit, when traditionally the Queen and other members of the royal family tour the exhibits. It was also a time of great tension for the exhibitors, for the judges were also making their final deliberations. Unfortunately yesterday, and over the past weekend, the weather has been miserable, with wind and heavy rain, which has caused some damage to outdoor exhibits, especially the show gardens. The prospects for the coming week look little better, but the show will go on and doubtless the pundits will assure us that it is better than ever - which of course is likely to be true.

Chelsea Show Gardens Gold Medal Award Winners

Fleming's Nurseries Australian Garden

Chris Beardshaw Ltd
Cancer Research UK
The Daily Telegraph
Fleming's Nurseries
Saga Insurance
Savills PLC

Chelsea Show Chic Gardens

Kazahana Co Ao Arashi (Blue Storm)

The Best Chic Garden

Chelsea Show Chic Gardens Gold Medal Awards

Scenic Blue (UK) - Anna's Sanctuary In The Shade

Kazahana Co Ltd
Scenic Blue (UK) Ltd

Chelsea Show City Gardens

Natural Elements

The Best City Garden

Chelsea Show City Gardens Gold Medal Awards

Natural Elements

Chelsea Show Courtyard Gardens

A Garden For Robin

The Best Courtyard Garden

Chelsea Show Courtyard Gardens Gold Medal Awards

Leeds Metropolitan University - A Garden For Robin
AW Gardening Services - Sanctuary


Themed Gardens Gold Medal Awards

Campania Region, Italy

New Roses

Rose ‘Sir Paul Smith’

There were a plethora of rose naming ceremonies yesterday. The introducing of plants to the media, together with their presentation to various celebrities, always takes place on the day prior to the official opening. Last week I mentioned that Peter Beales was going to unveil a much lauded "Mystery Rose", named for a famous fashion designer. We have now learned that the honour has been afforded to Sir Paul Smith. His wife arranged for his name to be given to a vibrant pink cultivar in honour of his 60th birthday. Sir Paul said: "It was a wonderful surprise from my wife and I like the fact it has a happy colour because hopefully my clothes have an optimism about them."

Another celebrity in the spotlight was Darcey Bussell, the ballerina. She said that she was honoured to learn that a new old-fashioned, crimson-flowered English rose had been named after her. "To have anything named after you is major but I to have a David Austin rose is phenomenal."

Great Pavilion

The President's Award: Bournemouth Borough Council

This three-dimensional exhibit was inspired by the Bournemouth motto ‘Beautiful & Healthy’ and it encompasses the healthy lifestyle of Bournemouth residents and visitors. The display features five giant pieces of fruit and vegetables that are made from cut flowers, which are around 3m (10ft) high. The cut flowers are situated within a giant willow basket that is surrounded by fruit and vegetables, which spell out the phrase '5 a day'. Circling the '5 a day' feature are three sections depicting work, rest and play, which are planted in carpet bedding with points of the compass facing north, south, east and west. The different sections include the classic crest of Bournemouth, a typical beach scene with a giant deck chair and a hand-crafted sculpture depicting a surfer riding a wave. This is Bournemouth’s first time at the show and the team working on the display includes representatives from Bournemouth Council’s municipal parks department and also horticultural experts based within Bournemouth, including the floristry department from Bournemouth & Poole College.

Great Pavilion Gold Medal Awards

Hillier Nurseries Ltd’s 61st consecutive Gold Medal exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show - a world record

Ainsworth Displays
Jacques Amand International
Avon Bulbs Ltd
Barbados Horticultural Society
Peter Beales Roses
Bloms Bulbs
Borneo Exotics
Bournemouth Borough Council
Bowden Hostas
Burncoose Nurseries
Burnham Nurseries Ltd
The Cottage Herbery
Craig House Cacti
Dibleys Nurseries
Downderry Nursery
Raymond J Evison Ltd
Fernwood Nursery
Hampshire Carnivorous Plants
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants
Harts Nursery
Harveys Garden Plants
Hillier Nurseries Ltd
The Horticultural Society of Trinidad & Tobago
Howards Nurseries
HW Hyde & Son
Jekka's Herb Farm
Kilmurry Nursery
Knoll Gardens
A B Longden
Matthewman Sweet Peas
Mauritius - RHS Members
McBeans Orchids
National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies
National Chrysanthemum Society
Notcutts Garden Centres & Mattocks Roses
The Romantic Garden Nursery
South West Carnivorous Plants
Southfield Nurseries
Brian & Pearl Sulman
UK Horticulture
Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors
W S Warmenhoven

Life Long Learning in the Garden Gold Medal Awards

Sparsholt College, Hampshire

Sparsholt College, Hampshire
Warwick HRI, University of Warwick
Writhlington Business and Enterprise School

Irises - Flower of the Show

Iris ‘Réussite’

The favourite flower at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show is said to be the Iris, a fact that is difficult to deny, for they are everywhere. One of the most startling exhibits is by Cayeux Iris from France who are exhibiting 41 tall bearded irises, 24 of them Cayeux creations. The most outstanding is ‘Réussite’, the result of 30 years of hybridising by Richard Cayeux and his father Jean. The colours of the flowers are superb, being red, white and blue, and representing the tricolor of France. Andy Sturgeon has the award winning Iris ‘Superstition’ featuring in The Cancer Research UK Garden. This has wonderful deep purple velvety blossoms that are almost black. Bearded irises are also growing in the Laurent-Perrier Garden. Iris ‘Beverly Sills’, a large ruffled shell pink and coppery cultivar and ‘Goodbye Heart’, a mixed apricot and lavender with tangerine falls, are planted in association with peonies. Aquatic irises also feature in the Laurent-Perrier Garden, Iris sibirica ‘White Swirl’ being displayed in a damp spot, and the cool icy-white Iris laevigata var. alba, growing in water.

Chelsea coverage: I hope that you have enjoyed this coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show. I will be bring more tomorrow, but only occasional highlights as part of my general daily gardening blog. Although Chelsea is a major event in the global horticultural calendar, I am aware that it is quite easy to get Chelsea fatigue, so back to normal tomorrow.

Happy Gardening



Today’s Sponsor

Photos: Royal Horticultural Society except Hillier stand which is courtesy of Hillier Nurseries Ltd.

If you have enjoyed this publication, you may also like to visit the monthy SeedMessenger gardeners’ seed saving and seed exchange blog click here.
and the weekly water gardening blog PondMessenger click here.

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