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Top gardening trends from the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, formally known as the Great Spring Show, is a garden show held by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea, London. It is the most famous flower show in the United Kingdom, and perhaps in the world,attracting visitors from all continents.

Below are some of the trends found in this years show – why not contact us if you are inspired!


Umbelliferous refers to plants that carry flowers blooming on the end of short, spoke-like stems radiating from a central stem. Many of the Chelsea designs, including the Brewin-Dolphin garden (left), included flowers of this type. Here it’s angelica (Angelica sylvestris ‘Vicars Mead’) but cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) was also a popular choice.

The shape adds architectural structure without being heavy and overwhelming, due to its frothy appearance.

Living Walls

Vertical gardening is a great way to increase your growing space when you run out of room for conventional horizontal planting.

Living walls and roofs have been visible at Chelsea for a few years but this year they were everywhere!

In Stoke-on-Trent’s Story of Transformation garden a massive expanse of living wall, framed with rusted metal beams, forms the backdrop to the stunning kiln feature and warm-toned planting.

British natives

Almost all gardens use some native species, as you might expect, but there are more than normal this year. Shepherd’s purse, red campion and hops (left, left to right) feature in the NSPCC’s Garden of Magical Childhood and the Motor Neurone Disease Hebridean Weaver’s garden.

Other wild flowers used by designers include foxglove and common cow parsley.

White planting

Vita Sackville-West is credited with creating the look with her white garden at Sissinghurst back in the 1930s. The pale planting is a contrast to the dark, lifeless trees on the other side of the space. The message is to stop the spread of pests and diseases – perhaps spelling it out in black and white?

Using a single colour brings a unity to planting, and white adds a lightening, brightening influence.

Among the flowers featured are white peonies, Iris sibirica ‘Dulas’ and bearded iris, and umbelliferous plants such as lovage, Mathiasella bupleuroides and dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris)

Insect shelters

Protecting wildlife, particularly pollinating insects, is obviously crucial to every garden.

A bee hotel aims to show urban gardeners how they can attract bees without compromising on the look of the garden.

Hole-drilled log sections, to shelter the bees, are inter-planted with sempervivums and other succulents to create a decorative and functional garden feature.

Edibles and Ornamental

Mixing veg and flowers is not a new idea, but this year, the style made an appearance in more formal gardens, such as the Homebase Garden  (Click here for a view of this garden.)

In the foreground, beans scramble up twiggy tripods, while elsewhere Alpine strawberries and herbs are tucked into a stone bench, beetroot, radishes and fennel flourish among the flowers.

 For more information click here