The weather is finally warming up, we have sunshine and longer days, which is just what’s needed for the plants with just five weeks to go to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam’s concept for their show garden is a space of rugged, textural quality, with aspects that provide a more delicate contrast and this same idea applies to the planting.
Plants play a significant part in any garden design, they’re not an add-on but an integral part of the whole design, reinforcing it and enhancing the atmosphere.
The hunt for plants that would fit the requirements took Gavin and Andrew on a trip to Belgium with Mark Straver of Hortus Loci nursery. Amongst other things, they were looking for trees with a rugged quality and discovered some 25 year old apple trees which had exactly the qualities needed. The trees had been rescued from a garden, thus fitting neatly into one of their main principles of the design
‘always precious sometimes scarce’
this is amplified by the premise of the whole garden as a rescued space.
The blossom may not appear in time for Chelsea week, but the trees will have that gnarled appearance and structural element that is just what they were looking for.
They also came across some lovely specimens of Buxus ‘Vader Valley’, an unusual variety of Box that have a soft, tousled appearance, rather than the more usual clipped formality, and are perfect for underpinning the rugged quality of the design.
Within this rugged structure there will be contrasts of more delicate plants with spots of colour suggesting a precious quality.
The plants have to look their best on the day in five weeks time, this is quite a challenge after the coldest March in fifty years, but there can be no delays for the Chelsea Flower Show.
Having plants ready and at their peak for that particular week is achieved by having many more plants available than will be required, so there are plenty of spares. Most importantly though it’s having Hortus Loci, a specialist nursery looking after all the plants until they’re needed at Chelsea.
They know exactly when to expose the plants to warmth and when to cover them and protect them from frost, coaxing them along into perfection for Chelsea week.
You can catch up on last weeks blog here.
Next weeks post will be about the special materials being used in the garden.
images: Gavin McWilliam, Jill Anderson.