The Chelsea Flower Show 2014


Cleve West's garden at Chelsea 2014

I went to Chelsea this year seeking inspiration for my own garden – a first for me. It was great to be able to wander around the Great Pavilion, knowing that I could actually use the plants in my own garden if I wanted. My favourite garden was by Cleve West, especially the gravel section – not that I could recreate that in the soggy West Country.

Marilyn Abbott's topiarist garden at Chelsea 2014

I also really liked Marilyn Abbot’s Topiarist’s Garden (below). I loved the cool greenness of it. And the fact that a lot was crammed into a small space, without it feeling cramped.

Amelanchier canadensis in Laurent Perrier garden

I’m on the lookout for a multi-stemmed shrub or tree for my main border, and the Amelanchier canadensis above (in Luciano Giubbilei’s garden for Laurent Perrier) comes highly recommended by James Alexander-Sinclair as a tree for all seasons. It’s on sale at my local garden so maybe I’ll go for it.

Rose, peony and grass in the Positively Stoke on Trent garden

I loved this dark pink rose, peony and box ball, lightened by the airy grass in the Positively Stoke-on-Trent garden.

Geranium phaeum and euphorbia

A friend has given me lots of Geranium phaeum, which I’m planning on using in the shady side of the garden. It looked great mixed with euphorbia and purple-leaved plants.


This year there was a refreshing lack of young ladies wearing only body paint to promote the gardens. I failed to match my celeb- spotting nirvana of Chelsea 2012, when I got up close and personal with Gwyneth Paltrow. Instead I saw Esther Rantzen rush up to a Chelsea Pensioner, presumably to interview him. (Esther (gushingly): ‘Hi!! Are you Jack?!!!!’. Chelsea Pensioner (coolly): ‘No.’). The highlight of my day was meeting some Vikings. They told us all about the battles they take part in, the injuries they’ve sustained, and how to hold a sword correctly. You wouldn’t mess with them, I can tell you.

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13 thoughts on “The Chelsea Flower Show 2014”

  1. Lovely pix, as ever. A good combination of lime and blue is simply alchemilla mollis and Johnson’s blue geranium.
    Love those Vikings!!!
    And I want that topiary garden!!!

  2. Great pics : )
    Do you know the specific name of the peony used on the Stoke on Trent garden?
    a lovely carmine colour but I can’t find a plant list anywhere!

  3. Aww. That’s a shame I was there on monday too, but didn’t spot you. My Favouurites were the Hope on the Horizon garden and the Night Sky. The dry part of Cleve’s appealled less to me when I was there, but since getting back and looking at my photos has really grown on me.

    • That’s a shame that I missed you and Louise! I liked the Night Sky one too but have no memory of the Horizon one, which I know a lot of people liked. I was working so was in the Pavilion for most of the day.

  4. I like the ‘shed’ in Marilyn Abbot’s garden…. I could see me in there!
    The white marble(?) behind tree and between the hedges works really well in the Laurent Perrier garden.



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