Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

Chelsea Flower Show 2015 - Part 2 - The Show Gardens

The results are in, the medals have all been handed out and I really hope that everyone involved in this years Chelsea will go home satisfied with the results of their hard work. My designer friends and I all agree that we felt that this was one of the best Chelsea's for some time due to the large variety in the show gardens this year. 

Monday's Press Day was cold and wet but absolutely perfect conditions for taking photographs of the gardens and of the designers. 

Dan Pearson

Winner of a Gold Medal and Best in Show for 2015 was Dan Pearson with his Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden, he is shown above with the Duchess of Devonshire on Monday. This is an artistic recreation of Chatsworth's ornamental Trout Stream and Rockery created by Chatsworth Head Gardener Joseph Paxton in 1835.

The Garden Museum in Lambeth played host last night to a talk by Dan about the thought process behind the garden and the relationship between Chatsworth and Laurent Perrier. Head Gardener of Chatsworth Steve Porter spoke about the history of the house and garden and managed to condense 500 years of garden history into five minutes. Mark Fane and Peter Clay from Crocus who supplied the plants (over 100,000 plants in all) were on hand as well to answer questions after the talk and slide show. One of the interesting points raised by a member of the audience was whether this actually qualified as a garden or was it simply Nature. Dan answered that indeed it is a garden as it has been planted and planned to an enormous degree. 


Rock brought down from Chatsworth was the anchor of this naturalistic garden. The attention to detail is extraordinary. Leaf mould and moss fill the crevices along the rock face and in the gaps created between the stones. The wildflower turf is studded with bulbs and oak seedlings in a charming detail. The garden is a slice of Chatsworth and will, after this weekend, be dismantled and taken back to Chatsworth where it will no doubt reinvigourate this corner of the 105 acre garden. 



The talk last night was particularly informative and interesting as we were able to hear about the thought process behind the many decisions involved in building such a large show garden. The positioning of the rocks was very carefully thought out and a full-scale mock up of the rockery was built at Crocus and numbered carefully as the build time for Chelsea is only 18 days. The important details such as the oak benches which will be placed back at Chatsworth for visitors. The oak has been slightly stained to look aged and the feet have a charred surface.

Bench - Chatsworth Garden

Chatsworth Garden

One final note, Steve Porter, Head Gardener at Chatsworth is keen to emphasise that the Trout Stream and Rockery will take longer than 18 days to restore after the Flower Show is finished so do be patient before rushing up to visit. 

There are fifteen Show Gardens at Chelsea this year and one I particularly admired was the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden designed by Chris Beardshaw. This is another garden which will be carefully dismantled and removed before being rebuilt in Poplar, East London, where it is intended to be the focus of a new community project.

Chris Beardshaw

The planting, which was chosen to reflect the diversity of the community where this garden will be rebuilt, is stunning. This is a garden which clients and gardeners will relate to and wish to emulate. Tones of blues run into purple, the whole anchored with camassias which were chosen to reflect Morgan Stanley's North American roots, but with added zest from orange geums. I love it and will let the photos speak for themselves. 

Chris Beardshaw

Chris Beardshaw Chelsea

Chris Beardshaw

Chris Bearshaw CHelsea

The Sentebale Garden by Matthew Keightley won Silver-Gilt and was one of my favourites of the show this year. Early Monday morning Prince Harry, co-founder of the charity with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, made an advance visit to the garden before returning later in the day.

Sentebale garden

The garden features a wooden building inspired by the new Mamohato Children's Centre which will provie accommodation for up to 96 children living with HIV, and which is due to open later this year in Lesotho.


Sentebale Garden

Sentebale Garden

After two full days at Chelsea my mind is spinning and my feet are sore but it was a great time and I leave you with Tom Stuart-Smith and James Alexander-Sinclair at the top of Chatsworth.

Chelsea 2015




Comments (1)

  1. jon.howes:
    Jun 02, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Thank you.Dan Pearson is a marvel.

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