It could almost have been May with wonderfully warm weather and reassuringly high standards at the show gardens, the trade stands and the Great Pavilion. However, there were welcome nudges towards autumn with the appearance of asters, dahlias and salvias in full bloom, trees laden with fruit, pumpkins, and rich planting palettes throughout the show.
My top 6 highlights this year…
Autumnal planting in The M & G Garden
The autumnal feel of the planting in the M & G garden by designers Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris was captured in the blended orange and purple patches of colour and the textured grasses. The aim of the designers was to reveal the plants in their seasonal stage with some displaying their seed heads.
Their success in achieving this outcome was validated with their gold medal status. The introduction of grasses amongst the dense planting was on trend with the other naturalistic planting seen elsewhere throughout the show gardens.
‘Pear’ – slate sculture by James Parker
The perfection of the ‘Pear’ slate sculpture created by the sculptor James Parker represents the popularity of apple and pear sculptures in garden design and would definitely create a focal point within any space.
The sculpture reflected the harvest season and the trees full of fruit seen elsewhere around the show.
The Hot Tin Roof Garden
New for 2021, the container gardens section stood out for their inspiration for small spaces where it is not possible to plant directly into the ground. The aim here was to show how gardening can still be enjoyed in these tight spaces and how containers can be a practical and attractive way to achieve this. The highlight for me was ‘The Hot Tin Roof Garden’ where the creamy white and black corrugated tubs contrasted beautifully with the lush green planting.
The Saatchi Gallery Garden
I was struck by the ingenuity of the art installation by contemporary artist Dan Rawlings in the Saatchi Gallery garden. The juxtaposition of nature and industry was cleverly brought to life by the repurposing of a transit van. A forest shell had been beautifully hand-cut into the walls of the van, which was then surrounded by rubble, grasses and weeds. The urban / nature concept was reinforced by a wonky traffic light bound in weed.
Bible Society: The Psalm 23 Garden
You couldn’t help but take on the feeling of relaxation and peace prompted by the ‘Bible Society: The Psalm 23 Garden’ in the Sanctuary Garden section of the show. Based on ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, the designer Sarah Eberie created a peaceful haven by placing water and large natural rocks at the heart of her design. The power of the sound of the rushing waterfall surrounded by the large flat rocks made you want to stay longer and engage with the garden.
‘Communities in Bloom’ Co-op exhibit
The stunning deep shades of the planting scheme in the ‘Communities in Bloom’ Co-op exhibit in the Great Pavilion forced us to take a closer look.
The message was about the importance of communities coming together to make a change in the world and it was represented in the vibrancy and energy of the central display. There was an emphasis placed on the contribution of children playing.
The display was created by using sunflowers, pincushions, cockscomb, ornamental pineapples, bellflowers and roses to name a few.