RHS Chatsworth: What Can You Use In Your Garden?

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Wedgwood Garden, Jamie Butterworth, RHS Chatsworth

RHS shows are aspirational shows where many of us buy too many plants and get them home and wonder what to do with them. Yet, there are plenty of small and big ideas at a show that we can take back home with us. At RHS Chatsworth I looked at several gardens including the wonderful Wedgwood Garden designed by Jamie Butterworth pictured above. Here we see a private space filled with colour. In most town gardens our outdoor space is given over to lawns but this garden was a real plea to ditch the lawn for something more intimate, from the Nepeta (Cat mint) that snaked along the path edges to the espaliered pears, it was a garden that cosseted you. What you could take from this garden design is that no space should be wasted, that you shouldn't fear having a tree in your garden, just select the right tree. You too could have espaliered pears on your garden walls or fence, not only would you have blossom in spring but you'd have your own pears. Surely that is a great idea to take home?

Brewin Dolphin Artist Garden, Paul Hervey-Brookes, RHS Chatsworth, Life on Pig Row

The Brewin Dolphin Artist Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes showed that sometimes recycling is a necessity for beauty. For us, the take home here was the 'shed'. A functional space that could easily be converted to workshop or private dining space. It showed that recycled materials have a place in the garden and that maybe it is better to try your hand at building your own structures to get the right size for the right garden. We always talk about having the right plant for the right place, maybe we should be considering this about those awful off the peg sheds too.

RHS Chatsworth, Lynn Heslop

In the From Darkness to Light design by Lynn Heslop (awarded a silver) garden we saw echoes of the white garden at Sissinghurst. Some people may think this is old hat but blocks of colour in the garden are a wonderful statement. If you look carefully at the picture above it isn't just about the colour white but also foliage, the silvers here nestle beside the zing of yellow green that is Alchemilla Mollis (Lady's mantle). Lupins arch out of the undergrowth giving the border something of a wild card element. This informality takes a lot of planning but look again and you will see not only has the colour palette been restricted but so has the choice of plants. Sometimes less is more, take that home with you, the realisation to plant more of one plant rather than a hotch potch of every plant.

RHS Chatsworth, Richard Rogers

Finally, I want to leave you with Richard Rogers' The Thrive Reflective Mind Garden which received Silver Gilt. For us this was the best garden at the show. An intimate and relaxing space. The take home for any gardener from this space is the use of water (though a large face peering out of the tree line is a great idea, calm meets Green Man). We often forget that water isn't just vital for wildlife, it's vital too to our well-being. Water has a calming quality that mesmerises us just as an open fire does in winter. The reflective quality and movement of water can help us to simply be in a space, to lose ourselves in the moment. You don't have to build a large pond or even have a big garden to have water, you can have a small wildlife pond or the gentle trickle of water down a wall feature that waters plants below. Water is vital to life and we all need more of it. You can view all the photos from the show here. We'd like to thank all the designers and gardeners who took time to talk with us and the team at the RHS who invited us to cover the show.


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