Garden Ideas: Chelsea Flower Show 2014

The horticultural event of the year is back with a bang, as seasoned gardeners have descended on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. United in their aim, they’ve come armed with impressive floral displays to inspire, recognise important goings on and, of course, compete in the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

We headed down to see the displays in their full glory, before the mini heatwave had a chance to do any damage. Here are a few of our favourites.

Chelsea Flower Show 2014 highlights

Birmingham City Council

chelsea flower show

It’s easy to see why this garden received the President’s Award. Complete with a trench and cannon water feature, it pays tribute to World War 1. Nearly £5000 was spent on creating a display which plays out the theme of conflict, from life in the trenches to fighting in the sky. The main focal point is the City of Birmingham train which delivered wounded soldiers to the hospital but the towering poppy waterfall is a close second. Made solely of flowers and sustainable materials, it made an impression on HRH The Queen, no less.

The Garden for First Touch at St George’s

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For sloping garden ideas, look no further than Patrick Collins’ celebration of St George’s Hospital’s Neonatal Unit. Inspired by the strength shown by premature babies and their families, the garden represents their individual journeys which aren’t always smooth sailing. A lively water source hints at an uncertain future which becomes more stable as it makes its way downstream.

The Mind’s Eye Garden

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LDC Design teamed up with RNIB to produce a garden which reflects the experiences of sight loss through playing with different textures, sounds, smells and tastes. Water connects four zones which cover open woodland, damp shady woodland, a temperate prairise border and an arid Mediterranean border. We spoke to designer Alex Frazier, who together with friend Tom Prince, worked hard to make their Chelsea debut. As Alex explains, “the mind’s eye reinforces the inner eye and when you go into the middle of the cube, there’s a sensory overload which people can experience in different ways. You might feel isolated if you look at the almost bottomless pit of the glass floor below or you might find the running water tranquil”. It’s a garden that’s viewed differently by different people, whether they’re fully sighted or blind.

Hope on the Horizon

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Diverting back to the theme of war, Hope on the Horizon is a lush garden. The clue to the story is in the name, which speaks of a journey towards hope. Granite blocks symbolise the physical turmoil faced by injured servicemen and women while the planting stands for their mental health. There is a shift from a rough, uncertain beginning (the rough blocks and overgrown plants) to a calmer, smoother end which speaks of hope that’s now within reach. Cool colours are scattered throughout to make this a serene, relaxing space with plenty of opportunities for personal reflection. Designer Matthew Keightley is another Chelsea newcomer who wanted to pay homage to the work of Help for Heroes and recognise the efforts of military personnel, like his brother.

Sailors’ Valentine Garden

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Within the heart of the Great Pavilion, a vibrant tale of romance lives – if only for a week! Sailors’ Valentines are traditional Barbadian shellcrafts, made up of small seashells. The fable paints a picture of sailors making them while lonely at sea, before giving them to their loved ones back home. The Barbados Horticultural Society brings the legend to Chelsea, recreating the sentimental products out of a mass of multi-coloured flowers. Sentimental tale aside, we love this garden for embracing the true spirit of Chelsea – beautiful, mood-lifting flowers that have you itching to get back into your garden!

To see more photos, head to our Pinterest page or Facebook page, where you’ll find our full album of the show.

If you need help designing your garden, post your job in our Gardener/Garden Designer category. Up to three tradesmen can contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, complete with customer ratings, to help you decide who to hire.

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  1. An excellent article on RHS Chelsea Flower Show
    from an excellent website. I have used Rated People twice and have become a great admirer. Keep up the
    professional wetting of the contractors at RP

  2. what I have just read and seen in beautiful colour arrays is absolutely stunning I want one!

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