The Chelsea Flower Show, held May 19 – 23 was a visual delight. Color always leads the way at this Royal Horticulture Society event, and this year was no exception.
Nonetheless, along the Main Avenue show gardens, there was an overwhelming sense of green. Towering trees, quiet under plantings and foliage of many kinds seemed to envelop visitors in a variety of green hues. Blankets of green became foundations for many sculptures (favorite: David Harbor’s stunning twisted-metal spire) and colorful plantings.
Purple got a big boost for 2019. It showed up in luscious scented blooms like French lavender in Chris Beardshaw’s Gold-award garden. Purple was featured in assorted giant allium, framed by succulents and traditional lamb’s ears, in Thomas Hoblyn’s draught-tolerant Dubai Garden. Purple iris, allium and salvias made a statement in the Don Sanctuary garden, designed by Christina Williams and Annie Prebensen, celebrating 50 years of caring for donkeys. It was also tucked into the underplanting of the Duchess of Cambridge children’s garden, in which exploration and hide-and-seek play completed a day out with nature. Even the café next to The Stables joined in with purple outdoor seating.
Blue blossoms that hug their purple side also inched up. Pinks remained as popular as ever. It popped up in an innovative way as ceramic anthurium that were used to bring color to otherwise-green houseplants. Pinks also looked quite fresh in the Gabriel Oak Rose, shown at the David Austin Roses stand, as well as the Estacia Rose, both new for 2019. It is noteworthy that in spite of the passing of David Austin Senior in December of 2018, his genius continues with new roses that can take nine years to develop before coming to market. The world will be seeing his work for many years to come.
On the whole, oranges retreated. Reds, which declined, still stood out, especially when featured as garden accents. Case in point: Trailfinders Chile Garden, designed by Jonathan Snow. This garden was punctuated by a long walking bridge, painted allover in lipstick red.
White did not have as large a following as it has in the past. This was true in spite of white flashes that were particularly effective as a foil to golden and russet hues in Chris Beardshaw’s garden.
It was black that stole the show when it came to neutrals. Charred-black wood “outcroppings” made a dramatic addition to the Best In Show garden designed by Andy Sturgeon. Thick wooden beams, stained black, contributed to the rustic charm of Mark Gregory’s Welcome to Yorkshire garden, winner of the People’s Choice Award. Black granite steps and floor made Talna Suonio’s Finnish garden feel cool and contemporary.
Look below for more pictures of colorful blooms from this year’s Chelsea Flower Show: