Chelsea 2015

I am old and cynical. I go to Chelsea not expecting to see anything interesting besides Laurence Llewelyn-bowen. He is fascinating in and of himself of course, but he is also the first clone I have ever come into contact with. There are at least six of him on view at Chelsea each year. I know this because one man could not be in as many places, talking to as many people in front of as many cameras as he is. Anyway, apart from that particular highlight I expect nothing magical. This year however, there was something new and amazing.

It was the planting by Marcus Barnett for his Daily Telegraph Garden. The whole thing was based on a Mondrian picture so you had big blocks of colour planting in fanatically neat, ridged square patches. I loved it I really did. The flowers weren’t all out in the red and blue blocks which was a shame but the white and yellow looked brilliant.



I’m sorry the pictures are a little dull, it was raining at the time I took them. I’m so taken with the block colour planting I am thinking of doing it my garden. It was different. That’s the thing. I had walked up to the first garden and seen a plant combination of blue, magenta and peachy cream and honestly I thought, magenta and blue should be banned by Chelsea, it’s just too boring. No cirsium rivulare (the purple thistle) for at least five years.

I had had enough by then. It was wet and I was cold so I went home.




  1. Being rather old and cynical myself, but not able to attend Chelsea, what do you make of Dan Pearson’s win? What does it say about our attachment/lack of attachment to the natural, or at least non-urban, world? As for colour block planting, I love the idea, too. Not sure where or how I could implement it but definitely worth considering.

    • Hello Pat, thank you so much for your very interesting, challenging comment. I’m not sure what it says about our attachment on not to the natural as a society. (It’s just been half term and my brain will need time to recover for that big question!) However, on an easier note, I always think Chelsea is a total bubble which is really focused in and on itself. Is this cynical again but I think it had as much to do with Dan Pearson’s return to doing a show garden after 11 years as much as anything. There are always discontented rumblings about the artificial nature of the show gardens. Pronouncing Dan’s naturalistic scheme the winner effectively killed two birds with one stone. However, this article in The Guardian was much more generous. I think, perhaps, I just didn’t ‘get it.’

      • Thank you for the link to Mary Keen’s piece in the Guardian. I liked some of her words very much, for instance, her description of the garden as “a real place that felt as though it had been there forever.” Her analysis or response is one I will read again.

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