RHS Chelsea Flower Show trends for 2019

It’s the world’s most iconic horticultural show, loved by the royals, celebrities, and the public. We take a look at the most popular looks and trends from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Manchester Garden by Exterior Architecture

The wonderful hexagon paving stones immediately draw the eye, but once you start to look at the concepts behind the garden you can see how much thought and consideration went into creating such a sustainable garden. The paving was made from a local sandstone, highlighting the wonderful British stone materials available on our doorstep. The trees were specifically selected for their resilience to future climate change; and the garden perfectly demonstrated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of public parks.  The key structural plants were chosen for their suitability to the Manchurian climate – featuring species such as honey locust and white mulberry. This garden perfectly combined shape, proportion, colour, water, and design with a unique twist, making it a firm favourite among the visitors.

Green Switch by Ishihara Kazuyuki

The Japanese designer is renowned for his vibrant style and breath-taking gardens, and 2019 was no exception with his artisan garden winning gold. As well as forming vast numbers of moss balls by hand, Ishihara’s talented team also hand-painted each of the stones at the front of the garden, making them look glossy and wet. The planting in the garden is based on Ikebana, which is a traditional form of Japanese flower arranging dating back to the 15th century. Ikebana focuses on how the individual stems and branches fill and fit into the space around it, and the way that the plants are cut. This unique approach ensured that Mr. Kazuyuki’s garden was once again a true show-stopper.

The Donkey Sanctuary: Donkeys Matter by Christina Williams and Annie Prebensen

It’s not easy to turn a small plot in a London park into a dry and arid landscape, but the designers cleverly managed to show the conditions that some of these animals work in. A lean-to shelter overlooking a rocky terraced garden was perfectly planted with purple and white drought-resistant flowers. A bucket and deep well sat at the top of the rocky mound, highlighting the role that donkeys play on behalf of some of the world’s poorest communities, transporting clean and fresh water, food, and medicine. It was the designer’s ability to create a very natural looking landscape that made their garden such a resounding success, teamed with their consistent planting colour scheme and their ability to tell a story through the included structures.

RHS Back to Nature Garden by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Andrèe Davies, and Adam White

The RHS Back to Nature Garden truly took Chelsea visitors back to their childhood roots with a woodland play garden complete with a magical rustic tree house. Visitors queued for an hour to see the garden; something not seen before at the flower show! A cascading waterfall and trickling stream ran its way through the garden, weaving in and out of the path and giving families the chance to play and interact with the water. Children and adults alike could balance on the stepping stones, or simply cool down with a paddle on a hot summer’s day.

Wild trees and shrubs in a calming colour palette of greens and blues provided an instant ‘nature fix’. Walking through the garden, you immediately felt shielded and protected from the outside world by the trees. Strangely enough, although the garden was restricted to a single plot, it felt like there were endless paths and hidden nooks to explore. The playful and diverse planting scheme included edibles, plants that can be used for craft activities, and plants that perfumed the air with forest scents, ranging from tiny wild strawberries to magnificent trees.

The Dubai Majlis Garden by Thomas Hoblyn

A truly captivating garden, the Dubai Majlis Garden featured tear-drop curved beds, ledges of white limestone, and burnt Sienna gravel, with a central oasis water feature. Mediterranean-style planting drew the eye to an enclosed seating area inspired by the shape of sand dunes. A variety of trees featured throughout the garden, including pomegranate, pine, and small Arbutus. This garden wonderfully combined natural and uniformed lines, bright colours, and texture to result in a wonderfully tranquil space.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden by Mark Gregory

Mark wanted to bring the beauty of Yorkshire’s canals and riverbanks to Chelsea, highlighting the county’s rich industrial heritage and celebrating the local landscapes. Without doubt, the scale of the garden goes beyond anything seen at Chelsea before with an authentic canal, lock keeper’s stone lodge, flowing water, and repurposed canal lock gates. The planting celebrated the rich diversity of native flora alongside cultivated varieties, along with a cultivated vegetable patch in the lodge garden. The lock gates were originally removed from a canal in Yorkshire and donated by the Canal & River Trust, undergoing an extensive restoration process beforehand to give them a new lease of life before the show. The garden won gold, and was also voted as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

The Resilience Garden by Sarah Eberle

Designed to mark the Forestry Commission’s centenary, this garden hopes to remind us of the future challenges faced by our natural woodland and forests. The garden features exotic species such as dawn redwood and monkey puzzle trees, alongside native species such as hawthorn – thriving in habitats that mimic existing and probable effects of climate change. Contrasting areas feature an arid area, woodland edge and streamside environments. A gravel path prominently runs throughout the garden, effectively contrasting with the woodland edge planting that consists of pink ragged robin, blue-flowered borage, and forget-me-nots.

Plant of the Year 2019

Showcasing the exciting and diverse new plants launched at this year’s show, we’ve selected our favourites from the shortlist:

Ajuga tenorei ‘Princess Nadia’

Ideal for planting at the edge of shady borders, Ajuga also makes an excellent ground cover as it quickly knits together into an evergreen carpet. This plant has a wonderful multi-coloured foliage featuring red and cream tones with thick, upright stems and deep blue flowers, which usually appear in spring. Bees and other pollinators love this plant, making it the perfect choice for any nature-loving gardener.

Image Credit: The RHS

Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’

This new perennial salvia is closely related to the sought-after ‘Hot Lips’, and like its cousin it produces an plenty of pretty purple and white flowers throughout the summer. Perfect for planting in mixed or herbaceous borders, this plant will also grow well in patio pots and containers.

Image Credit: The RHS

Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’

Named after the heroine of The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, this an exceedingly pretty shrub rose by the legendary David Austin Roses. With a soft apricot-pink hue, each bloom is bursting with frilled, ruffled petals on red-tinged stems. These lovely roses have a fruity fragrance that will perfume the evening air.

Image Credit: David Austin Roses

Paeonia ‘All That Jazz’

This newly launched and elegant flower proved to be very popular at the Chelsea Flower Show, with its very fine foliage and double cream and plum blushed flowers. These new plants are only available to pre-order from October 2019 or as grown plants in large, 5.5L pots for delivery in Spring 2020. Avid gardeners will be in a rush to be the first to plant this stunning variety in their gardens.

Picture Credit: Primrose Hall Peonies

Lupinus ‘Bishops Tipple’

Lilac flowers with a hint of yellow run up tall and stocky stems, which appear from early May onwards. Their pleated palmate leaves look lovely in dew. These striking lupins prefer lots of sun and moist, but well-drained soil.

Image Credit: West Country Nurseries