x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Highlights from this year's Chelsea Flower Show

Many of the exhibits featured elements of traditional Islamic gardens and included plants to inspire UAE gardeners.

Marcus Barnett The Times Eureka Garden.
Marcus Barnett The Times Eureka Garden.

The Chelsea Flower Show, the largest event on the international gardening calendar, took place over five days in London last month, showcasing new plants, flowers and designs from around the world, displayed in a burst of colour and creativity.

Several of this year's exhibits featured elements of the traditional Islamic garden: shaded, enclosed courtyards, running water and seating areas. Many also included Mediterranean and tropical plants to inspire the UAE gardener. The M&G Garden by Bunny Guinness featured shade-casting lemon, fig and quince trees in oversized terracotta pots creating a lush, cool courtyard oasis to inspire the container or terrace gardener, while the Monaco Garden by Sarah Eberle, with its vertical growing wall, arid borders and long, rippling pool, presented a striking contemporary design for a high-rise city roof garden. Here are some of the highlights of this year's show.


Cleve West, Daily Telegraph Garden

RHS gold medal, best show garden This year's show winner, Cleve West's sunken garden, a seamless blend of classic and contemporary, was partly inspired by his visit to Libya's ancient Roman ruins at Ptolemais. His design, framed by dry stone walling, featured terracotta columns, channels of flowing water, delicate trees (Sophora japonica) and self-seeding plants such as the Mexican daisy, Erigeron karvinskianus, to maintain its theme of timelessness.


Luciano Giubbilei, Laurent-Perrier Garden

RHS gold medal The Italian landscape designer blended classical and contemporary style to create a calm, elegant garden that integrated a granite sculpture evoking ripples in the sand. This is a second Chelsea gold for Luciano, who has created a spacious, romantic garden of light and shade, where a central stream flows over natural slate rocks. Cloud-pruned mountain pines stand to the rear with shapely Persian ironwood trees to the fore. Luscious wild planting beside the water in dusky hues of bronze to purple include the eye-catching Iris Dutch Chocolate and Sultan's Palace. At the garden's heart is a beautiful bamboo pavilion by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, in which delicate panels swivel gently in the breeze.


Sarah Eberle, Principality of Monaco Garden

RHS gold medal The gold medal-winning Monaco Garden by Sarah Eberle looks at new design solutions for the high-rise architecture and landscape of the space-starved Mediterranean principality of Monaco. Vertical growing walls and alternative energy sources offer imaginative ideas for a stylish outdoor living space, while the glass-framed rippling lap pool is a cool sanctuary from the summer sun. Planting schemes included osteospermum, aloe barberae and lampranthus - low-maintenance sun-lovers ideal for the city gardener.


Bunny Guinness, M&G Garden

RHS silver-gilt medal This contemporary take on the kitchen garden is a fragrant paradise of plants and flowers for both culinary and decorative pleasure, with accent colours in lime greens and ruby wine. Large terracotta pots contain shade-giving lemon and medlar trees, while the parterre-style raised beds, reminiscent of classical Islamic gardens, house mixed plantings of cabbages and beans, clematis and roses. The floating glass deck creates an elevated and relaxing chill-out space to nourish body and soul and enjoy the view.


Marcus Barnett, The Times Eureka Garden

RHS silver medal The Times Eureka Garden in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, highlights the importance of plants to science and society. Species chosen demonstrate both beauty and utility; many have medicinal, commercial and industrial uses, highlighting the invaluable role plants play in our everyday lives. The shaded pavilion at the rear is designed to look like the skeleton of a leaf folded into a cube shape and from this leaf "capillaries" run out into the garden and up the hedges. At night, the pavilion glows from the inside and reflects in the simple still water beneath it.