Prize-Winning Gardens at Chelsea
Image courtesy of Felicia Feaster
A crowd favorite and Best Show Garden winner, the Trailfinders Australian Garden features a solar powered artist's retreat with an indoor shower and meant to reference an abstraction of the Waratah flower. The garden is by Melbourne designer Phillip Johnson.
There were some big surprises at Chelsea this year, including the award of the Best Show Garden to the Trailfinders Australian Show Garden by Fleming's which suggested Jurassic Park meets Mad Max with its mash-up of tropical lushness and a cautionary sustainable message. Like many gardens at this year's show, conservation was a key feature of the Australian Show Garden.
No surprise that the Best Artisan Garden for smaller gardens at Chelsea went to the utterly magical An Alcove (Tokonoma) Garden, which was like a miniature Japanese woodcut come to life with a jewel box tatami room crowned by a green roof, a small waterfall and a use of moss and grass that covered the space in a blanket of green.
A message about the natural devastation of fire to renew the earth came in the After the Fire garden by James Basson and was meant to show the regeneration that occurs following a fire and nature's incredible resilience.
A garden path leads to a sculpture focal point in the Arthritis Research UK garden designed by Chris Beardshaw, which was characterized by vibrant, colorful plantings mixed with a sense of tranquility. Plantings included Iris Supreme Sultan, Lupinus Masterpiece, Lunaria Corfu Blue, Tanacetum parthenium, Escholtzia californica and Anchusa Loddon Royalist.
After the Fire
This gold winner at the Chelsea Flower Show featured a scorched landscape, with charred trees coexisting with plantings to illustrate the notion of renewal from destruction. The Chelsea judges can be seen in the center of the garden, surveying the garden. Judges are treated with reverence at Chelsea and members of the press are quickly hustled away from gardens when judges are on site.