Small garden ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show 2018

If you’ve ever fought your way to the front of a crowd at a music festival to join the mosh pit, or fought your way out of one, then you’ll have some idea what attending the Chelsea Flower Show is like.

I’ve done Chelsea a couple of times now and the only objective differences I can see between the gardening calendar’s premiere event and Glastonbury are:

1. Most of Chelsea’s revelers have silver-hair

2. If you can smell pot at Chelsea you’re probably at The Pot Company stall.

In short, getting yourself to the front to get a good look at the gardens and displays, and out again, can be very hard work. Thankfully, no one seems to resort to elbows — which is either because they’re all naturally very polite or because they’re worried they’ll spill their prosecco if they do.

Make no mistake though, Chelsea is completely worth the middle class congestion. The show gardens aren’t pop songs, they’re intricate symphonies. Stunning, arresting, and brimming with ideas you can pinch for your own garden.

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The David Harber and Savills Garden.

Searching for inspiration at the Chelsea Flower Show

The show gardens that are such a feature of Chelsea are freaking enormous – up to 260 square yards (240 square metres). The main section of my garden — the bit with actual soil — is only 267 square feet. I don’t really do maths but that’s a s***-load smaller.

Even the artisan gardens and “Space to Grow” gardens have, well, more space to grow than I do.

But nevertheless, there was plenty of inspiration to be found.

The LG Eco-City Garden

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The LG-Eco City Garden.

This was one my favourite gardens this year. The combination of white foxgloves and yellow lupins with the orange guem is stunning.

But what I really liked about this garden was the green wall, which might do for the rear wall of my garden, and then the trees – which have no foliage at lower levels and therefore keep the space open.

You can read more about the garden here.

The Urban Flow Garden

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The Urban Flow garden.

Lupins were the haemorrhoids of this year’s Chelsea (every second a***hole had them) and the Urban Flow Garden used these wonderful purple ones.

It’s the colour palette I like about this garden. I’m very attracted to the blue part of the spectrum when it comes to flowers and the planting included salvias, euphorbias, astrantias and irises.

But it was the variation in leaf shapes, sizes, colours and textures I really enjoyed. These will create a lot of interest outside of the flowering season (which is, frankly, most of the year).

You can read more about the garden here.

Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC

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The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC.

This garden is based on a woodland so you’d think there’s really bugger all chance of finding any good small garden ideas here. But actually, because woodlands are so shady, there are some great ideas for suitable plantings at the ground level.

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The Mo.rgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC

Again, it’s the foliage that’s doing the work here, with those little splashes of colour from the flowers.

You can read more about the garden here. And you can find information about and pictures of all the gardens here.



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