The Garden Guide

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

 Video review of the Chelsea 2014 garden designs by Tom Turner


Video review of Charlotte Rowe's garden + Jeremy Paxman reading Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce et Decorum est



Gardens should be useful, beautiful and well-made. This ‘formula’ comes from Vitruvius, who, 2000 years ago, described the qualities of a good design, in Latin, as Utilitas, Venustas and Firmitas. Real gardens may concentrate on one or all of these qualities. Show gardens, at Chelsea, tend to concentrate. understandably, on visual qualities which are explained, with words and with images. My review will quote from the designers’ accounts, show their presentation drawing and give a brief comment on each of the selected garden designs.


Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden designed by Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam

 The theme is wine tasting. Planting, flower colours, perfumes and textures are used to visualise these sensations. Charred oak is combined with limestone surfaces and sparkling water to complete this garden of sensory delight. The scale, proportion, colour and texture are excellent.

 I thought it the best Show Garden of 2014.

 The Mind's Eye Garden designed by LDC

 Designed as a sensory garden for blind and partially sighted people, the space challenges the fully sighted viewer by sometimes blurring or distorting the image we expect to see. The garden is divided into four zones: open woodland, damp and shady woodland, prairie border and arid border. The centrepiece is a beautiful glass cube water feature.

 For a sighted person, the garden is visually rich, well-enclosed and inventive. The Gold Medal and the award for Best Fresh Garden were well deserved.

 Brewin Dolphin Garden designed by Matthew Childs

 The calm, tranquil spaces in the garden are surrounded by fresh, lush planting. There are bold, engaging elements throughout the design, such as patinated copper archways, generous paths and sculpture. The copper archways form a brilliant foil for the planting.

I like'd it

 The Telegraph Garden designed by Tommaso del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz

 Inspiration has been taken from revisiting the components traditionally found in the great historical Italian gardens to create this bold and uncompromising modern garden, a peaceful and beautiful environment designed for rest and relaxation.

The design is elegant, to a high degree, and the garden includes a delightful space for talking, eating and relaxing - with a beautiful view.

 Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei

 This garden is formed from a series of defined layers. The cool, contemplative design shows the interplay of natural elements with a simple geometric layout.

The sculptural wall and the planting are excellent but the pool and other features are disappointing. It would not have been my choice for the Best in Show Award.