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Four Key Takeaways from the 2021 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was one like no other – fears over COVID restrictions meant that it took place in Septemberm rather than its usual month of May. This meant that pumpkins and dahlias were featured for the first time as growers had to introduce later-flowering plants into their entries. Here Compass Garden and Landscape Design, a leading landscape garden designer in Somerset, examines some of the key trends identified among the prize-winners.

The Use of Urban Locations

Even if you live in the middle of a town or city, there’s no reason why you can’t be creative with your garden or outdoor space.

For example, the Guangzhou Garden by Peter Chmiel and Chin Chen won a Best in Show Gold award with its theme to provide an oasis of calm and serenity in a city landscape. The garden included latticed timber shelters rising up from among drifts of sedges, euphorbia and ferns, while other accent plants were designed with the aim to help clean the air and water.

The same theme was evident in another Gold Medal winner, the M&G Garden, designed by Harris Bugg Studio. Here the trees, grasses and perennials mingled with repurposed piping, in a throwback to Britain’s industrial past. The versatile choice of plants meant nothing needed to be replaced from their original design for the usual May show.

Organic Gardening is Still On-Trend

Another winner was the Yeo Valley Garden, which highlighted the benefits of biodiversity and soil health. The garden itself being a meadow, planted under native silver birch and medlar trees, with a stream running through thanks to a simple steel trough.

Its designer Tom Massey aimed to provide loads of nooks and crannies to encourage wildlife to thrive, so any insect damage should be tolerated. If the damage gets too much, then his recommendation is to put up a bird feeder – a natural, rather than an artificial, solution.

Not only did the Yeo Valley Garden win a Gold Medal, it was also the first Chelsea Flower Show garden to be approved by the Soil Association.

Don’t Forget to Add Colour

Gardens should also be somewhere to lift your spirits. Finding our Way – an NHS Tribute Garden, designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, was a Silver Medal winner. In this garden, the emphasis was on colour, with dark dahlias, orange kniphofias and purple-pink salvias (above) making a striking and uplifting combination.

There were some paler colours too, to act as a contrast, and some ornamental grasses. Water features were prominent as well, with a number of rills and pools lined with beaten copper. These provided a gentle, soothing flow of water, rather than a harsh babble.

Gardens Are Places to Relax

Gardens should still be somewhere where you can take it easy and forget about all your worries. This was reflected in a number of award winners.

The Bible Society’s entry, The Psalm 23 Garden, contained ferns, hawthorns and guelder roses. The calming, serene atmosphere this created was inspired by the landscape of Dartmoor, according to designer Sarah Eberle, who grew up there.

The Calm of Bangkok was another winner – a minimal, modern garden that made effective use of a soothing water feature, as well as an inbuilt shelter and hammock

Planting Consultancy from Compass Garden and Landscape Design

If you have been inspired by any of the winners or designs in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, then garden designers Compass Garden and Landscape Design will be able to help you turn those into reality.

We operate in Somerset, Wiltshire, and further afield. And, thanks to our planting consultancy service, which also operates in south west England, we will be able to tell you if any of the plants mentioned above will thrive in your garden, given your soil and the local climate.

We will also be able to incorporate hard landscaping features into your design, whether you’d like a a water feature, a wooden structure such as a shelter or pergola, or something more ambitious.

If you would like to know more about any of our services, follow this link and fill in the online contact form or call us on 07920 051549.