Saturday, 4 August 2012

The best of Chelsea

A highlight on the global gardening calendar, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show sets the world standard. This year, South Africa won its 32nd Gold Medal in 37 years of participation at Chelsea Flower Show!
Known as the Floral Olympics, the prestigious annual Chelsea Flower Show in London sets the stage for the world’s top landscape designers to prove their mettle by displaying the cutting edge in international garden design. So it’s hardly surprising that with only 157 000 tickets available, the show, held in May, is sold out by February. This year, Chelsea’s 99th show boasted 500 exhibitors and 34 show gardens – we bring you the top designs and trends.
Proudly South African 
Gateways – A botanical journey was the theme of the 2012 South Africa – Kirstenbosch exhibit. Designed by David Davidson and Ray Hudson, it was divided into four triangles that met at a central point and comprised four gardens, including a gracious Cape Dutch Manor House surrounded by proteas, a fisherman’s cottage in a garden of restios, a rough Karoo farm track complete with succulents and grasses, and a Ndebele archway that leads to a bushveld scene complete with aloes and a baobab.
Did you know? 
Plans for next year’s exhibit are already underway as three celebrations coincide: Kirstenbosch and the Chelsea Flower Show will both celebrate their centenary, while David Davidson and Ray Hudson will be designing their 20th exhibit.
Best on show 
Spectacular topiaries standing like sentinels amidst herbaceous gardens filled with bee-friendly foraging plants were the focal features of the Brewin Dolphin Garden, which won the overall Best Garden on Show award for self-taught garden designer Cleve West. In keeping with Chelsea’s recycling ethos, the garden will be renamed Horatio’s Garden and rebuilt at a spinal treatment centre in honour of Horatio Chapple, the Eton schoolboy mauled to death by a polar bear while on a school trip to Norway last year.

This article first appeared on 17 July 2012, on the home website.

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