FLORAL FRENZY – CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2018
Chelsea Flower Show has always appealed to me. The immaculately curated prize gardens, artisan offerings and avant-garde displays complemented by a steady stream of elegant guests fashioned in florals.
This was the first year that I had actually attended the show and the day was met with eager anticipation. Press Day was a big deal. Along with a bumper-pack of information (absolutely necessary for someone totally ignorant to the Latin names of plants), a ‘celebrity spotting list’ was provided. This was met with enthusiasm as I love a celeb sighting! Camera fully-charged and sunglasses packed, I had all the tools for a fabulous visit.
My dream day – this is how Monday’s should be done!
On my journey to Sloane Square, whilst navigating the route, it became apparent that London was in bloom. Chelsea Flower Show fever was in full swing. Decorative displays adorned buildings – from members’ clubs to pop-up shops. Instagram saw a flurry of floral in the days that followed and inspiration is still rife. Let’s face it, we all love flowers. They make us happy!
I always style interior schemes with flowers for that finishing touch. And if it’s a grey day (which it often is) then throwing some tulips in a simple glass vase or wearing something sunny always elevates my mood.
This post is designed to both share my Chelsea Flower Show highlights but also showcase the impact that florals continue to make on our homes and wardrobes with some of my seasonal picks.
I loved the stunning bespoke aluminium greenhouse by Alitex
Flowers can be styled to acheive a huge variety of ‘looks’. From neat, sleek and contemporary – unashamedly preened – to wildly textural and organic. Chintzy and pretty offers a more vintage feel.
As I toured Chelsea Flower Show with the lovely Catherine (from Dainty Dress Diaries), we remarked on the show’s widely varied aesthetic . In some instances, displays were manicured to perfection with not a petunia out of place. And with others, a more relaxed vibe was explored with plants creeping out from aged ceramic pots. With some of the more ‘undone’ exhibits, a sense of process was (excuse the pun) unearthed.
Freddie’s Flowers created a gorgeous display in the Artisan Gardens
It would be very easy for me to talk all day about the show – it really was that inspiring. (In fact, I did just that on Insta-stories and you can watch my Chlesea Flower Show highlights here).
My short selection below outlines the exhibits and spaces that I continue to reflect on;
- CHRIS BEARDSHAW’S MORGAN STANLEY GARDEN FOR THE NSPCC
Clean lines meet organic, textural perennials
The clean lines of the pavillion nod to Mies van der Rohe’s iconic architecture whilst the foliage and curved bas-reliefs offset the stark geometry. It’s this juxtaposition – the merging of sharp with organic and fusion of textures – which made this the stand-out garden for me. And, evidently, for the judges too as they crowned it the ‘Best Show Garden’ at Chelsea Flower Show.
Designed to raise awareness of the invaluable work of the NSPCC, the garden is a metaphor for the positive emotional journey a child will experience through NSPCC support. The layered space softens as it spans across the plot, opening to reveal tactile perennials and an innate sense of calm.
2. DAVID HARBER & SAVILLS
Sculpture set within nature is always beautifully powerful
Designed by Nic Howard and built by Langdale Landscapes, this garden was always going to appeal to me. I’m a huge Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore enthusiast so this David Harber and Savills sculpture garden gave me all the ‘feels’.
With the large curved bronze as the focal point, crisp tension lines contrast with the gentle curves of nature. The ageing patina with its vibrant hue, distinct void and unapologetic presence works beautifully set within the enveloping planting. I love to see large, imposing sculptures set within nature and this sumptuous space highlighted the successful paring once again.
3. WALLGARDEN’S (TINY) TOWNHOUSE
Wallgarden’s townhouse of dreams
Less of a floral display really but the perfect conversation starter (and mini-retreat) for that little corner of the garden, should you have one going spare. Essentially the ultimate Barbie Dream House for sophisticates.
This scaled-down townhouse by Wallgarden showcases sensitive period features – from the decorative fireplace to beautiful mouldings. I enjoyed maneuvering through the tiny front door which was finished with gorgeous gold hardware (of course) and gawped at the oak floorboards and decorative touches. The surrounding garden was manicured too, with pops of purple in every shade.
4. LG ECO CITY GARDEN
LG Eco City Garden
This is the back garden that I wish I owned. The space epitomises the roaring success of indoor-outdoor living with only gorgeous glazing forcing a momentary pause to the flow.
Citrus shades singing against the sea of green foliage – a refreshing palette. This is a colour-combination gathering moment both in fashion – and interiors, with yellows having their moment to shine!
This garden made me happy from the moment I saw it. The central sunken seating area was framed with neat box hedges, complemented by a generous planting of yellow lupins, Trollius and Aquilegia alongside orange geums and coppery verbascums. The cooler, icy flowers maintained balance and the John Cullen Lighting completed the look to stunning effect.
5. ARTISAN GARDENS – VARIOUS
This little mobile bar looked absolutely stunning adorned in this floral installation by June in March
The Artisan Gardens appealed to me with their mix of styles, authenticity and soul. Little huts with pared-back Scandi-styling were set alongside pebbled patios and luxury greenhouses. Sculptures could be enjoyed in the round and we marvelled over the aged-effect patina on some striking specimens.
The exhibitors were friendly and inviting, enjoying the compliments that we interjected as they shared the back-story to their products and displays.
Enjoying all that the Artisan Gardens had to offer. Inspirations exhibits ranged from home-office contemporary caravans to Scandi-sheds
CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW – DRESSING THE PART
Enjoying a spectacular view of the show from the impressive stone steps
What I was going to wear was never in question. It had to be something floral. The glorious weather also played a large part in the decision-making process and a lightweight linen dress was certainly the way to go. It’s a shame that long train journeys and linen garments are not friends, and I spent a large portion of my day trying to smooth out the creases.
Needless to say that Gaby Roslin – my celeb spot – had the right idea in a beautiful silk-mix dress. (She also probably jumped in an air-conditioned cab to the show rather than a sweltering carriage). Good plan Gaby!
Gaby Roslin flaunts the florals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Here are some other floral-picks that would have fit the bill;
CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW – BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN
Enjoying all the botanical beauties on display at the decadent Wedgwood Tearoom
Floral accessories have never looked so chic. I left Chelsea Flower Show extremely enthused to incorporate more pretty, botanical elements in my schemes. If you’re considering doing the same, here are my interior floral fancies;
Chelsea Flower Show 2018 was beyond inspiring and enriched its guests with genuine flower power! Have you ever visited? What did you think of this year’s offering? If you’ve not been, I would recommend it as a calendar highlight for May 2019 – it won’t disappoint!
Girl signing off,
If you enjoyed this post and for more Chelsea Flower Show-inspired floral treats, take a look at my general ‘Summer Florals’ post here. You may also like to read my coverage of Holiday House London and London Design Week 2018