It’s A Very English Garden, by name and by character, a celebration of tradition, craftsmanship and tasteful perennial planting. The skill and sheer hard work that goes into the creation of Chelsea Show gardens is extraordinary. The pillars and half-dome alcove in the garden pictured  above were all built in dry stone walling. After five days the show has ended and by the time you read this the gardens will all have been dismantled again.


Most of the show gardens have a title and a theme.  Many have a definite message as well. This garden, entitled A Million Dreams, celebrated the way in which cricket helps young people in India to realise their hopes and ambitions. Apart from the obvious cricket theme the most eye-catching feature of the garden was the beautiful walls, hand-crafted in Jaipur with thousands of inlaid pieces of semi-precious stones. (Click for a closer view)


Two linking themes ran through many of the gardens at this year’s show, the role of gardens in supporting mental health and the importance of environmental responsibility.

(Click on any photo to view the gallery and learn more about these three gardens)


Sometimes the message really doesn’t matter.  The theme of the O-mo-te-na-shi no NIWA garden was hospitality but (seen from the outside) it was the beautiful detail of the traditional Japanese garden that was really memorable.  It’s hard to believe that every rock, maple tree and tussock of moss in this garden had simply been stuffed into place the previous week.


The Welcome to Yorkshire garden had a simple message – come to Yorkshire, it’s beautiful.


And finally a garden with no theme or title apart from that of its sponsor M&G. On a grey morning the clay walls and Mediterranean plants looked as though they were waiting for the sun to come out but, despite being surrounded by a throng of visitors, this garden exuded delicacy, repose and a faint air of mystery.  My favourite.


My photos of the more popular gardens are views snatched between the shoulders of other show visitors.  You can explore the gardens in more detail on the RHS website here.