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Inspiring Garden Ideas Seen at the 2024 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

There are plenty of clever gardens to get ideas from at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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By House & Garden | May 23, 2024 | Gardens

The goal from a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is to come away with your head full of ideas and inspiration. Sometimes the show gardens can feel unattainable – too esoteric, too wild or too zany for your own back garden. This year however there are plenty of clever, stylish and down-to-earth gardens that offer ideas for real gardens. Here are a few of the best.

The Killik & Co Garden by Baz Grainger

This is a garden that you can imagine recreating like–for-like in your own plot. Featuring a corten steel pergola that doubles up as a water channel to capture rainwater, the garden is divided into several different areas. A handsome dry stone wall is interspersed with clipped evergreen hornbeam for visual interest, while on the ground, oak setts have been used as an alternative to stone. A relaxed seating area is shaded by multi-stemmed silver birch and surrounded by soft planting including field maples clipped into soft mounds. More plants are grown in raised timber planters with built in seating. Simple, elegant design means that the space has been used efficiently and the planting is designed to be low maintenance and drought-tolerant.

The Ecotherapy Garden by Tom Bannister

The most ingenious of the container gardens is this tiny courtyard with its series of geometric planters and water tanks made from hypertufa. This material can be homemade in your own garden using a mixture of portland cement and spaghnum moss or perlite, and it is much lighter than concrete or terracotta. The designer has incorporated a small plunge pool into the design, with a small rill and water feature to provide the sound of running water. The containers are beautifully planted with ferns, hostas, tiarella and other woodland plants underneath multi stemmed hawthorns.

The Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden by Chris Hull and Sid Hill

You might wander past this garden and dismiss it as a sea of natural meadow flowers and nothing much else - but almost every plant in this garden is edible. Camassia bulbs can be slow-baked to release their sugars, bistort leaves can be boiled or ground to make into bread, and anchusa seeds are a rich source of oil. Even in a small patch of land you could recreate this edible meadow that looks as lovely as it tastes.

Kent Wildflower Seeds

This exhibit makes you look at native plants in a completely different light. At first glance, you will see a series of large, elegant containers filled with beautiful, meadow-like plants. Look again and you’ll see that some of these plants are what we would usually regard as weeds. One container is filled with a mass of ribwort plantain while another is overflowing with clover, salad burnet and buttercup. Even here in the Grand Marquee, the bees have found their way to these plants, showing how easy it is to encourage wildlife even if you only have room for a few pots.

Sarah Raven’s Potting Shed

This display shows how much fun you can have by creating annual pot displays. Using easy-to-grow annuals like cosmos, poppies, nasturtiums and sweet peas, Sarah and Arthur Parkinson have made a cheerful, colourful display that costs only as much as a few packets of seed and a bag or two of compost. The flowers are interspersed with Euphorbia oblongata, one of Sarah’s star cut flowers, which will self seed around the garden to return the following year.

The Roman Garden by The Newt

Sponsor of the Chelsea Flower Show this year, The Newt has recreated a 1st-century colonnaded garden. Set against the pillars of the colonnade, the central garden is symmetrical and stylish, with clipped yew cones and pomegranate trees surrounded by pretty, scented plants. All the plants were chosen because they would have been used in Roman times, from the opium poppies to the chamomile and lavender, but in terms of design, the garden is as relevant today as it was all those years ago.

This story originally appeared on House & Garden UK.