7 Must-See Gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show

At Cuckooland we’ve been talking about gardening an awful lot recently what with gardening season just around the corner, and we hope that you’ve been inspired by our posts, and gained a few ideas for your own garden back home. However, while we hope our blog posts have got you itching to get back out in the garden, gardeners all over Britain know that gardening season hasn’t “officially” started until the Chelsea Flower Show is in full-swing! A real testament to the British green-fingered, the Chelsea Flower Show really brings out the best, the most interesting, and the most downright obscure and quirky of what Britain’s gardens have to offer! So, in honour of the arrival of gardening season, here are our favourites from what we’ve seen so far of this year’s line-up!

after the fire RHS Chelsea flower show

“After the Fire”, by James Basson and Peter Dowle

Sponsored by Scape Design in conjunction with Cancer Research UK, this fiery-themed garden designed by James Basson represents re-growth and regeneration. Inspired by the terrible forest fires responsible for the mass destruction of greenery in certain parts of the world, Basson’s design contrasts charred tree-trunks, charcoal mulch, and rocks topped with lava, contrasted, of course, by beautiful foliage that pays tribute to the entire circle of life. This, of course, is reflective of the destructive effect that cancer has on the lives of its patients and their loved ones; but it also focuses on the strength and rebirth that comes after the suffering is over.

The-Arthritis-Research-UK-RHS Chelsea flower show

The Arthritis Research UK Garden by Chris Beardshaw and Keith Chapman Landscapes

The centrepiece of this garden sponsored by the charity of the same name is a statue representing a person suffering from Arthritis; wrapped in sinister-looking bindings which are, however, been cast away, revealing the person’s eyes and bodies, and setting them free again! The garden reflects on the journey of somebody who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, with visitors entering the shadowy woodlands of the Veiled Gardens, leading them through into the Lucid Gardens with its reflective lake. The final step of the journey is the exuberant warmth of the Radiant Garden, representing pain relief and regaining one’s confidence.

Brewin Dolphin RHS Chelsea flower show

The Brewin Dolphin Garden by Matthew Childs

Financial advisory firm Brewin Dolphin were the winners of 2012’s competition, and have returned again this year with an exquisite preview of their 2014 entry. On their page, Brewin Dolphin show an elongated garden of increasing abundance as viewers walk through it, representing the very same growth in abundance that the company stands for! Definitely Cuckooland’s “one to watch”!

 Tokonoma RHS Chelsea flower show

“Tokonoma” Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara

Here at Cuckooland, we’re experts on dining rooms, and are fascinated by the history of a room that stems from traditional pomp and circumstance in which the wealthy would host important guests back in the Middle Ages. Ishihara’s garden here “represents the alcove in a traditional Japanese tatami room”; a room in which the Japanese host and interact with the most important people in their lives! How very honourable – we definitely look forward to seeing more of this one!

Trailfinders RHS Chelsea flower show

Trailfinders Australian Garden by Phillip Johnson

This gold medal-winning “best show garden” by Phillip Johnson uses foliage from Down Under to create the concept of an inner-city garden, using a large and imposing, yet somehow very fitting and sophisticated, structure in order to recreate that urban feel! A very cosmopolitan entry; it’s the judges’ favourite, and definitely one of ours! Just watch out for those Aussie snakes and spiders!

1st touch RHS Chelsea flower show

“A Garden for First Touch at St. George’s” by Patrick Collins

The First Touch neonatal unit at St. George’s Hospital is at the forefront of care for newborn babies, and this healing and meditative garden is certainly a reflection of this. Although only small and humble compared to some of the more extravagant gardens, we think that this fits the theme of care for the tiniest of babies perfectly, and we’re definitely taken in by its reflective and meditative message in this garden, built in honour of the bravery and determination shown by the parents on premature babies.

Positively Stoke on trent RHS Chelsea flower show

“Positively Stoke-on-Trent” by Bartholomew Landscape and Stoke City Council

Those who have visited Stoke-on-Trent may not exactly associate it with beautiful greenery and wonderful plant-life. However, this garden is honest about that. With an ebbing and flowing design of silvery solar panels, this garden’s message is that Stoke is a city with a new purpose! But why is it our favourite? Well just look at those unique and super-modern manmade solar panels juxtaposed with the power of nature – it’s the quirkiest and most unusual garden out of the lot, and represents everything that Cuckooland stands for!


So there we have it, gardeners; that’s Cuckooland’s pick for this year’s Chelsea Garden Show! If you have any favourites that we’ve so carelessly missed out, do let us know in the comments below! Meanwhile, I’ve got a real itch to get out planting flowers now…

Happy gardening, and we’ll see you in Chelsea!

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