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Inchbald School of Design
Chelsea Flower Show is the highlight of the UK’s Summer Season, attended by leading garden designers and keen amateurs from the world over. Each year a selection of Inchbald graduates make a big impression at Chelsea, displaying the talent and technique that has been honed by the quality of Inchbald’s educational standards, a quality that ensures their professional success. This year Inchbald graduate Luciano Giubbilei, and senior tutor Thomas Hoblyn, are both in the process of planning Show Gardens for 2009.
Commissioned by Laurent Perrier for their 2009 display, this is Luciano’s debut at Chelsea Flower Show. Inspired by the elegant sophistication of this famous champagne house, Luciano aims to bring together art and nature in a design that embodies the essence of his client’s stylish reputation. His garden will explore the manner in which linear design can create order within a natural setting, offering an effect of spiritual calm and intellectual clarity. The design forms part of an extended living space and explores the relationship between architecture and its environment. Framed within tiered evergreen hedges and trees, a monolithic stone wall displays an ethereal work of art by artist Nigel Hall. The hedges suggest an architectural feature, exemplifying the relationship between buildings and gardens.
Thomas Hoblyn returns to Chelsea for the second time, following his Gold in the Urban Garden category in 2008. Inspired by a trip to the marshlands of North Carolina to search for the Venus Flytrap, Tom’s garden for Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust highlights the uncertainty of climate, both environmental and economic. The garden will feature some of the largest trees to be seen this year at Chelsea, together with a sculptural centrepiece, ‘Waves of Change’, dominated by a nude female figure, ‘The Guardian of the Environment’.
Andrew Duff, Director at the Inchbald School of Design, picks out key trends to watch out for at the 2009 show. He notes that several sponsors have pulled out of the 2009 Show, a clear reflection of the economic climate. “Chelsea 2009 is set to be a challenging year for designers. Fewer gardens are being built, with the result that the remaining gardens are larger. This means that the sponsor/designer partnerships are faced with building more for reduced financial support, so the gardens at Chelsea 2009 will undoubtedly be more realistic and almost certainly more creative.
Look out for the economic planting plans. Duff considers that we will see a reappraisal of British native species. They are not only cheaper to grow; they do not require special planting conditions, nor do they attract the costs of import from Europe. Silver Birch, Hazel and Box will be taking centre stage, coming once again into their own.
Colour will take its lead from a resurgence of 80’s florescence. Big, bright and bold flowers such as Dahlia and Tulip will be shouting from a darker background of architectural foliage. Gone are the minimal species meadow planting of last year and here to stay are plants which provide us with ongoing seasonal interest together with a sense of optimism in these grey times. People will be expecting plants to work for their money.
2009 is a great year to see new young, up-and-coming designers working on a low budget. Duff is particularly intrigued to see how they handle hard landscaping, which is often the most expensive part of a show garden. He predicts that we will be seeing a lot of recycled materials, a necessity which will represent a positive step for our environment.
Previous Inchbald success stories include Philip Nixon and Marcus Barnett, whose gardens took Gold consecutively in 2005 and 2006; their first Award coming just 12 months after graduating from the Inchbald. Another Inchbald graduate, Haruko Seki was awarded silver flora for her ‘Garden in the Silver Moonlight’ in 2008.