The Halifax Garden by Stuart Perry

The Halifax Garden by Stuart Perry
Derbyshire based garden designer Stuart Perry will be making his Chelsea Flower Show debut at the 2006 show with an uncompromisingly modern garden for first time sponsors Halifax.  The garden entitled ‘These Four Walls’ is a sleek, simple space inspired by Scandinavian landscapes. 

The Sove (Norwegian for sleep) adds a modern twist to the traditional summer cabin. A large glass frontage provides expansive views of the garden and the curving arm section of the building houses a day bed which when retracted lies in the dappled shade of the trees.

When considering his Chelsea Flower Show design Perry worked up a blue print of what he felt would be the ultimate Chelsea Flower Show garden, complete with wow factor, unique design elements and spectacular planting including some highly unusual juxtapositions. Traditional old English climbing rose varieties such as New Dawn, Bobbie James, Rambling Rector and White Cloud will be planted up concrete plinth like walls for a softening effect on this rather hard, modern material.  The colour palate will be pale pinks and whites.

The circular path of smooth limestone with level changes accented in wood, leads from the Sove on a journey of exploration. The four monolithic walls define three distinct areas, acting as both obstacles and gateways on the journey around the garden. Their imposing nature refers to the towering cliffs of the fjord land regions. The slanted gaps allow glimpses of unseen areas which encourage onward travel whilst the elegant back wall provides a strong sense of enclosure.

Another Chelsea Flower Show first is the immense water feature which can boast of being the largest single sheet of glass ever brought into the showground and possibly the largest ever used in Europe.  The two tons of glass were made in  the Far East as no European factory had the capacity or the machinery to handle such a large sheet. 

The water wall will be 2.4 metres high and 8 metres wide.  This vast glass water wall sits in strong textural contrast to its strong green hornbeam hedge backdrop. The frosted glass has a glacial appearance but also has a thin cooling film of water running down its face. Huge, yet subtle and elegant, it draws together the three areas of the garden.

Perennials and Grasses dominate the vibrant under storey planting. This is an abstract representation of the valley floors and lowlands which burst into life with the onset of summer. The flowing movement of the foliage is reminiscent of a lush summer meadow in a gentle breeze. The paths dip down to a lower level in the centre of the scheme and weave their way through the grassy perennials creating a sense of being thoroughly immersed in nature’s splendor. 

Not one for playing it safe, Perry has set himself the daunting challenge of getting ten varieties of Hemerocallis in bloom for the Halifax garden, no mean feat considering that these plants do not usually flower until June.   Other noteworthy features include a striking hand made bench made by internationally acclaimed New Zealand designer David Trubridge.

With this imaginative Chelsea Flower Show garden design Perry hopes to push the boundaries of the outdoor room in terms of theatre and spectacle whilst at the same time creating a soothing and relaxing environment that can be enjoyed by all.

Stuart Perry’s Halifax Garden
Marries the Modern with the Traditional

Chelsea Flower Show newcomer Stuart Perry will make a very bold entrance to the show with his strikingly modern garden for Halifax.  This is a garden set to raise more than a few eyebrows when it is unveiled on 23 May at the world’s most famous flower show. The Garden is sponsored by Halifax Bank.

Perry has a passion for plants and in this garden the plants will do the talking.  One of his missions is to drum up public enthusiasm and make roses fashionable again.  The Halifax garden will show this most traditional of plants used in a modern context.  

Everyone knows what a rose looks like but of all the plants they are possibly one of the most diverse, with a rose for every occasion or situation. Perry challenges anyone not to find a rose that they love as they cater for everyone’s taste be it for colour, shape, form or fragrance.  The rose still remains the most admired flower of them all and provokes emotion unlike any other flowering plant. 

This garden will play host to eight varieties of rose including; Rambling Rector, New Dawn, White Cloud, Awakening, Bobby James, Lavinia, Francoise Jurandville  and Madame Gregoire  Staechelin.  These traditional climbing roses will be planted up concrete plinth-like walls for a softening effect on this rather hard, modern material.  The colour palate will be pale pinks and whites.

Another outstanding plant on the garden will be Hemerocallis. Perry is growing over 500 plants in a bid to get just 15-30 blooms in the garden for show time! Watch out for Baby Darling, Bellini, Gingerbread Man, Little Maggie and Moon Witch to name but a few. Hemerocallis has been chosen for its vibrancy and ability to blend excellently with the garden’s signature plant; the iris which will be planted in the very same way an artist flicks paint onto a canvas, in paint flicks throughout the garden with potentially up to 350 in flower. Six simple varieties have been chosen for their height, delicacy and simplicity.   

Designing a Chelsea Flower Show garden is not without its problems and one that always needs to be overcome is how to best disguise the white walls of the Great Marquee.  In this case the rather ubiquitous but highly effective hornbeam will make up the hedge, which is in fact the very same hedge as used in the Savills garden 2005 but it is now nearly two feet higher at 3.3 metres.

Five large hornbeam trees will also feature for maximum impact on this garden. The selected five have a unique spiral effect on the bark, measure six or seven metres and will remain unclipped.  These trees bring a degree of maturity and stature to the garden whilst also offering dappled shade and an air of strength.

Up to 100 Circisum atropurpureum have been selected for their vibrant claret colour and the combination effect they will produce when paired with the stunning dark iris, ‘Queen of the Night’

Perhaps one of the prettiest plants on the Halifax Garden will be Nectaroscordum siculum (Allium siculum), a member of Allium family but really a plant that couldn’t be more different to the Chelsea favourites such as Allium Christophii.  This plant has a delicate droopy tall stem, pale creamy to rosy pink flower heads with ten to twenty little bell-like  blooms on a stem.  It will be used for height (over 90cms) throughout the garden in small clumps.

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