SHOW GARDENS 2007 Meet the Show Garden Designers RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The Chelsea experience “Enticing 5000 plants to sing in tune and in time to create a symphony that you hope the audience recognizes and loves.” – Chris Beardshaw
“Chelsea is like falling in love…” – Jinny Blom
Paula Ryan designing for Amnesty International.
‘The Amnesty International Garden for Human Rights’
Paula previously exhibited at Chelsea in 2005, she was awarded an RHS Bronze Medal for her small garden entry.
Garden Path… Paula moved to London from her native Ireland after graduating, and a ten year stint followed as a portfolio manager. Unfulfilled by this career, and moved by Geoff Hamilton’s death to study for the RHS Certificate at night school, Paula took the plunge and retrained as a garden designer at Inchbald. After completing the Inchbald training she spent the next ten years practising in London and the South East.
Recently Paula has moved to rural Italy where she has started to develop her own one acre garden and expand her client base internationally. Her latest projects include a large country garden in Long Island and a Manhattan roof terrace – good practice for the Amnesty roof garden at this year’s Chelsea!
Paula’s thoughts on gardening trends… “I don’t really believe in ‘the next big thing’… but then every year at Chelsea you see how the Zeitgeist effect manifests in a theme that several people have been working on individually in the previous year.”
Sarah Eberle designing for Bradstone
‘600 Days with Bradstone’
This will be Sarah’s second garden at Chelsea, in 2006 she was awarded an RHS Gold Medal for her design ‘Walking barefoot with Bradstone’. Sarah is well known as a medal winning designer at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where she has not only won RHS Gold Medals but awards for innovation.
Garden Path…In 1980 Sarah qualified as a member of the Landscape Institute. Practising landscape architecture and garden design alongside each other Sarah ran her own design and built company in Devon; then during the 1990’s she joined Hillier Landscapes as Design Director.
Sarah’s thoughts on gardening trends…”There is a continuing trend towards the Artisan approach to design – an understanding of the garden as an important stepping stone toward people understanding the balance between man and his environment, hence a leaning towards more responsible gardening.
Andy Sturgeon designing for Cancer Research
‘Cancer Research UK Garden’
This year will be Andy’s fourth time at Chelsea as a designer, and he will be hoping to match his 2006 gold medal winning design.
Garden Path… Andy has been a landscape gardener since he left school, and he has studied interior landscaping. After working with multi award winner David Steven, Andy went on to set up his own practice ‘before people even knew what garden design was.’
What Chelsea means to me…” It’s the only time when the words ‘adrenaline’ and ‘gardening’ can be used in the same sentence. Chelsea means not seeing my family for 3 weeks, sleepless nights, nervousness, excitement, exhaustion and chatting. Lots of chatting.”
Chris Beardshaw designing for Chris Beardshaw Ltd in association with Buildbase
‘The Chris Beardshaw Garden – in association with Buildbase. Celebrating 100 years of Hidcote Manor’
Chris has been involved with Chelsea exhibits over the last 15 years; but this year’s garden celebrating the centenary of Hidcote Manor will be fourth time Chris has designed a Chelsea show garden.
Garden Path… Chris’ passion for gardening and growing plants hasn’t waned since planting his first seeds aged four. He studied horticulture and has trained and worked as a landscape architect. Now well known for his TV and Radio work Chris still lectures on horticulture and is an external examiner on landscape design courses. Much of his design work now has an educational slant as Chris is passionate about the rewards horticulture can offer to people of all ages, ability and background.
Chris’ thoughts on gardening trends…”A new approach to traditional favourites like Iris, Foxgloves, Geraniums and shrub roses by using them in flamboyant and high impact planting, the rediscovery of those plants that have persisted in our gardens throughout the decades and those that are sufficiently resilient to withstand the vagaries of the British climate and still smile when the sun shines.”
Diarmuid Gavin designing for Westland Horticulture Ltd
‘The Westland Garden’
Diarmuid is no stranger at Chelsea whether presenting BBC coverage or designing a show garden. He last designed a garden at Chelsea in 2005 and was awarded an RHS Silver Gilt Medal.
Garden Path…First inspired by his parents own garden Diarmuid studied horticulture in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin and from there went on to set up his own design construction business.
Diarmuid’s thoughts on gardening trends…”At the moment there’s an interesting thing happening in the garden design world. We’ve had ten years of a mad rush to be contemporary, or for some people to be adamantly against contemporary. Moving forward, people have explored every possible use of ‘different’ materials, ideas and planting schemes to make big statements. The trend at the moment I think is all about refinement. Gardeners and appreciators of garden design are not impressed by the big statements. More subtle use of contemporary design through line, shape, refined use of materials and planting is the trend that is emerging.”
Diarmuid on Chelsea… “Chelsea is both wildly exciting and infuriating. For me it is like a drug – it gets in your blood.”
Lesley Bremness designing for East West Garden Design
‘Through the Moongate’
With a degree in design Canadian Lesley moved to the UK in the 1960’s and began working for the BBC as a production designer. In 1975 Lesley won a national competition to design the Herb Society’s first herb garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Garden Path…In 1975 Lesley left the BBC and with her husband started up a small-holding in Suffolk. Lesley created the Netherfield Herb Nursery and presented seven TV series on herbs and garden design for BBC pebble mill at one. Over the years Lesley has fulfilled her childhood dream and become an international garden designer and best selling author of 11 books in 23 countries. Whilst researching plants around the world in 1987 she discovered the philosophy of Chinese Garden Design which reflected many of her own ideas and led to 20 enjoyable years of study in the subject.
The major challenge facing Lesley at Chelsea is designing a garden that appeals to both western and Chinese tastes. This means a very significant investment in research to ensure the garden is designed and built with all the authenticity as if it were being created in China.
What Chelsea means to Lesley… “Through the Moongate fulfils a ten-year dream to bring the first Chinese garden to the Chelsea Flower Show – the world’s most prestigious garden show. It has been fuelled by the knowledge that there is an immense horticultural, aesthetic and philosophical heritage that has evolved in China over the past 3000 years waiting to inspire and delight western gardeners.”
Mark Browning designing for Fleming’s Nurseries Australia
‘The Fleming’s and Trailfinders Australian Garden’
This will be the first time Mark has designed a garden for Chelsea, but he has won many awards at Melbourne’s prestigious International Flower and Garden Show.
Garden Path…Mark studied Economics at university, during which time he worked as a gardener for a large housing developer. In 1985 he began studying Landscape Technology at Burnley College in Melbourne and finally decided that he preferred horticulture to economics. He started his own landscape design and construction business which he successfully ran for 17 years.
What Chelsea means to Mark…”Chelsea is the Olympics of horticulture; it is the best opportunity that we have to compete with the best designers and contractors the world has to offer. Chelsea is the absolute pinnacle of our industry and a Chelsea medal is unrivalled in its prestige.”
Robert Myers designing for Fortnum & Mason PLC
‘The Fortnum and Mason Garden’
Robert is a previous RHS Gold Medal winner at Chelsea, including his 2006 garden The Costiera dei Fiori.
Garden Path…In 1993 Robert joined Elizabeth Banks Associates (EBA) and worked as a landscape architect alongside designers such as Tom Stuart Smith. In 1997 he was appointed Director of EBA and in 2005 was made chairman. In 2006 the company was renamed Robert Myers Associates. Robert has mixture of private and corporate clients which means his work varies from small roof terraces, to parks of several acres within historic settings.
The next big gardening trend – “Beehives…and productive gardens generally.”
Jinny Blom designing for Laurent-Perrier
This is the third time that Jinny has designed a Chelsea show garden for Laurent-Perrier. In 2002 Jinny co-designed the Laurent-Perrier/Harpers and Queen garden with HRH The Prince of Wales.
Garden Path…Architecture and gardens became passions for Jinny early in life; but she initially trained in acting and theatre design, then as a psychotherapist and psychologist. In 1995 she started to work as a freelance garden designer and part time assistant to Dan Pearson. Since 2000 Jinny has concentrated exclusively on her own work and has set up landscape design offices in London, which she shares with fellow designers Tom Stuart-Smith and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.
The next big gardening trend “Ponds! We must have more ponds and native hedges. We need to make beauty with environmental awareness. It’s not a choice, it’s an imperative. I think making woodland will be the dominant trend. Back to the land!”
Gabriella Pape and Isabelle Van Groeningen designing for The Daily Telegraph
‘The Daily Telegraph Garden’
This design duo are first timers at Chelsea, although they were awarded a gold medal and Best in Show at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2000.
Garden Path…Both Gabriella and Isabelle have been gardeners since childhood. Gabrielle was the first female apprentice at Von Ehren’s tree nursery in Hamburg, and worked at the Munich International Garden Festival. In 1984 she moved to the UK and studied for the Kew Diploma and then a BA in landscape architecture at Greenwich University. Isabelle worked at the arboretum of Kamlthout in Belgium and then came to the UK in 1983 to work as a trainee at RHS Garden Wisley, further study followed at Kew and York University. Gabriella and Isabelle have been working together since 1992 when they formed Land Art Ltd their design and consultancy business.
Gardening trends… “Climate change will inevitably make us put our gardening practices under the magnifying glass.”
The ‘must have’ plants… “The exciting range of Epimediums that have been cropping up recently.”
Linda Bush designing for Hasmead PLC
‘The Hasmead Sand & Ice Garden’
Although Linda has been involved with planting two previous show gardens 2007 will be the first Chelsea where she has designed a garden in her own right.
Garden Path… Linda is a qualified accountant and left a 16-year career in The City of London to re-train as a garden designer. After completing the RHS General Certificate Linda studied at the Inchbald School of Design, and upon graduation worked for Christopher Bradley-Hole. Linda currently runs her own design business in Kent.
What Chelsea means to Linda…”Chelsea means everything to me – the adrenaline, the camaraderie and the opportunity to win an award coveted by all. It’s wonderful to be given this opportunity for the first time. I hope to return for many years to come.”
Trevor Tooth designing for Lloyds TSB
‘Lloyds TSB Show Garden’
Trevor is looking forward to the challenge of designing his first garden for Chelsea. For the past two years he has exhibited at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, winning an RHS Silver Gilt Medal for his Show garden last year.
Garden Path…Trevor’s love of gardening started in childhood, and he cites his grandfathers ‘adventure playground’ of a garden as where it all started. Despite ambitions to become a journalist a summer job as a landscape gardener, after he left school got him hooked on horticulture, and he joined a course at Hadlow College in Kent. Work in nurseries led to garden construction and design work, and aged 22 Trevor started his own practice. He has been designing and building gardens for 12 years and now shares his knowledge and experience through writing articles, giving talks and answering listeners queries on BBC Radio Kent.
What Chelsea means to you… “When I was 17 I went to Chelsea and helped to build gardens as a volunteer; it really opened my eyes to the splendour and excitement of the industry. For the past 18 years I have been working hard to achieve this level, which is most definitely for a designer the world class stage.”
Marcus Barnett and Philip Nixon designing for Savills PLC
‘The Savills Garden’
This will be the design duos third time at Chelsea. Their impressive track record started in 2005 when they won an RHS Gold Medal and Best in Category for their chic garden, then in 2006 their first show garden (for Savills) was awarded gold.
Garden Path…Marcus and Philip came to garden design after careers in the military and The City respectively. They have always had a love of all things creative and design-led, and they are now both fulfilled by running their own garden design practices and collaborating for events such as Chelsea.
Marcus’ ‘must-have’ plant of the year… “A revival of shrubs!”
What Chelsea means to them…”It represents the pinnacle of horticultural excellence and a showcase for our skills as garden designers/landscape architects.”
Michael Vout and Chris Jones designing for Telford and Wrekin Council
‘The Thomas Telford Tollhouse Garden’
Although first timers to Chelsea, both Michael and Chris have had great success at the Malvern Flower show, winning RHS Gold Medals and best in show.
Garden Path…Michael is a qualified urban designer and landscape architect and has always had a passion for the way man and nature interact from the garden scale to city scale. He currently works as a designer for Telford and Wrekin Council.
Chris has had a lifelong love of horticulture and his professional career started in commercial horticulture, before moving on to amenity horticulture, where he is currently employed to develop landscape in Telford. Chris holds the (RHS) Master of Horticulture, and sits on an RHS Committee.
The ‘must-have’ plants… “The new potato Mayan Gold will be the must try plant for vegetable growers, whilst on the ornamental side the must have plant will be the almost black Agapanthus ‘Midnight Cascade’.”
Ulf Nordfjell designing for The National Linnaeus Tercentenary Committee, Sweden
‘A Tribute to Linnaeus’
Ulf’s has designed many gardens at shows in Sweden, but this will be his first time at Chelsea.
Garden Path… Ulf spent his childhood surrounded by the huge forests and streaming rivers of northern Sweden. His mother kept a garden in this wild aspect and this inspired Ulf fro an early age. He studied first as a biologist and after that as a landscape architect. For 16 years he has run his own design company in Stockholm.
What Chelsea means to me…”..it is exciting to showcase my love of Swedish gardening on the International stage.”
Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins designing for Chetwoods
Patrick has designed gardens at both the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and Chelsea. It will be the first time that architect Laurie has exhibited at an RHS show.
Garden Path… Laurie is chairman and chief executive of Chetwoods Architects and his approach to design is instinctive rather than formulaic, so it will be exciting and appropriate for him to translate this into garden design. Many of his architectural projects have involved gardens where zoomorphic and biomorphic design principles have been applied.