Life after Chelsea flower show

June 5th 2018
By: Melanie Hollidge
Life after Chelsea flower show

Did you get addicted to Chelsea flower show? If you love your Harpenden or St Albans garden you may already have been looking to Chelsea Flower Show for inspiration. Asymmetry and Polygonal paving was a big hit at RHS Chelsea last year, but according to the Society of Garden Designers, 2018 is all about asymmetry. Gardens will also feel less structured; as geometric lines and hard surfaces are softened by planting, and edges are broken down to create the feeling of a garden that has been there for years, they were right. 

So what if any of the ideas from Chelsea flower show might you apply to your garden? From gravel and big foliage to the unstoppable rise of houseplants, via stone tables, celebrity cacti to containers full of succulents? For many spurges, AKA euphorbias, are likely to be a legacy of Chelsea in 2018. They are the unsung heroes of the sunny border unfussy to the point of thriving on neglect, coping with droughts and providing long-lasting acid-green flower.  Euphorbia ‘Black Pearl’ in Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley garden, made a strong impression on many. 

Weed-like plants were also on the up how about giving room to the prehistoric-looking black-ribbed stalks of scouring rush (Equisetum hyemale). This is a brilliant low-maintenance architectural plant that loves swampy spots and pond edges. It was used to great effect in Nic Howard’s garden, set against a simple charcoal-grey wall and softened with Mexican fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus). Stuart Towner paired it with Hosta ‘Devon Green’, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), Gunnera magellanica and European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum). 

As predicted low-maintenance, low-cost alternatives to paving your St Albans or Harpenden front garden like gravel has much to recommend it. Several Chelsea gardens took this in different directions from Sarah Price showed how to use a Mediterranean plant palette with the papery pink flowers, to using gravel as a good mulch for shade planting - so much from Chelsea to inspire the revitalizing of your St Albans or Harpenden garden.