The power of light and shade at Chelsea 2015

Chelsea had it’s usual off-and-on weather this year, and whilst this must make for plant substitution nightmares and non-flowering irises and paeonies, it also gives the show different qualities at different times of the day. I remember very well at my first visit in 2006-ish visiting the Artisan Gardens, though they were called something else then I think, and seeing them through what was almost early morning mist. They were magical and quite different later in the sunshine. So, with the light and shade theme, here is what I noticed this year…

Kazuyuki Ishihara, Chelsea 2015

Kazuyuki Ishihara, Chelsea 2015

Ishihara is the King of Moss. His gardens are stunning each year, and this year, recreating the Edo period, was no exception.  The Artisan Gardens are in the right part of the showground for him, semi-shaded and smaller, with more intimate spaces.  This pale yellow acer makes the view into the round window and is contrasted beautifully with the mounded velvet moss.  The moss was also clumped around tree roots, making the trees look as if they had grown from the moss.

Kazuyuki Ishihara, Chelsea 2015

Kazuyuki Ishihara, Chelsea 2015

The Marcus Barnett garden, breaking naturalistic conventions, followed blocks and squares instead.  This made for some stunning one-colour planting combinations, including this unusual combination of grasses interplanted through startlingly red tulips. The matte red forms the darkness here with the flowerheads of the grasses bringing the light.

Marcus Barnett, Chelsea 2015

Marcus Barnett, Chelsea 2015

I was a bit under-whelmed by the Rich Brothers this year after their naturalistic tour de force last year on Main Avenue, but I did really like this detail.  The strict white of the oblong block is given dimension by the darker planting clump positioned to offset the blunt end of the block. Nice.

Rich brothers, Chelsea 2015

Rich brothers, Chelsea 2015

And in Matthew Keightley’s Sentebale garden, which disappointingly didn’t get a Gold, I really loved this shady planting at the end of the plot, mainly because I am a sucker for Dryopteris erythrosora, which is the lovely rust coloured emerging fern in the photograph below. Thanks to the Frustrated Gardener, a great blog to follow though he is far too hard on himself ( Ihope he won’t mind me saying), I am hoping that the variety Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Briliance’ will find its way to France sometime soon.

Matthew Keightley, Chelsea 2015

Matthew Keightley, Chelsea 2015

And lastly, back in the Mondrian-inspired Telegraph Garden, Marcus Barnett showed how a combination of water and semi-shade can make hard landscaping magical and mysterious…

Marcus Barnett, Chelsea 2015

Marcus Barnett, Chelsea 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s