Alan Titchmarsh and Rachel de Thame discover how the themes of water, boundaries and the British countryside are dominating the exhibits at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.
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As gardeners, we follow fashion just like everybody else. When
decking was declared the new block paving, grasses the new ferns.
Water features the new ponds, we dashed out to buy them in the name
of progress. It is because of these revolutions that over the years our
outdoor space has evolved, but who decides what we should grow and
sow? Where are the concepts born? Many would agree it is at Chelsea
Flower Show. Once a year the best designers and growers help shape
the the the future. Chris Beardshaw discovers Chelsea's plans for an
irrigation nation. Planting to his own tune, musician and artist,
Goldie reveals his gardening passions.
Me, Goldie, drum and base man, vegetables. Can you believe it?
Paul Barney shows his taste. I have to keep my wife off this
because she is really dying to use it for cooking.
Welcome to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show supported by M&G Investments.
It is day four of Chelsea and today is one of the busiest and hottest
yet. So forgive me taking off my jacket and if I get into a pool by
the end of the programme, you will know why. It is a Chelsea first.
The gates were open to anyone lucky enough to have a ticket. As soon as
the gates open, the crowds head down there and along there, the
Rock Bank to see the show gardens. This year, it has been spectacular.
It has been fantastic. It is so busy down there though. Have you
tried to walk through? I have. It has been difficult. Did you see
Furzey Gardens and Chris Beardshaw's garden today? I did.
It was awash with golden balloons. He has been working with this
wonderful team of kids with learning difficulties. He rang them
and said, "We got a Gold Medal.". There was a huge crowd of them.
Do you think Chris cried again? He has not admitted to it it! The
mission is to pro provoke opinion and influence how we think and
challenge decisions and even persuade us as to what we should
buy. This year there is a message filtering through about planning
for a future where water can no longer be taken for granted. Chris
went to look at the designs show garden designers this year is
the sustainable management of water. Of course, the big question is why
should gardeners be concerned about that? This season more than any
demonstrates just what can happen when seasonal variations cause
drought and deluge. For gardeners, there is a more fundamental reason
why we should be concerned with how we manage water within our plots
and that's that the plants that we grow and fall in love with, that
create our landscapes, are governed by water. The nutrients and the
organisms that release the nutrients, they rely on water being
present in the soil and in the plant. This Blue Water Garden is an
example of what can be done. A subtle adjustment of typeography
encourages the rainwater to flow towards the beds and towards the
reservoirs at its heart. Plants have been selected for their
Charles Kennedyistics of being -- characteristics of being able to
cleanse the water before come nothing the reservoirs. Examples of
that luzula luzula nivea, the choice of plant material all able
cope with deluge and long-term drought.
Management of water doesn't necessarily dictate the style of
your design solution as demonstrated here. Where gutter
down pipes and water butts are converted to sculptural features.
It is no surprise that here amongst the fresh gardens, there are
innovative design solutions in terms of water management. On the
soft machine garden here, grey water. That's water that's been
used in the house ends up in a tank in the garden. And then, when you
exercise, pedalling the bike, the water is pumped out of the grey
water tank, via this front axle and the pump here up into the green
wall. The green wall has a volcanic sub strait, which helps cleanse out
the toxins and pollutants. That cleansed water ends up in a fresh
reservoir in the garden. It can be used for for irrigation.
This garden shows real innovation in breaking the tradition and
inefficient link between rain that falls on a roof and it being wasted
as it spills down a gutter. What they have done here is to simulate
the roof-line, the water drains through into a traditional gutter,
into a down pipe and a water butt and there is a watering can here,
but then any overflow goes into a reservoir. The really exciting
thing is what happens when you want to irrigate because this is linked
to a series of of rills which are permeable. Water isn't wasted, it
goes to where the plants need it at the roots. This is an old technique.
In fact, it is the very technique that was employed by the ancient
Egyptians. They were able to take walk from the Nile and pull the
sluicegate and suddenly the If you press the Red Button, you
can find out more about how weather has an impact on the way gardens
are designed to deal with extremes in our weather patterns. Don't
press yet! Wait until after the programme!
Over the last few months, the weather has been causing jip.
Yesterday, I caught up with Alys Fowler.
It has been a fiendish spring to start vegetable growing. We were
lulled by that warm March and it got cold.
Cold and anything you attempted to sow, rotted.
You would encourage people, there is time, start sewing now? Plenty
of time to catch up, particularly if it will stay like this. It will
be fine. There is no problem. When you come here, where is the
first place you head? I headed straight to Edulis. He is a
specialist grower of rare and unusual edibles. I knew it was his
first time at Chelsea and I couldn't wait to see what he
brought. No disappointments. I fell in love
No disappointments. I fell in love with this plant.
Now I have a fantasy of making a woodland of it.
Once it was peas and beans and giant cabbages!
What's the trend forward? What are the things that are coming in that
are surprising? There is going to be a big trend around perennial
vegetables because they offer a low maintenance plan. You don't have to
be there sowing every spring. that? Artichokes, but Edulis is
putting all sorts of extraordinary things.
Do we need to be more adventurous? You need to have a balance. The
unusual stuff, you can't survive, they are little tastes of things.
You still need your potatoes and carrots.
You have a wonderful system? I have been looking for a solution to grow
peas in pots. It is a charming pattern and you get three of them
so you can interlock them. I think peas and sweet peas and
gothic arches are a cut above the with gothic arch peas supports!
With 85% of people in the UK living in towns and cities, gardens make
up a huge amount of the landscape so the things we grow and how we
grow them can have more effect than we think. Rachel, has been taking a
look around the RHS environment marquee to find out how working
together in our back gardens can large and impressive show gardens
and beautiful plants. There is also a strong educational message and
I'm here on the garden designed by the University of Leeds where they
are getting the message across about how much you can grow in a
small space. It is delicious and looks beautiful and most
importantly, you are cutting down on the food miles. If you are
growing your own, well you want to maximise that crop by encouraging
lots of beneficial, pollinating bees and insects into the garden.
So give them their own tailor-made environment. Well, water
conservation and management has become a key issue. Particularly
now that we are experiencing often periods of dry weather and then
sometimes a deluge, flash flooding as a result. So this garden, I
think, tackles these problems with real style and panache and here you
have this roof which is designed to absorb any rain and instead of the
run off coming down the the drain, this arrangement takes it down into
the water butt and any surplus can go into this graphled area and the
plants like having their feet just that little bit more wet so they
can cope with any extra run off. It looks good. It is extremely
practical. The other important message is to
minimise the amount of carbon dioxide that gets released into
atmosphere and you can help with that by planting plenty of trees
and shrubs and that helps to lock the carbon into the stems, into the
roots and actually into the soil itself. The other important thing
and it is so easy to do, is make your own compost. Don't buy it in.
You don't need a big space. This compost bin is not very large and
it is quick and easy to do and better for the environment and
berry festival. It has been a feature since 1967. Sadly, Ken
passed away last year, but his family and staff are committed to
growing fruit and inspiring other people to do the same. Roj, his son,
this -- Roger, his son, this is a tradition you were brought up in.
Dad started off in the Army and the family were in London, four
brothers, and he decided to be a fruit grower. He studied in
Chelmsford and and bought a farm at Clacton-on-Sea.
Are people still as keen on them? The great thing about them, these
are the soft fruits that you can grow in a small space as witnessed
by your pots? These are self- watering tower pots. Strawberries
don't like being overwatered. So it is drawn up... It is drawn up
rather than rained down on. It is marvellous. It is an easy way of
growing. Keep them for three years. Give us a ring and put some more in.
The big thing about growing your own, is it still up there or
sliding a bit? We have moved into trees, but dad has always been
known as the strawberry man. Yes. Can I say the KM of Strawberries!
He never finished his book. He started it, but never got to the
end of it, The Rise And Fall Of A Strawberry Grower.
You have the Ken Muir straw better? Well, we had -- the Ken Muir
strawberry? Well, we had to do something for the old boy.
Can I try some? You know, I have always wanted to do this. Will you
pray for a re-take? Oh. Is that lovely? It is my first
English strawberry and it is fab. Ken Muir good on you. Don't talk
with your mouth full, Alan. Inspiring people to grow their own
is a passion. For Paul Barney it is a mission, he prides himself on
growing the most exotic, of course, for him, variety is the spice of
life. We caught up with Paul in a not so tropical Berkshire to see
what he had on the menu for his anyone who likes to eat something
from their garden. I have always been very passionate about planting,
since I was a little boy, growing vegetables for the local flower
show. It is good fun to introduce people to new plants and get them
to try them. I am at my happiest when I am doing this. I think of
myself as a plant hunter, in the loosest sense, in that I am always
looking for something unusual, something which is out of the
ordinary. I counted yesterday, I have been to 68 countries
altogether. It seems I have been travelling for a long time, and one
of my greatest joy is is going to a forest which I have not been too,
and sometimes you can go in and you will not be recognising anything,
it is like a wonderland. I just grow plants for the love of them.
If I love a plant, I will grow it. These are some I collected in
Georgia. It takes me back to the meadow I was sitting in, having a
picnic. These were from the corner of that field. And now, they have
come up! Designing the exhibit at Chelsea, I really tried to display
a range of unusual edible plants, which also can look fantastic. And
so, you have got a bit of both, you can have a plant which is going to
look great as well as produce something edible or medicinal. I
have got plants from most continents. We have got America,
Asia, Europe, Africa. We have got a pretty good Brabazon taken from all
over the world. I found this one, which has this wonderful foliage,
in a market in India. I have to keep my wife off this, because she
is really dying to use it for cooking. It is used a lot for onion
bhajis and she looks at it enviously. This one is marvellous.
The flowers come out like little dancing ladies, to about 2ft. The
amazing thing is, it flowers again on its leaves are later in the year.
So it is a double whammy. With any luck, they will be ready for
Chelsea. And we have got a plant here which is really tasty, this
one, known as the cuckoo flower. For me, it is an easy watercress.
It is just delicious. One of the plants that we Lavin the nursery is
the giant Himalayan rhubarb. It has proved to be a monster. The first
flower spikes were 15ft high, which is ridiculous. The leaves were
ridiculously big. But this one has fantastic, large, rhubarb stalks,
and tastes just like rhubarb, with a bit of apple. I have had a few
sleepless nights worrying about what could possibly go wrong, and
whether I have remembered everything, and that is still an
ongoing process! I am nervous about what to expect at Chelsea, because
it is just going there and not knowing. If you have done a show
before, you know what to expect and it is a lot easier. Just the number
of variables at Chelsea, gold would be lovely, but that would be a bit
of a high expectation. I would not be unhappy with anything less,
seeing as it is my first time. This might be your first Chelsea,
but you have already got a great fan, Alice Fowler, who came to me
yesterday, raving about your edible plants. So, you must be pleased to
be here, how did you get on? We got a silver, and we were very happy.
have got to ask you about the dancing ladies - did they make it?
Unfortunately they did not make it. Maybe another year. And the giant
rhubarb? That did make it, yes, it has grown about 2 two since we have
been here! One thing which has caught my eye is this one. It is a
pretty thing, but it really stings. What is special about this one? It
is a lovely, dainty plant, with a really long flowering season. It
will come into flower in April and finish probably late October. That
is superb. It is a tremendous performance, from one plant. This
one is the purple form of cow parsley - you seem to have
something bigger. I am very fond of growing the purple angelica, which
is a lovely foil for other plants in the garden. Does it come through
from seed? It does, you will get a high proportion of seedlings.
you have to weed out the green ones? I actually like to keep a few,
to get the degradation of tones, the mixture of the tones together.
Sometimes you will get them to flower again from the same stock,
but usually they will die after flowering. I think I will go for a
forest of purple Angelica. Many congratulations. Well, one man's
orange is another man's something else, and here at Chelsea, although
we are all good friends, there are moments, quite frankly, when I
would rather be alone. Andy Sturgeon has been showing that on
occasions, well-defined boundaries can be a good thing. Most of our
gardens have quite ordinary fences, hedges and walls. But the
boundaries can be an integral part of the design. This year at Chelsea,
there are some ingenious solutions as to how to enclose your garden.
These walls in the World Vision garden are made from a special
steel, which is now being used in architecture all over the world.
The horizontal lines create a bold statement, contrasting to the
vertical trunks of the trees. The colours mix perfectly. In this
garden, they have got a solid boundary, but it is alive. It is a
piece of living architecture. Not only does it increase the amount of
growing space in the garden, but it adds fantastic depth and texture.
This Land's End garden may not appear to be pushing any boundaries
it is all about biodiversity and attracting wildlife. This native
field maple hedge is a wonderful habitat for insects and birdlife.
This wall, which is made from locally sourced, Cornish stone,
will become a great home for all sorts of insects which will provide
a great food source for birds. Here in this rooftop garden, they
have got a living hedge, up on stilts. It is ideal for screening
neighbouring buildings, and it takes up very little valuable space
field too claustrophobic, you could just go for a partial screen, like
this one, in the Caravan Club Garden. This screen lets light come
through it, so it does not feel too enclosed. It works like a net
curtain, because I can see out that other people cannot easily see him.
This garden has no vertical barrier whatsoever. It just has this
beautiful, simple water feature which goes around the garden,
defining the space. The plants are unrestrained, and the views from
within are unrestricted. It goes to show that when it comes to
boundaries, there are no limits. I am very happy to have a hedge,
but anyway, we gardeners are diverse lot. We do not have a funny
handshake or anything, the first you might learn about a person's
green credentials is when carrots get mentioned over the garden fence.
But it is always a pleasure to share your passion with somebody
new, especially when they are as enthusiastic as you are. I would
never have suspected that musician and artist Goldie was a member of
the Gardening Club. But last week we caught up with him in his
outdoor sanctuary, and he could not wait to show us around.
Welcome to my garden, my little safe haven. It was an absolute bomb
when I came here, it was terrible. I did not really pay any attention
to it. It was concrete, all mashed up. I have always liked Japan, my
wife is Japanese. I wanted to give it that kind of theme, very minimal
as well. I lived a life of chaos for so long, and they always say,
there is a science in chaos, it works itself out. For me, I am
working this out, and it is coming out nicely. I like to pleasantly
surprised people. He has been growing that one for 25 years. It
is nice seeing stuff change. When you're young, it is like olives,
you get older, you start to have an appreciation for them. I guess my
wife is my biggest influence. She really brings out the sun for me.
She really inspired me to get in the garden and do stuff. She loves
cooking, she loves gardening. She is half Japanese, half Dutch. So,
maybe tulips have got something to do with it. It is really nice,
because even the little bamboos that I have got, they are really
beautiful, really lovely. A lot of them, we lost half of this side
because of the frost, we had a lot of babies in, and it was a
nightmare. My dad is from Miami, I practically lived in Miami for a
couple of years. The first thing I saw was palm trees on the way to my
dad's. It was one of those things, I had them when they were about
this high. But how they have grown?! This will be my first year
at Chelsea, I will be looking for ideas, some neat fencing ideas, and
also some topical stuff, which is durable. I want to try to pull in a
lot of different stuff, to bring in some things to fillet out a little
bit. I just got into vegetables for the last three years, and every
year, I have had a fantastic crop. Meet, vegetables - can you believe
it? What is the world coming to? I was growing courgette Skomer runner
beans, garlic, potatoes, everything. And then the frost came this year
and killed it all. It is like me being in a nightclub and not
playing any music. It is terrible. Birds singing, empty vegetable
patch - not good. Come on, sun! My vegetable needs you!
Goldie, few people would have thought you were a gardener.
would have thought it? You did not have a childhood which was much
involved with a garden in. Not at all. For a few years of your life,
gardening was not on your list. Definitely not. A friend of mine,
Richard, said to me, you have got to sort that garden out. He said,
let me show you what you can do with it. He came in and he went,
but these here, move that around. I thought, hang on a minute, that's
really nice. It changed my perception. Then my wife got hold
of me, and said, let's put some Japanese stuff in. She said, do you
like these? Do you like them? And then she brought me some Japanese
Maples. As soon as I started with that Japanese Dean, it took off
from there. So that was the moment. Does it come when you get a bit of
land that's your responsibility? You felt, "Yes, I ought to do
something." I was always in a tight environment and I never liked that
stuff, but having space, it is a work in progress. My wife always
says it is a work in progress. Going off and getting ideas and try
and working out what that work in progress might be. There is
something missing, because it is spaced out... You have room for a
few more features. But your veg patch, we have all
suffered this year because it was cold.
I was supplying my local store. I never thought it would be one of
those things I would think about and I would go to the local
supermarket and you would buy stuff and think that's all right, it is
yellow. Ritchie said, you have got this going on, let me sort the veg
patch out now. Second tier. We started growing this veg and then
it started getting enormous, the beans were coming out like this.
Right, a bit of stir fry. I'm eating it and it is just white and
it stays fresh for days. I feel with all the healthy eating and
stuff like that. Do you see yourself going on with
this and developing it and taking it on. It doesn't sound like a
flash in the pan? There is a couple of palms here and I'm thinking
"mine is bigger." Maybe next year. Well, you have done Maestro, I
think you ought to do Chelsea. I have got palms to remind me of
Miami and I have had these two close together and one is yellow,
flowering and one has got black seeds. The chap just said to me,
"You are pollinating. You have got male and female." The seeds will
make palms. Lovely to see you.
We will catch up with you later when you have had a tour around the
gardens! Still plenty to come on the RHS
Chelsea Flower Show supported by M&G Investments.
Boxing match - designers have explain why they have gone all
heavy metal. The colours dominating the show.
Rachel talks to Jo Thompson about parking the very first caravan on
Main Avenue. I never thought I would get so
emotional... About a tin box. She is just gorgeous.
The clipping of evergreen plants into ornamental shapes has been
drifting in and out of fashion since Roman times. It was launched
on its journey across Britain introducing a formal element to our
gardens that remained ever since. The 18th century saw it become
unfashionable. The Second World War bombed it. Its popularity has ebbed
and flowed. This year it is make ago comeback and versions can be
seen defining gardens across the showground. Carol went to see why
the qualifications to make these shapes. For a start, it is
evergreen. It has dense growth and it has small leaves, but this year
at Chelsea, people have used all sorts of different plants in very
imaginive ways to do just -- imagine stiff way to say just the
same -- imagine stiff ways to do the same. This is ilex crentia. It
is a Japanese plant and it is used in Japan and the States to do just
this sort of work. It is little known in this country,
but I think it has a great future. The use of these formal topiary
shapes rising out from foamy, froths of informal planting. I
would never of dreamt of using these as topiary, but it works
beautifully, but you have to keep on the ball when it comes to
snipping with the secretary secateurs.
At first sight this garden looks very formal and traditional, but
look again! Each one of these wonderful U-figures is different.
On closer inspection, having expected these figures to have been
arranged perfectly, you realise that they are not at all. They are
askew and you can imagine during the night that these enormous
figures probably move around a bit! This is what you call tra call
traditional topiary with a twist. Whichever plant you choose, and
however you care to display it, there is no doubt that topiary adds
a touch of class or should it be charge that had you brought topiary
into Chelsea showground and make it popular. How do you plead? Guilty.
Why do you like it? I like the way it provides scale and stops the eye
travelling around the garden too much and it helps anchor anchor
buildings into the land landscape. It is a great connector between the
landscape and the house. I love the art of clipping of the topiary. It
is one of the disciplines that I love.
Carol said yours is like little people. There is a personality to
to topiary? They are standing guard and they have a different character
and Jason from the Australian Garden is worried that one had a
bigger head than the other. That's the attraction. It off set the
symmetry that's going on there. Why do you think topiary went out?
I don't think it has, has it? Little corners.
Capability Brown. It is the great landscape movement
and they cleared the twidly bits away. It has always hung on? I I I
think it survived in cottage gardens and manor houses. In the
big important gardens, it did get lost. It is not as popular, but it
is something that I feel is very much of our gardening heritage and
you do see it, most villages that you go to, you will find topiary
plants and it has a revival and it is something that I have used for
years and years. So you would like to think that you
are bringing it back? I don't think it has gone away. The thing I like
about it. I like using sculpture and it is a good second best. It is
cheaper than buying a sculpture and you can do anything and it engages
you with the garden. I have 130 of them in my garden,
cones and balls and pyramids. I love them. Thank you very much for
championing topiary. beginnings of Chelsea Flower Show
and each year it becomes difficult for a designer and exhibitor to
bring something new to the showground, but that is what the
horticultural world expects. This year Jo Thompson has broken ground
and broken rules by bringing the first caravan on to Main Avenue.
Her vision is to celebrate our obsession for holidaying in the
British countryside. But also to remind us that our journey can
to go on a caravanning holiday. A few years ago, my children, they
were so desperate for us to go camping or caravanning and I did
research online for luxury caravans and ended up on this site that was
full of these 1950s trailers, American trailers and it was the
best holiday I've ever had. I got on to this site and tipped
the children out of the caravan, into a field, and I didn't see them
for a week! It is something new to have a
caravan in a Chelsea show garden. I think caravanning is becoming
fashionable again. It is interesting when I've talked to
people about this garden, their reaction is warm towards caravans
and just like all things 50s, vintage, we have gone from the term
glamping this glamorous camping to glam caravanning which I think is
lovely. When I started designing this garden, it was really meant to
be a garden with a caravan sitting in the corner that was an extra
room and looking through holiday photos, just to get inspiration, I
saw Doris in the background. Doris is a 1950s vintage Fisher caravan
which aren't made anymore. Aluminium, the paint stripped back
and she is beautiful, she is like a giant toaster. I made a phone call
and got measurements and realised she would be perfect, she will be
towed from the Isle of Wight up the motorway into London and on to the
showground and I think it's, again, I can't imagine her in a queue with
all these huge, articulated lorries all around her, but I think it will
be great and I can't wait to see day. At least once a day. The dog
would like to come three or four times a day if possible and it
really feels British. I don't think you can get anything more British
than a bluebell wood in the spring time.
Bluebells, primroses, the ladies smock or cuckoo flowers. Each time
of year, there is something else to catch the eye.
I love how you have got all these strong verticals of the trees and
they are not all in the distance, some are in the foreground and you
look through to other planting. I love the way it is all really loose
as well and there is no, it isn't a manicured planting and I don't
think any of the arrangements of of flowers and plants and treesI ever
put together could be called manicured. It is always a bit loose,
a bit, it is natural. I really hope that when people see
this garden at Chelsea, they can look at it and understand it. You
know, it isn't a concept actual garden t it is a ten by ten meter
space so a lot of people have that sized garden and I just want it to
there, is one of my favourite gardens. I love it. Every time I
walk past, I get another peep. How do you feel the design transferred
on to this space? It is a really simple design. It was based on the
diagonal. We have the caravan at the far end and I wanted to break
up the view as you look towards it. So we have got this this rill and
and benches sitting on the rill and when it came together, it worked.
Miraculously. So how do you feel about the judges' response to the
garden? I was pleased with their response. It is my first time on
Main Avenue and being up here with the big boys was faunting and --
daunting and when we got silver, it was brilliant. It was more than I
could have wished for. One of the things that really
speaks to me is your planting. It is so beautiful. What's the
inspiration behind that? Well, I live in Kent and I'm
surrounded by hedgerows and verges full of cow parsley and I wanted to
bring bring those into the garden setting and mix them up with roses,
the more traditional garden plants and give that looser, relaxed feel.
What about Doris? Surely you aren't going to be able to part with her
after the show? I have fallen in love with her. I have really fallen
in love with her. I never thought I would get so emotional about a tin
box. She is gorgeous. She has a personality of her own. She has
given the garden a character. Everything has come from her and
she is great. Well, she makes the garden, but all
of it is beautiful. Congratulations. This year, there is plenty of
reason to stay home and enjoy a staycation. The jubilee and the
Olympics for starters, but when the sun comes out and you can't beat
the UK landscape and all its wild and floral beauty. A camping,
glamping, hotel, motels, tempting enough to stay at home? We asked
people where they preferred to special to me because I spent a lot
of my childhood there, it is Devon. Sussex at this time of year is
absolutely resplendent. If there was a place that I was particularly
fond of holidaying in, I am certainly not going to tell you.
Devon and Cornwall is the most wonderful place to go. I am a Devon
girl. Anywhere out of London, in August! I love Scotland, but I am
spiritually linked to Cumbria. Actually, stick to the UK, it is a
fabulous place. I would recommend, I have to say many places in Wales.
Northumbria was a real gem. I have to admit, in the winter, I drift
away to the Caribbean. I love this country so much. They always say,
if you could just guarantee the weather, you would never go abroad!
So, Devon and Cornwall would seem to be the place the celebrities go
to for their staycation. It is only because they have not discovered
the Isle of Wight. You can never tell why they come here, is it the
glamour or the gardening? Earlier, unlikely Gardener Goldie joined us
to share his this is are macro for palm trees. -- his passion for
countries. He wanted some inspiration for his own garden, so
we accompanied him as he soaked up the sides. She is the one who got
me into this in the first place. Look at that. What does it remind
you of? Captain's Log, start date... I have just found the most amazing
collection of flowers. We have just come across the lagoon, we do not
know what this creature is. Let's start with the world's tiniest palm
tree. Let's start with your gold medal, first! Here you go. When did
palm trees first come here? In the Victorian era. They were classical
plans, which were used to decorate places, and they were brought back
by the explorers of the day. That is very impressive. There is a few
more than I thought there would be. Watch out, incoming! It is really
lovely. This is probably, for me, what I would love to achieve in the
corner of my garden. It is very, very beautiful. I don't know how
they have done this, how they have put the Morse on the side of the
shed. I need to have a little shed now. It is very inspiring. The one
last thing will be to go down that slide. Dermot's slide. Tally ho!
Chelsea is scouring the Showground for inspiration. This year there
are plenty of ideas to take away, even if you only have a tiny garden
space. This display is exactly the sort of thing I mean. It is called
the Space Race, and the idea is to make use of every corner of your
garden, no matter how tiny, particularly in urban spaces. This
one is called square foot Gardening. We have got a raised bed, and the
idea is that each space contains different crops. You can put in her
letters, harvest what you need for that day, and then the plant goes
on growing. Other things, as they finish, take them up and put
something else in to replace it. It really is maximum productivity.
This is a wonderful idea. It is another raised bed, but it is
stepped, so you can have different types of soil in there. Around the
edge, we have got herbs, things which need really sharp drainage,
like the lavender and the thyme. In the middle section we have got
vegetables which not only taste good but they look good, too. We
have got broad beans, more thyme, and I love the idea of the bamboo,
and the irrigation coming down. It takes up almost no space. This
garden is absolutely full of ideas, it is genius. Well, you do not need
acres of space to grow fruit and vegetables, either. There are some
really good ideas here on this stand. Look at this beautiful
raised bed, absolutely full of salads and herbs. You can make it
any shape at all. Just look at the space you have got available, and
create something which fits. Taking the idea of growing plants in a
container, how about this? These are dwarf varieties of peach.
Perfectly suited to growing long term in a container. Finally, we
have got different ways of growing plants, to maximise the space. If
you cannot go out, you can quite often go Upper wall. These are
pairs. You can follow it through to the extreme, and go even higher.
You can plant underneath as well. Again, more herbs at the base. So,
if it is fruit you fancy, do not let a lack of space put you off. If
walking around the Showground makes you wish you had an enormous garden,
and you only have room for a single pot, just look at what you can do
with that pot. It is all about selecting really compact varieties.
Once you have chosen your plants, the Chelsea Showground is awash
with inspiration for what colours to choose. We went out to look at
some of the, they -- some of the colours dominating this year's show.
A new range of colours is creeping in a long Main Avenue. Chelsea has
a metallic. -- Chelsea has gone metallic. For the last decade or so,
the colour schemes have been a very tasteful blend of purples and
pastels. It is good to see that a new colour palette is coming
through. In this garden, they have used a sculpture, and the bronze
colour has been echoed in the planting. We often hear that the
devil is in the detail when it comes to aiming for a gold medal.
That detail applies to the planting, too. The colours are matched,
linking the borders together. You can see this colour everywhere. My
favourite are these ones. These orange flowers are absolutely loved
by bees. Again, helping to join the whole of the planting scheme
together. The copper and bronze colours give warmth to a garden.
Meanwhile, silver is the colour of light and energy. One man has
created a cathedral to this silvery shade with his show garden. He has
used plants which are covered in tiny hairs, which makes them silver.
They are to protect the plant in its Mediterranean home from bright
sunshine. The same goes for these lavenders. Again, the silver of the
leaves protects it and reflect the heat of the sun. It is not just in
the planting, the dominant feature of this garden is the water. There
is this shimmering pond in the middle, and then an arcade of water
coming down the side. If you want to see the brightest plant in this
garden, you have to go up on to the terrace. It is an alpine plant.
Give it your sunniest spot. I just love the colour scheme of this
garden, it is so out of the ordinary. It is summed up by these
irises. They have an apricot colour about them. As you come back into
the garden, the colour scheme becomes more apparent. On a sunny
day like this, it is wonderful, the light comes down through the
cherries at the back. It is like being in a golden, summer day. The
overall effect of this garden is one of gold. With the Olympics
around the corner, let's hope we Marathon, and I am carrying the
Olympic Torch! Tell me about it! has been designed by Maggie, and it
won the gold medal. We have got some delightful, spiky flowers in
the centre, and carnations on the bottom. Give him going to tell you
about my arrangement. It is not mine at all. It is designed by
Julian, from Covent Garden academy of Flowers. Wonderful. It is great,
we do try to cover flower arranging as well. Florists as well, that is
the professional way of saying it. I do not want anybody to think that
we do not pay any attention to it. Using specific objects to draw
people's attention to a part of the garden is one trick used by
gardeners. We took to the Showground to take a look at this
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 45 seconds
are # a rare and priceless work of art.
# I am right by your side. # I cannot tell you why.
# To be in love with a masterpiece. # After all, nothing is
indestructible. I do love a nice bit of sculpture.
It is your turn now. Yes, it is my turn. We have that in common with
the Olympics - gold, silver and bronze at Chelsea! That's all for
tonight. We will be back tomorrow at 12:30pm. And we will be back on
BBC Two as well. You can press the red button straight after the show
Alan Titchmarsh and Rachel de Thame discover how the themes of water, boundaries and the British countryside are dominating the exhibits at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. Chris Beardshaw is in the show gardens unearthing radical ideas for sustainable horticulture. Plus 2011's 'Best in Show' winner Cleve West explains why topiary is a hot topic. And designer Jo Thompson reveals why her journey to build her show garden began with a caravan.