The designers taking inspiration from the arts take centre stage in this programme from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and Nicki Chapman creates her own artistic flower arrangement.
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This week, the Royal Hospital grounds had been littered with
references to our great works of art. Wordsworth, the Brontes,
Thomas Hardy and many more have captured the imagination of
designers and nurserymen alike. So stay with us for an afternoon of
gardening muses coming up. A Poetry of Planting. The tiny gardens
paying horticultural homage to some of the greatest writers.
From tumble down cottage and dry Stonewalls, to florally rich
meadows and the wonderful sound of babbling Brooks. Name of the Rose.
James Alexander-Sinclair looks at the new flowers with artistic
associations. In fact, if you are feeling kind, I wouldn't mind you
naming one after me. Rural Retreats. The customised garden houses with
their own stories to tell. Hello and welcome to the RHS Chelsea
Flower Show, supported by M&G Investments. It's been an amazing
week, but it's not ever yet. It's been the most fantastic week for us
hasn't it? Breathtaking. The weather's helped so much,
everything's relaxed. Stunning. Wednesday, you talked about the
Chelsea chop. Christine Damen's been in touch... Complain something
No, she wants to know how to perform it and can you do it on
sedum plants? A bit like the tango. Yes, sounds like a dance move.
first thing is what is the Chelsea chop? It's essentially when you
take a plant like this, this is the white morning widow geranium and
when you cut the plant down, so if I grab my secateurs out, you can
I grab my secateurs out, you can perform the ritual. You want to be
cutting between my thumbs. Then you have left a crown of foliage and
have taken off all of the flowers. Now, what you are trying to do is
to encourage the second flush of growth. So give this plant a cuple
of months, the crown will build up, the foliage will increase, it will
flower late summer again and you can get a second flush of flowers.
What about sedums? That's slightly different you see because when we
put new mants into a garden, you don't want them to flower
straightaway. Producing flowers like this takes maybe 40, 50, 60%
of the total energy reserves soit's producing flowers and seeds, rather
than concentrating on roots. With a sedum, at this time of the year you
are trying to cut it town, stop it from flowering, that will encourage
it to bulk up and a bit of patience, it will flower much better thex
year. -- next year. It's a long- term game plan. Always done at this
time of the year? And only on herbaceous perennials. We now know
what the Chelsea chop is. Literature has inflaunsed garden
designers this year. I've been to take a look. -- influenced garden
references to literature, poems and the like. For me, there's none more
clear than this from Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd.
As the we signer, tell us about this? The whole idea came from the
fact we met our sponsors in Dorset. They live near to Thomas Hardy's
cottage. We got inspiration from the Dorset countryside and also
from Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. We have the shepherd's hut
and shepherd's crook as well and runner beans and different things
like shepherd's purse, sheep's sorrel, just to keep the theme
going. There is many different types of scenery and landscape from
Dorset from the open heath land with the gorse, Heather and pines
into the kind of valleys, if you like, where there's more meadow-
type planting. A huge amount of streams and shallow rivers with
watercress. We've tried to bring a little bit from each corner of
Dorset into this small space. an advantage or hindrance to take
such a strong narrative and bring to it Chelsea? It can be a
hindrance sometimes because there's so much to draw on and it would be
difficult to condense everything down. Having read the novel and
seen the film as well and through driving through Dorset, we kind of
linked the most common elements together and we feel we have
brought those into the garden. called the Soft Machine. The Soft
Machine is in fact a human being absorbing all of the inputs and
processes around it. In a way, the garden performs in
exactly the same way. Absorbing grey water from the house,
recycling, regurgitating, reusing - all part of an organic home.
Already Inspiration for the Naturally Dry garden comes, not
from one literary source, but from the Cumbrian landscape that would
have inspired the life and works of William Wordsworth. From tumble
down cottage and dry Stonewalls, to florally rich meadows and the
wonderful sound of babbling brooks. With such a rich palate to choose
from and the fact that those literary sources evoke such strong
emotions, it's no surprise that designers regularly return to the
theme. And it's not is just in the small gardens where you can find
links to a range of cultural icons. A trip to the Great Pavillion shows
a host of familiar names, as James Alexander-Sinclair has been
discovering. Have you ever wondered where plans get their names? If you
are clever enough to breed a cultivar of your own, you can name
it after whatever you want. Your aunt, the place where you live, a
celebrity, or absolutely anything. In fact, if you are feeling kind, I
wouldn't mind if you named one the Lark Ascending, named after the
It also needs to be a good plant. And this rose, very lightly
fragranced, is almost ridiculously disease resistent as a perfect rose
for a beginner and it works beautifully in a mixed border. If
books are more your thing, you could also try this, Tess of the
D'Urbervilles. There is nothing tragic about this rose though, it
works equally well as a shrub and climber, flowers all summer and has
a rich, see ductive fragrance. -- see ductive fragrance.
From roses to tulips fanned art is more your bag, you can name a tulip
after a painter, like this Vincent van Gogh. It's a small head with a
fringed top that would look wonderful in a pot. It doesn't
necessarily have to be named after something literary. You can name it
after a place. There is one here called City of Vancouver. Sensual
the most evocative things is scent. You don't get better than the pinks.
This entire stand is inspired by one theme, that of memories and the
idea of mar sell Pruce Remembrance of Things Past. I can remember the
first time I smelt in peppery smell which was in my grandmother's
garden. Pink is the one thing everybody remembers. It may not be
so popular in garden design, but it's loved by gardeners everywhere.
Carol Klein will be with us later to explain the Latin meaning of
some of our favourite plants. This year here at Chelsea, the RHS have
invited the world of interior design to unleash their imagination
in a series of themed Rural Retreats. Stylists from different
backgrounds have taken the challenge to customise a standard
garden summerhouse to show visitors. I'm here with interior designer
Vicky Conran. Your retreat is the Book Binders Retreat. When you
think about sheds at the bottom of the garden, they don't look like
this? They are usually full of Rusty tools and broken pots. This
is gorgeous. Is this a hobby of yours? It is. The materials and
tools are really lovely and I've always loved it. I just think it's
a very nice thing to do. It's very satisfying and it doesn't require a
huge amount of creativity. What inspired you to design this retreat
like this? Well, retreat is something that
Well, retreat is something that we've all loved since childhood. I
thought it would be nice to have a workshop that you could just leave
work-in-progress, go home, make the lunch, come back and you could
carry on where you left off without much trouble. It lends itself to a
garden this? Green is a very calming colour and it brings the
outside in. It also tends to make the walls disappear too, you know.
So true. It twos back into the garden. It's beautiful. Far nicer
than my house, I could happily live here. Thank you very much indeed.
Thank you. And Vicky's Book Binders Retreat is
one of five here. Rachel's been inspired by wanting to bring the
garden into the building and I think he succeeds brilliantly. This
is a really nice idea you could do in your own summerhouse, attach the
simple fabric panels to the inside of the roof. It creates a cosy
intimate, almost tented space. It's certainly a really bold design and
you've got this almost a cacophony of different colours and shapes. In
nature, if you let plants self-seed, they do exactly the same thing, you
get all these different colours working together. Sometimes, more
approach to using textiles in her retreat because this time it's all
about ribbons and trimmings and everywhere you lack, there are just
little treasures. I think you could recreate this sort of feel very
much at home if you keep your eyes peeled at car-boot sales and flee
markets, because it's just about collecting together things that you
love and then displaying them beautifully.
It definitely has a really special atmosphere. It's magical, it's
unashamedly feminine and actually, I feel very at hem in here.
Attention to detail. The bench is even covered in fabric. Very nifty.
I've certainly learned that a summerhouse need not be a very dull
place hidden at the end of the garden. It can be a private
paradise that you fill with things that represent you and you really
enjoy. Certainly extremely restful here so off you go...
We are halfway through our coverage of this afternoon's RHS Chelsea
flower Show and there's still plenty more to come:
Tips in Translation. Carol Klein takes the mystery out of our Latin
plant names. When I was at school, I failed Latin three times. But
since I've developed this huge interest in plants and know so much
more about their Latin and Greek names. And a florist canvas. We
visit the floral display inspired by Monet.
When you are looking for plants to create your own horticultural haven,
it can help to understand a little about their characteristics. Often
that information can be found in their Latin names. Minius Cooperas,
for example. Here is the gied about what the Romans did for us.
-- guide. A lot of people think that using
Latin and Greek names for plants is some sort of snobbury. But in
actual fact, whatever you speak, whether it's Chinese or German, it
means that there's a common language that people can share to
identify plants and know that they are all talking about exactly the
Cirsium. Rivulare tells you about where it grows, it loves growing by
the plant in the background? That is Silene fibriata. Fimbriata means
fringe - each of these has a fringed edge.
Purpurea relates to the colour. Lease long flowers are like
fingertips. Well, my fingers fit in there. For sure they fit my fingers
as well. Hence its English name - fox glove.
What a delicious plant - each one has different characteristics. Lots
are forms of palmatum. It means, in Latin, like an outstretched hand.
That is what these leaves look like. In some cases they are not just
palmatum, but they are dissectum, because these leafs are deeply cut.
Acer is the Latin word for "sharp." It is what Roman soldiers used to
make their spears from. When I was at school, I failed
Latin, three times. Each time I took it, I got five marks less.
Since I have developed this huge interest in plants and know so much
more about their Latin and Greek names, I find not only does it
enrich my knowledge, but it really thought Latin was a dead language,
think again. This year the President of the Royal
Horticultural Society, Elizabeth Banks, has launched a personal
award for the exhibit which has impressed her most. Elizabeth joins
me now. Tell us more about the President's Award. How did it come
about? It has been around for several years, but it's been for
the Best In Show in the floral tent. This year, we decided to open it up
to any exhibit on the showground. So, really difficult to choose this
year? I am glad it is Friday. It took me so long to decide which was
the best exhibit, or which was the exhibit I loved the most. Fantastic.
Well, put us out of our misery. It's the Forbidden Garden.
Congratulations, you have won the President's Award for 2012. How to
you feel? Thank you very much.
She's very grateful and wants to share the award with all the
foreign soldiers who cannot be with us today.
Thank you very much. Don't worry. Be happy. Why did you choose this
garden? It's an emotive garden. It is most brilliantly executed. It's
so brilliantly executed that you hardly notice it as you walk around,
but the detail is exquisite. And the sustainability of the plants to
grow over whatever we do, is just very much and congratulations.
Thank you very much indeed. Now this afternoon we have been looking
at the Chelsea exhibits, inspired by the world of art and literature.
It is the painter, Claude Monet, who the National Association of
Flower Arrangers' Society has chosen. Last week we joined
Jonathan Moseley, as they created their display, based on the
painter's famous garden at Giverny. The team have been people selected
from the Yorkshire area. Some are just purely hobbyists who have
worked with flowers for many years. NAFAS is the National Association
of Flower Arrangers' Society. It is a bit of a garbled name. It is a
little bit long-winded. Basically we are flower arrangers.
One of the most inspirational places I have ever been privileged
to visit is Monet's garden at Giverny, in France. It is like
walking on to a Monet canvass. It inspires me for my choice of plant
material that I will use here at Chelsea. Lots of purples, lots of
lilacs, all those wonderful colours which emerge and come together. It
is almost like a water lily canvass. Colour is so important to us as
flower arrangers, just like it is important to Monet. You could see
that as you walked around the garden. You could tell you are in
an artist's garden. It was not just anybody's garden. The interaction
between the light and the water is really quite mesmerising.
Not only was he an artist putting his pictures together, he was a
designer -- a garden designer too. Now, we are finally down here at
Chelsea, it is great to see what is probably nearly two years of
planning coming to reality and manifest itself. The design is
going to be featuring a large 16- foot per cent peck -- per cent pex
frame. We have to place that together, fix it together. That's
going to be packed with long runs of flowers. It will take absolutely
thousands of blooms to achieve this. The trains and trays are to
recreate that waterry fields. I have crossed the boundarys a little.
When we reach that point of finishing, then we can all stand
back and look at it, and then I hope I can walk away from it and
think, "Yeah, I have got Monet encapsulated in flowers here." I
can always remember, as a boy, back at university, you know, in those
days it was the done thing to have lots of postcards on the walls and
the impressionist painters were big. I can remember revising and looking
at water lillies for hours on end. I never thought, years later, I
would be creating a garden based on it here at Chelsea.
And Jonathan is with me now, to show us how to capture the Giverny
in flowers, or should that be give Here it is a simple basket. We can
give a basket a face-lift, a new trendy look. I was inspired by the
classical bridge, so I have covered the handle of the basket.
I have wired that on. I have covered the wires with sections of
the snake weed there. So clipped that -- snake read there. So
clipped that into place there. I have bent and looped these leaves.
It is like a frame? That is like a frame to put the flowers into. With
this leaf, all I have done is cut a point on here and forced the leaf
through there and just packed that in. All that has gone into wet foam.
When you are selecting flowers, when you have cut them or bought
them, what should you do? Let them stand or go straight into the
display? The best thing to keep flowers living is to give them a
good long drink in cold-, clean water, over-- cold, clean water
overnight. Once they go into floral foam they will take up moisture. We
want to get the stems full of moisture first. When cutting stems
I cut on a good sharp 45-degree angle. I am using a knife. If you
are less experienced that cut can be achieved with the good old
scissors. Keep your tools clean. That is a practical tip to use.
Aren't they just dreamy? I love the colour pallet you are using.
Monet's colours were subtle. But when you put them together they
create an impact. We think of the colours as gentle. He had strong
colours in certain areas. He was working with light, light just
hitting certain flowers, particularly when painting the lake
at Giverny and using the water lillies there as the inspiration
and highlighting those colours. is beautiful already. It is lovely
you can take a picture or sculpture and try and recreate it at home. I
would not have thought of doing that. We can bring flowers into art
and link it together. Anything can inspire us. Walking through an art
gallery is inspirational. Monet is my favourite artist. This flower is
a shy little one, but has a waterry feel to it, I think. And the final
touch? These fabulous flowers, which give it texture. Beautiful!
You can take that home with you. You can and enjoy it for a long
time. Thank you very much indeed. Sadly we are near the end of our
lunch time coverage for another year. It has been a week which has
delighted in more than one ways. For those of you, like me, who want
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 61 seconds
to make the moment last, here are a It's been so amazing. Some of us
got emotional. I am try now. I know the RHS are keen for things here to
be recycled. The Christchurch Church of England Primary School in
Wandsworth, they were given the growing beds from the Energy Garden
last year. They've had their first growing season this spring and are
doing very well. What is happening to your garden? The garden is going
back to the garden for the adult learners to reinstate and develop a
new part of the garden. It will bolster their learning experience.
It makes a difference. Take a little away with you. Fantastic!
Now our coverage of this year's Chelsea Flower Show is not over
just yet. You can join Alan this evening on BBC Two, when he
celebrates the nurseryman responsible for the very first
flower show here in the Royal Hospital grounds. There are two
chances to catch up with the highlights, with review programmes
on BBC One and BBC Two. And Arne Maynard is on the red button now,
The designers taking inspiration from the arts take centre stage in this programme from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Presenters Nicki Chapman and Chris Beardshaw host a show packed with references to great literary legends.
There is also a chance for Nicki to create her own artistic flower arrangement as Jonathan Moseley, from the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies, demonstrates how to build a display inspired by the painter Claude Monet.