It takes some doing to create a garden in a 7m x 5m space which is so complex, so detailed and so atmospheric it can take you halfway across the world in a second.
But so it is with Sarah Eberle’s lushly planted slice of the Mekong Delta for Viking Cruises – winner of a gold medal and Best Artisan garden (by miles, if I had my way). So luxuriant, so densely-planted, so detailed is it that there’s just no way to do it justice with a few snatched pictures – so you’ll have to take my word for it. It’s a true piece of theatre.
The planting floats in flat-bottomed traditional Cambodian fishing boats, dripping leaves and flowers over the sides into the water beneath. A riotous mix of dahlias, gloriosa lilies, philodendrons and orchids crammed into every inch of space conjures up the steamy South Asian jungle in a few deft sweeps of exotic, tropical-looking foliage and flowers.
And I did love that there were vegetables here too. I’m always on the lookout for veg at Chelsea and these were as lush as the flowers that surrounded them. Some veg just have that jungly look, so it wasn’t a surprise to see gourds, okra and aubergines. But who knew cabbage and spinach could look exotic? Must add dahlias to the cabbage patch next year….