So farewell then, Chelsea, for another year. Just in case you’re suffering a little Chelsea withdrawal, here are a few ideas I spotted among the hi-falutin’ designery and general razzmatazz, the kind of Chelsea inspiration that’s actually not that difficult to recreate at home.
Chelsea is often criticised for not being relevant to ‘ordinary’ gardeners: but I think there’s plenty of inspiration that translates directly into the average back yard. You just have to know where to look.
Hazel bundle edging: A simple (and cheap) but effective way to edge beds and borders, as seen on Sarah Eberle’s design for Hillier’s in the Pavilion. Wonderful for wildlife, too.
Make your logpile into a garden feature: Logpiles are a haven for wildlife, from frogs and toads to ground beetles, but they’re usually a bit of an eyesore and best tucked away where they can’t be seen. Unless you do what Nigel Dunnett did in the RHS Greening Grey Britain garden and cover them in plants like a kind of garden sculpture.
Match your plants to your sculptures: As seen on the Seedlip Garden, where the coppery tones of Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ toned in perfectly with the funky artwork.
Sheds without windows: Why be a norm? Rather than going to the expense of fitting your shed with boring old windows, turn one side into a shelving unit instead and display your prettiest glassware and choice flowers instead. As seen on the Anneke Rice Colour Cutting Garden.
Use clay pots as cane toppers: How pretty is this? A great way to stop yourself poking your eyes out while weeding the tomatoes, spotted on the Pennard Plants stand in the Pavilion.
Clothe your sheds: Another great shed idea, this time spotted on the Horticulture Trades Association exhibit in the Pavilion. They used a planting pocket system to cover one end with strawberries and the side wall with a patchwork of different thyme. The roof was pretty cool too. A whole lot better than looking at a load of shiplap.
Make fencing out of old garden tools: Simple, but effective. These were ordinary garden forks and spades, sunk into the ground on the Chris Evans Taste Garden, sturdy garden twine threaded through the handles to make a simple rope fence.
Tabletop tree pruning: Create natural shade and a living pergola by pruning a quadrangle of four trees – here, on the Poetry Lover’s Garden, limes – into a green roof above your head. They’re also known as parasol trees: if you don’t fancy the hassle of shaping them yourself you can buy pre-trained ones.
Do away with your greenhouse frame: These were quite the talking point. I had never realised quite how imposing the frame of a greenhouse could be until I saw a greenhouse without one. These were frameless greenhouses from Pure, and the RHS was impressed, too: they awarded them RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year.
Build walls you can read: What a beautiful idea. Here the words were impressions about scents, on the Jo Whiley Scent Garden: but you could carve a poem, favourite saying or quote into your wall for a feature that’s poetic as well as practical.