It was Phillip Johnson’s stunning red poppy display, running from the showground to the Royal Hospital, that brought together into a central theme of mindfulness so many of the individual show gardens at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. 300,000 poppies handcrafted by fiber artists from around the world urged us to remember, to be mindful, as did winding water channels and dry water beds, native and medicinal herbs quietly displaying their virtues, and the muted blending of blossoms.


Ancient Plants and Placement

Perhaps the most manifest display of mindfulness in the garden was that found in St. John’s Hospice Modern Apothecary. The pebbled walkway leading to and encircling the round water basin radiates calm and an antique order. Twin benches inspire quiet contemplation. The beds themselves are thick with medicinal plants, from heartsease and angelica to borage and wormwood, so ancient that we are put for a little while out of time. The Garden of Potential, with its lichen-covered boulder and icy blue blossoms, conveys a similar effect, although it would prove more difficult for the home gardener to reproduce. Vestra Wealth’s Garden of Mindful Living, dominated by shades of green with touches of yellow primulas, emphasizes the importance of subtle placement to effect calm.

Water Pure and Sacred

Water as a central, precious, and endangered natural element contributes to the mindfulness theme in several show gardens. The Brewin Dolphin Forever Freefolk display emphasizes the fragility of the chalk stream; its use of native plants emphasizes how a stream gradually disappears. The Royal Bank of Canada Garden takes the sacredness of water as its central theme. In this case, the plants used are those native to an arid Mediterranean climate, the brilliant color of their blossoms standing out against the rock and metal of the display.

Woodland and Maquis

Native plants contribute to the M&G Garden as well. Here, however, the plants are those of the oak woodlands of the ancient British landscape. The show garden is dominated by a stone path leading among stunted oaks and bordered by a variety of ferns and wildflowers, the pale blues and whites blending into the mixed green background. In a similar spirit but celebrating a completely different landscape, the L’Occitane garden replicates a rugged and rocky bit of Provence. Leggy lavender mingles with several hundred plants native to the maquis.

Celebrate the place where you are by becoming aware of the peculiar genius of your chosen place. Arrange garden elements to promote mindfulness and well-being. These exhortations may well be the ultimate take-home from Chelsea this year.

Planting and Garden Landscaping

If you should aspire to be anything like the gardeners showcasing their work at the Chelsea Flower Show then you can start with a garden design plan of how your landscape might look. At Groby Landscapes we can help with a variety of garden and landscaping services which includes planting and garden design.

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