As a designer, visiting the Chelsea Flower Show is always an inspiration and this year of course I had the luxury of being able to see a little bit each day as I was there for the whole week. I always get most excited about the show gardens, how materials have been used, what works well and why. I know it's been just over a week since the show has finished, but I really wanted to share my top show gardens with you.
The M&G Garden by Andy Sturgeon
This was my favourite show garden and was very worthy of the Gold medal it was awarded. It works on every level; balance, structure and materials. I particularly loved the copper sculpture which looked fabulous with the informal planting and clean lines of the hard landscaping.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden by Cleve West
I loved this garden too - the strong topiary structures, the beautiful iron gates and the gorgeous natural stone work. Again the planting was soft and informal which contrasted brilliantly against the formality of the topiary and beech hedges. Cleve was awarded a Gold medal and Best In Show for this garden.
A Celebration of Caravanning garden by Jo Thompson
Jo's garden was probably the most garden-like of all the show gardens, one that you can imagine spending time in. It was awarded a Silver-Gilt. The starting point and inspiration for the garden came from Doris, the 1950s aluminium caravan at the back of the garden.
This garden got a lot of TV coverage and I just had to mention the caravan shaped Dog Kennel which was made by English Garden Joinery. Heart Home columnist, Rona Wheeldon, followed this garden on her own blog, Flowerona, so you may wish to take a look at the journey from design to completion.
The Laurent Perrier Bicentenary Garden by Arne Maynard
Another Gold medal winning gorgeous garden with great balance and structure and beautiful scented planting. I loved the avenue of pleached purple beech trees leading to the elegant sculpture at the end. The pathway was constructed with pebbles and I would imagine it was a rather painstaking job to lay each one by hand.
This garden featured topiary as well which added structure and three dimension without detracting from the rest of the garden.
Land's End: A Rural Muse by Adam Frost
I loved this garden by Adam Frost which was awarded a Gold Medal. It was well structured and inviting and I really liked the covered area to the right of the picture which was like a cosy room. The planting was simple and naturalistic and the materials natural and gorgeous.
The Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden by Joe Swift
This was Joe's first Chelsea show garden and he was awarded a Gold medal. What I loved most about this garden was the timber work, all constructed from cedar which worked perfectly with the colours and textures of the planting and the rust coloured water features.
The Telegraph Garden by Sarah Price
Another gold medal winning garden, this was not everyone's cup of tea, but I loved the wild feel about it, the fact that you could imagine stumbling upon it whilst out walking. It was designed to evoke the beauty and romance of wild places in the British countryside and I think it delivered that message in abundance.
(Photos: Lisa Cox for The Room Outside)