Native Biodiversity shines through… 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Report

British native plants and tones of pink stole the show at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored my M&G Investments. While almost all gardens at this year’s show used native British plants, three gardens in particular featured this theme strongly in their design.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s garden, Le Jardin de Yorkshire highlighted the natural beauty of the region’s dales by using British native plants such as Lychnis flos-cuculi (ragged robin), Dactylorhiza fuchsii (common spotted orchid) and Geum rivale (water avens). Its colour palette is predominantly based around those plants that would naturally occur in the wild with greens providing a backdrop for florals in a range of whites, yellows, pinks and purples.
Nature and the tradition of the British landscape were again referenced as inspiration for this year’s NSPCC garden – What will we leave? Garden of Magical Childhood – where a cherry tree creates a centre point for native wildflowers including Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s purse), Silene dioica (red campion) and Humulus lupulus (hop) paired with a few colourful perennials.
The Motor Neurone Disease – Hebridean Weaver’s Garden also incorporated Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s purse), Silene dioica (red campion) and Humulus lupulus (hop) amongst other natives within their planting. Designers Jackie Setchfield and Martin Anderson working with growers, British Wild Flower Plants, to recreate the rustic feel of the Outer Hebrides within the heart of Chelsea.
Many other gardens used floral selections mixed with airy grasses and frothy umbels, favouring the more natural appearance of accents of colour over more expansive colour pallets. Pink is this year’s colour of choice, showcased through plants such as Dactylorhiza, Armeria maritima and Geranium Sanguibneum.
Rhododendrons, another British native, were for a few years noticeably absent until designer Chris Beardshaw used them in his design for Furzey Gardens last year and this year they’re back taking pride of place in Delancy’s East Village Garden and Kate Gould’s The Wasteland.
Digitalis Purpurea, better known as foxglove, and Anthriscus Sylvestris, common cow parsley, are both varieties which you would maybe not expect to appear at Chelsea, yet both feature predominantly in this year’s show. These and other native plants will be encouraging British wildlife onto this year’s show gardens, an approach very much in line with the RHS Plants for Bugs research and the current Wildflower campaign.

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