Art in the Garden at RHS Chelsea

We had a fantastic six days at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. Our stunning gallery space was awarded three stars by the RHS for our design and layout. The stand was made even more special this year as we were joined by a selection of our favourite artists. On a daily basis throughout the week we had an easel at the ready as Stewart Lees, Martin Taylor and Peter van Breda painted and chatted to delighted visitors.

They all had a wonderful time showing people how they approach the composition, design and realisation of a painting. Stewart had a lovely collection of Victorian terracotta pots and old garden tools with him to paint, he braved the chilly and wet weather on Press day to be rewarded with a glimpse or two of H.M the Queen when she arrived to tour the show.

Peter allowed several of us to take the chance and “have a go.” With paint brush in hand and a suitably floral composition to work from his nerves and our brush strokes soon saw more flowers and petals being immortalised.

Martin really astounded visitors with his detailed landscape work, a selection of plein air sketches ensured every leaf of wonderful Northamptonshire’s countryside was on display at Chelsea.

The flower show is an incredible example of human endeavour. Plants are obviously given central stage and all the colours, scents, texture and form are put together in wonderful combinations and designs. It is a real visual treat. Everyone who visits takes something different away with them and this year we took our guests on mini tours and shared our highlights.

For me the story of a young Victorian garden designer arriving at one of the great English country houses was told so well by Dan Pearson on the Laurent Perrier Chatsworth garden. Paxton worked for the 6th Duke on some amazing landscape features, including the awe inspiring Emperor Fountain. In London this year his work was celebrated by a spectacular show-garden bringing nature and horticulture together. 300 tons of rock brought from the Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire conjured up the rock garden and really got visitors talking. Oscar Wilde always said that the buttonhole is the only link between art and nature but maybe this year it was achieved at Chelsea.

Chelsea is one of those places where you must look and really see, not just look at the surface. The time and care taken with the tiniest of details is impressive and the scale of what people can achieve working together a real delight.


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