Looking forward to Chelsea 2014

Only a few weeks to go now until the Chelsea Flower Show....so what am I looking forward to seeing this year?

The news from the RHS is that there are a lot of young designers exhibiting in the 'Show Garden' category for the first time. It will be interesting to see if there is much to differentiate these gardens from the more experienced, well known names on Main Avenue. Will young talent inject innovation into the designs or will they play it safe?

Last year I really liked brothers Harry and David Rich's use of stone and oak in their small garden in the 'Artisan Category'. It was natural and rustic in feel with lovely soft planting. The materials and atmosphere in their first full blown show garden 'The Night Sky' for Vital Earth seem to reflect the same style so I think this one may stand out amongst the more sleek looking show gardens.

Harry and David Rich.

With the centenary of the first world war this year it is fitting that several gardens have a military/war theme; Charlotte Rowe's 'No Man's Land' garden for the Army Benevolent fund, Matthew Keightley’s ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden for Help the Heroes and the the British legion floral display in conjunction with the Charity Thrive and Birmingham City Council. An experienced designer, Charlotte Rowe is well known for her sleek, high spec, contemporary gardens so I am expecting to be impressed by her first design at Chelsea and there seems to be a lot of positive noise for first timer Mathew Keightley too.

Two of my favourite designers are showing this year; Cleve West and Luciano Giubbilei. I fell in love Cleve West’s beautiful planting in his Chelsea garden for The Telegraph in 2011. The colourful loose and airy planting was head and shoulders above the other exhibitors so I wasn’t surprised when he won Best in Show that year. I have never seen a garden by Luciano Giubbilei in person, just admired photos of his stylish, extremely formal designs. He won Best in Show in 2009 with his garden for Laurent Perrier, with whom he’s working again this year. His gardens are studies of texture and form in green, lots of box and yew hedging, formal lines of trees, a complete contrast to Cleve West.

So all in all it should be quite an interesting Chelsea.