Monday, 4 June 2007

A Work Of Art

If you could wave a magic wand to create your idea of a perfect garden, how would it look? What would you have growing within it? What special alchemy would you require to design your little corner of paradise?
Mine would have a quiet corner where I would sit in dappled shade surrounded by cool planting - euphorbias, hostas, myosotis and geraniums - and watch the wildlife bringing the garden to life, while listening to the gentlest trickling of water.

Whenever I felt inspired to create watercolour paintings of the flowers growing in my garden, or I wanted to sit down with a cup of tea and write about the powerful experience of being in such a garden, I would walk down the path, through the gap in the hornbeam hedge, to a pretty pavilion with terracotta flowerpots bordering the steps.
In bold contrast, there would be a sunny area to dazzle the eyes. There, I would sit and contemplate the beauty of the garden, in the way I might gaze at a masterpiece, where the passionate artist has put his heart and soul to work using a riot of colourful flowers to paint his canvas.
It would evoke in me the feeling of being somewhere special, where the designer has breathed life and meaning into it, and I would be touched by his inspiration. Such a garden would make my heart sing, because it would exude a touch of soul and romance.

The heady mix of colour and perfume from the flowers – roses, peonies, poppies, lupins, alliums, verbascums, delphiniums, lilies, digitalis, lupins and irises - would be intoxicating enough to have my imagination soaring upwards like a high-flying kite, and I would go home feeling transformed, because his creation would have worked its magic spell on me.

I experienced such a garden - a work of art - at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, created by someone whose philosophy is, ‘A great garden should provide limitless rewards no matter what the time or season – it is a coherent collection or reminder of all that we find most precious in life’.
The inspirational garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw, won the coveted People’s Choice Award for Best Show Garden, because his masterpiece touched the hearts of tens of thousands of keen amateur gardeners who voted for him.
His creation certainly stole my heart, for, surely the proof of any lasting impact is that I should be writing about the strong feelings of inspiration it created in me long after leaving the garden.

39 comments:

Sheila said...

If I ever had any preconceived ideas of a perfect garden, they all went out of the window when I saw your post.
It looks and sounds heavenly, and I could quite happily spend an afternoon...or longer..wandering around absorbing the scents and colours of this magical place.
Thanks for showing it to those of us not able to attend the Chelsea Flower Show.
xx

RUTH said...

I love Chris Beardshaw's garden too. My idyllic garden would be one where empty beds kept appearing ready for me to fill! Then I could grow all the seeds and cuttings I wanted without wondering where on earth I would put them! Your garden is an absolute joy.

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello, Sheila, and welcome to our little corner of paradise. I managed to take 1400 photos at Chelsea and the RHS garden at Wisley...I know, I know, I must be mad!But these photos are ten of the 55 I took of Chris Beardshaw's garden. It was simply lyrical.

I think your idea is a great one, Ruth! My hubbie's often saying to me, 'If you grow those packets of seed, where on earth are you going to put them?'!

Em said...

What fabulous photos! A superb garden....sooooo inviting.

A wildlife gardener said...

Chris's Garden was superb, em!

Nicole said...

So that's where you were, I wondered how come there were no posts for a while. The show deserves more posts! You must have been in garden heaven with so much to see and experience. yes, do email the pics to me at greene@wow.net
I am planning a huge post on orchids this weekend so it would be super to include some of your pics-especially as a comparison of what we grow in the tropics and how the tastes of folks in Europe compare!

shirl said...

Hi and welcome back!

I could well imagine you will have returned home with more inspiration that you will know what to do with! I look forward to seeing more pics of your trip.

I too liked Chris’s garden and plantings but I have to be honest and say my favourite was Andy Sturgeon’s Cancer Research Garden. However I didn’t see as much coverage on TV as usual as I was watching the chicks in our Nestbox – sadly we lost them all that week.

A wildlife gardener said...

I've sent off the orchid photos, Nicole. you are right, I was in garden heaven! My head's still buzzing with it all. I've posted photos of it on my travel blog...:)

I am sad to hear about the chicks, Shirl. Andy Sturgeon had some lovely planting...I'll show a photo of it on the travel blog soon...

Wicked Gardener said...

Stunning photos - If only we could have that in all of our backyards!

Layanee said...

Those photos look like watercolor paintings! Lovely to look at and thanks for sharing.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh wow... what a wonder post and a wonderful tour! I am always amazed when people can create such temporary gardens that touch the hearts and linger in the minds of others. Given a blank slate within which to design... ack. I would probably sit there blankly myself! :)

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome to our little corner of paradise, wicked gardener, and thanks for introducing yourself. The thing I liked best about Chris's garden is that it is do-able. You can follow his planting scheme in your own garden if you wanted to, whereas in a lot of the 'Show Gardens' at Chelsea, you would need to be a millionaire to reproduce their designs and the features within them. So, take heart :) ...Chris's is all about the planting.

Welcome to you too, layanee, and I agree Chris's garden is stunning.

Hello again, blackswamp_girl, and welcome back. You have hit the nail on the head...it's amazing how they do it. But each garden design is planned over a year, though, in the case of the garden which won the Best In Show...600 days With Bradstone, which was meant to represent life on Mars...it was eight years in the planning!

Your garden is lovely and tells me what you like and how you achieve it. I love the individuality of it. It's personal to you and that's lovely.

Bimbimbie said...

I'm drooling on behalf of my poor parched garden *!*

Green thumb said...

This post had me transported to a perfectly utopian world.
I always had some vague imagination of a place of perfect beauty, your post has my dreams so vividly captured and artriculated.
It must have taken a magic wand to create this semblance of perfection.

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello, bimbimbie. You poor thing...I hope you get rain soon...

Welcome, green thumb, and thank you for revisiting. I think Chris has a magic wand! He makes it seem so effortless, as if he'd waved his magic wand and suddenly there appeared this vision of beauty...but by following his design, if we want to, we can reproduce his planting scheme.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I couldn't believe it when I found out that Chris had not won a gold at Chelsea. Fortunately he won a much more important prize later on!

Love his choice of plants in the garden next to the pavillion, very romantic and with wonderful colour combinations.

I noticed that Chris was very moved when he was told he had won the People's Choice award. It was richly deserved.

Gardener Greg said...

Lovely photo's. If I could have any garden I desired, it would be an overgrown collection of all tropical plants. A neighbor had a yard like that when I was growing up and it always amazed me with the amouht of wildlife it supported.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Wow, these photos are like painting.

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome Yolanda. Apparently the judges thought the hornbeam hedges which divided the three rooms in the garden were too tall.

Chris was visibly moved when he won The People's Award. He richly deserved it, as you say. So clever of him to win it for the second year in succession!

Hello again, gardener greg. Lovely of you to visit again. Atropical garden sounds very exotic and I like the idea of it supporting the wildlife.

Welcome, britt-arnhild, and thank you for admiring the photos. It was a very beautiful garden. The perfume of the flowers came across strongly too.

Nicole said...

Thanks, Yolanda, I got the photos and am already noting the different tastes and or what is possible in a colder climate.
I guess Monet's paintings/gardens in Giverny was the inspiration for this garden. And you are right-its quite doable-in a temperate climate!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello, nicole, I'm glad you got the photos. You are welcome.

Chris's garden was called
'Celebrating 100 years of Hidcote Manor', as it was Hidcote Manor which inspired him when he went there as a child. In his own words, 'For me this is the garden that's responsible for who I am as a gardener. I came here when I was seven or eight and was mesmerised by the theatre of the garden, the revealed views, the strong geometries. I felt there was something magical about what had been created. It's the one garden I keep coming back to, it's the most influential garden for me'.

Nicole said...

Sorry to call you Yolanda, it was late at night when I sent that comment!

Sally said...

Breathtaking! Simply breathtaking. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this garden with us WG.

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello, Sally, and welcome again. I just had to write about Chris's garden...it had such a lasting effect on me!

smilnsigh said...

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

Mari-Nanci

A wildlife gardener said...

I am in total agreement, smilnsigh. Thanks for commenting.

Lesley said...

A truly beautiful garden, and to my mind, what a 'real' garden should be based on - plants! I have never visited Hidcote Manor, but hope to some day. Thanks to Chris Beardshaw, for creating this floral heaven!

Sandy said...

Wonderful photos. I could get lost there...

Bimbimbie said...

....came back to let you know your post and questions got me thinking ..... so in turn I invite you over to answer my "what if" garden poser *!*

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome lesley and sandy to our little corner of paradise, and thanks for introduscing yourselves.

I agree, lesley, that plants are the most important part of a garden. I think that's why Chris won the coveted People's Choice.

It was that kind of a garden, sandy....mesmerising! I kept going back and back again to revisit it over the two days we were at the show.

Welcome back, bimbimbie! I will revisit your blog to find out about your ideal garden.

Libbys Blog said...

Sadly for what ever reason I never saw Chelsea, so this is the first I heard of Chris Beardshaws garden, it is absolutely heavenly, just what I dream of, but as you say fairly simple to replicate!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello again, Libby, and welcome. Chris's garden certainly gives ideas about heights of plants, colours which go well together, bulbs which will blend in and trees for the smaller garden, as well as several very fragrant roses to include to add a touch of romance.

Thalia said...

This is wonderful, such a beautiful garden! Beautiful pictures! And your description of an ideal garden transported me to a different magical world!

A wildlife gardener said...

My description was of all the flowers in Chris's garden, dear Thalia, which was truly awesome...and magical, as you say.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

WOW, what a show, how wonderful it must have been to visit. It is a work of art for sure. Thanks for sharing.

Nicole said...

wildlife gardener:to let you know I posted the orchid pics as a surprise at the end of my orchid post, they are lovely!

A wildlife gardener said...

Thank you for your comments, IGW, and I agree. It was stunning.

Glad you could make use of them, nicole. I'll visit your post to make a comment .

joey said...

It has been my lifelong dream to attend the Chelsea Flower Show and after viewing your many lovely and informative posts, feel as though I have. Thank you for sharing. (Loved the thunderstorm)

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome to our little corner of paradise, joey. It had always been our ambition to visit Chelsea too, but could never manage it because we were at work and it used to only be on from Mon to Fri, though now it also includes Sat. We have been a few times now since we retired. I'm glad you enjoyed the post about it, and the thunderstorm, which was fun to video!