Inspired art at the Chelsea Flower Show
PUBLISHED: 01:16 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
Two of the nicest artisan gardens at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show <br/><br/>were both created by Bucks-based garden designers and had literary themes. Naomi Slade casts her expert eye over these 'works of art'.
With a white stone boathouse and ramshackle bridge over a silted up estuary, A Postcard from Wales, designed by Kati Chrome and Maggie Hughes, was inspired by Dylan Thomass home town of Laugharne.
Gentle and rather dreamy, the more one looks, the more one sees the shells on the fence echo the cockle-shell infill in the paving for example, and gained a well-deserved Gold Medal. Filled with the sustainable materials and artistic flair that this category of garden demands, it says everything about a family seaside holiday, in microcosm.
The planting is informal and naturalistic and the colours soft. Wildflowers like ragged robin, aquilegia and red campion rub shoulders with cultivated alliums and nectaroscordums, campanula and delicate astrantias. The flowers are used to add subtle detail erigeron daisies spill over onto the path and the Primula vialii on the edge of the overgrown lawn are echoed elsewhere in the garden.
Winning a gold medal is the ultimate challenge for garden designers, says Maggie, and Kati agrees: We built the garden on a tiny budget and grew most of our plants ourselves, so we feel we put our hearts and souls into it. For us it is a fantastic reward for the months of hard work and preparation.
Nearby, A Literary Garden is the work of sculptor Martin Cook and garden designer Bonnie Davies. Inspired by Martins work for Ian Hamilton-Finlay at Little Sparta, it, too represents a retreat, but one with a different, quieter character.
A charming and beautifully executed piece of work, this garden has a sense of being enclosed rather than open to the sun, of being thoughtful rather than carefree.
The design is strongly structural and there is much clean-hewn timber, complimenting the gazebo seating area with its planted roof and log walls. Here, the poetry and literature are overt, carved into wood and iterated in metal and stone. It is part of the seating and inscribed in the water feature.
This structure is softened by informal planting. A white and blue colour scheme, with tall, elegant foxgloves, nepeta, astilbes and irises serves to emphasise the sense of enclosure, revelling in the dappled shade of Cornus trees.
I particularly like the way the plants from our nursery work in harmony with Martins sculptures, says Bonnie. We thoroughly enjoyed making the garden and for our first time at Chelsea Im ecstatic to have won a Silver Gilt!
Their debut garden is a place of peace and solitude, full of water and words the perfect spot for any poet.