New medals category open to wider audience
Inspired by long borders at many of the country’s stately home gardens, a new medal category is taking place at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.
Iconic gardens, including Haddon Hall, RHS Garden Wisley, Great Dixter and Hever Castle, as well as the work of Gertrude Jekyll, are the inspiration for designers.
The Long Border Competition opens the door to design, planning and building an exhibit in a show environment to plant enthusiasts of all backgrounds.
This year’s entries, working on the theme of movement, come from students, designers, community groups and individuals.
The borders, planted inside raised sleeper beds, will create high summer colour and masses of inspiration for visiting gardeners to take home. The entries:
Designers: Bartolomeo Sasso and Liwen Zhang. Capturing the essence of movement, this tiny patch of land takes visitors on a journey from the Italian Hills to the Chinese mountains.
Elongated shapes of marigold and cranesbills give a sense of speed, while blurred and wavy textures of Chinese fountain grass contrast with vertical sage.
Designer: Mary Swan, sponsor: WM Spence. This traditional mixed border captures the change from late spring freshness to midsummer plenty. It has been designed for a windy site. A sculptural, curving screen divides the border, winds through the planting and circles in on itself.
On the south-facing side, grasses catch the wind. An anchor shrub at the western end tips the screen down to its lowest point. On the north-facing side, shrubs and grasses interweave with loose, subtle, textural herbaceous planting.
Designer: Georgia Kralj. This border aims to create a big splash with its uplifting colour palette of blues, purples and whites. It is inspired by the ripples of a swimming pool on a hot day and David Hockney’s swimming pool paintings.
The border is made up of herbaceous perennials, grasses and annuals.
Designer: Amber Norman. Inspired by the installation ‘Notional Field’ by Cuppetelli and Mendoza, it represents the movement of vertical elastic ropes in a computer simulation, showing the relationship between a human and computer and real and virtual.
The structure and shape of the planting show the curvature of the elastic. The border changes in colour and texture giving a feeling of flow.
Designer: Alistair Mockett and Russell Giblett. Commemorating 100 years since the Suffragette Movement won the right to vote for women. Figures of juniper emerge through clouds of colour, standing strong. This is coupled with repeated gypsophila swathes, twisting dress-like around the junipers.
Spiky, upright perennials create intrigue, contrasting with graceful, feminine-like forms. The colour scheme is predominately purple, white and green – the colours of the Suffragette Movement.
The Summer Breeze
Designer: Kristian Reay, sponsor: Gabriel Ash. A celebration of the elusive British summer with a wash of ornamental grasses, punctuated by a warm palette of perennials.
A serpentine band of Calamagrostis creates a dramatic backdrop, flowing between two islands of clipped Buxus which bookend the bed, creating a sense of permanence.
Rhythm of Colour
Designer: Samantha Harvey. Celebrating the history of Broomfield Hall Gardens at Derby College, championing the work of college volunteers.
Sustainable plants from the college grounds are used, with texture to reflect light. Colours fluctuate from hot to cold and back again to underline the feeling of movement.
Mind the Gap: Keep Bees on the Move
Designer: Louisa van den Berg. This border is all about plants for bees that flower in June, a time when there can be a gap in food supplies. A large willow traditional bee ‘skep’, created by willow artist Deb Hart, acts as a centrepiece complete with larger-than-life willow bees among the plants.
The border hopes to attract plenty of bees with its mix of shrubs and climbers, perennials, biennials, annuals and grasses.