Plans for the Chelsea Flower Show 2014 were unveiled by the RHS and show
sponsor M&G Investments on November 11, the anniversary of the
armistice. Two military charities are backing show gardens that celebrate
the centenary of the First World War and among the line-up of designers
there is an emphasis on youth, with several under-30s at Chelsea for the
first time, as well as some familiar names.
Designer Charlotte Rowe, based in west London, is taking on her first Chelsea
show garden in partnership with ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity. Called No Man’s
Land, it is inspired by the damaged landscapes of the trenches on the
A second charity, Help for Heroes, is supporting a garden called Hope on the
Horizon designed by Matthew Keightley, who is also new to Chelsea. The
layout is based on the shape of the Military Cross, the medal awarded for
extreme bravery. Matthew was inspired by the example of his brother Michael
who serves in the RAF regiment and who is due for his fifth tour of
Afghanistan next year.
As well as evoking the devastation of war, both gardens are intended to send a
message of renewal and recovery; Keightley’s work will be rebuilt after the
show at a recovery centre run by Help for Heroes in Colchester, Essex.
Other bright young stars of horticulture who will be designing the 14 show
gardens at Chelsea 2014 include Hugo Bugg, 26, designing a show gardens for
the first time, for Royal Bank of Canada. The RBC Waterscape Garden, Embrace
the Rain has been designed to illustrate global water issues, whilst
demonstrating practical water management ideas for gardeners.
Charlotte Rowe’s garden is inspired by the Western front
Brothers Harry and David Rich, 26 and 23 respectively, are together designing
a garden for environmentally responsible utility provider, Bord Na Mona. The
brothers return to Chelsea with their first show garden, having designed an
Artisan garden in 2013. Designed for Beechwood College in Cardiff, their
design takes its inspiration from the constellations and will be a
naturalistic, calm environment where the children can learn about land and
M&G Investments, who have renewed their contract to sponsor Chelsea for
four more years, are working with veteran designer Cleve West. His
contemporary interpretation of an ancient Paradise garden contains an
octagonal fountain at the centre of four rills and a limestone relief
depicting the tree of life. Cleve West has won the coveted Best Show Garden
award twice, the first time in 2011 for The Telegraph.
Two notable show gardens, usually found next door to each other on Main
Avenue, have an Italian influence: The Telegraph garden 2014 will be
designed by London-based designers Del Buono Gazerwitz. Describing his
design, Tommaso Del Buono says it will be “an Italian garden for the modern
era, combining some principles of Italy’s great historical tradition”.
Fellow Italian Luciano Giubbilei is once again partnered with sponsor
Laurent-Perrier and is working on a garden based on the idea of layering,
showing how natural elements interplay with a simple geometric layout.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place 20-24 May 2014. Tickets are now on
sale to RHS Members. For more information and to buy tickets, visit rhs.org.uk