7 Garden Trends from 2022’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Check out our roundup of themes from this year’s event to find ideas for your own outdoor space
That small plot of land at the back or front of our homes might seem insignificant, but if we joined all the UK’s gardens together, they would take up 4,330 square kilometres of space; that’s almost a fifth of the size of Wales. So it’s good to know that the things we do in our own plots can make a valuable contribution to the environment.
We can take our cue from Joe Swift’s BBC Studios Our Green Planet and RHS Bee Garden (pictured), which was designed to encourage people to grow bee-friendly plants, or The New Blue Peter Garden – Discover Soil by Juliet Sargeant, which aims to encourage everyone to look after soil and perhaps make our own compost.
The recent trend for loose, natural planting continues at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with gardens displaying a mix of perennials and wildflowers. There are elegant Verbascums, Geums and irises, as well as buttercups (seen here in the A Rewilding Britain Landscape garden by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt), ragged robin and ox eye daisies.
We can take inspiration for our own gardens with an ‘anything goes’ approach. Incorporate an abundant medley of plants that you and wildlife will love, and even feel free to embrace a few ‘weeds’ if they work in your space.
Find reviewed local garden designers on Houzz.
The acknowledgement that a garden can be instrumental in aiding mental health has continued, with many of the gardens at Chelsea 2022 focusing on this theme.
An interesting example of this is The Core Arts Front Garden Revolution (pictured), designed by Andy Smith-Williams, where two neighbours have removed the boundary between their front gardens to create a shared space, reflecting Core Arts’ mission to support mental health and promote social inclusion.
There are ideas for getting little ones out into green space, too, such as boulders, sculpted seats and a tippy-toe path in The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden by Jamie Butterworth, which focuses on children’s emotional wellbeing.
There’s a range of shades on display throughout the show, from exuberant oranges and magentas to cool blues, mauves and soft pinks. Colour is often used to present a mood or emotion, helping those who would use the garden to feel either calm or uplifted.
The Circle of Life garden by Yoshihiro Tamura, for instance, contains herbs, wild grasses and vegetables in different colours to represent human emotions. Healing greens, passionate reds and warm yellows combine with whites to signify purity and blacks to highlight everyday troubles and worries.
The Mothers for Mothers Garden – ‘This Too Shall Pass’ (pictured) by Pollyanna Wilkinson uses a gradual shift of hue in the planting to show the different stages of emotion a mother can feel. Melancholy blues evolve into tranquil peaches and pinks and finally lead through to exhilarating, hopeful magentas and reds.
Many of us want to spend more time in our gardens, so it makes sense to create a space where we can move indoor activities outdoors. There are plenty of ideas on display in the Out of the Shadows garden by Kate Gould, with its swim spa, climbing bars, yoga space and seating areas.
Or you could build yourself a carbon-neutral garden cabin like the one pictured here in A Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons, designed by Tony Woods.
You might also enjoy 7 Inspiring Ideas for Small Gardens from the Chelsea Flower Show.
Gone are the days of forcing plants to grow by endlessly watering them or spraying them with pesticides. Instead, the gardens at Chelsea this year encourage visitors to choose plants that will thrive in particular conditions without too much effort on the part of the gardener.
The Brewin Dolphin Garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, contains plants that deal with the poor soil conditions of homes on brownfield sites. A mix of native and endemic plants are useful for rehabilitating polluted, urban soils and for absorbing CO2 in the air, while low-maintenance, long-flowering shrubs and perennials provide nectar and habitat for pollinators.
The Enchanted Rain Garden (pictured) by Bea Tann is full of container plants that thrive in a rainy climate, with robust textures that hold raindrops and glisten when wet, while the Wild Kitchen Garden by Ann Treneman is planted with easy-to-grow, informal, edible plants and trees. The lesson for our own gardens? Choose plants that will grow easily in the soil and climate in your patch.
There’s plenty of inspiration for city dwellers at Chelsea this year, with designers focusing on ways to bring nature into urban settings. Take inspiration from the Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know garden by Tayshan Hayden-Smith and Danny Clarke, which is full of pollinator-friendly and edible plants suited to inner-city landscapes.
The Cirrus balcony garden (pictured) was designed by Jason Williams, who has his own 18th-floor balcony garden. He recreated the space for Chelsea to show how you can squeeze wildflowers, perennials, herbs, a vegetable garden and even a fish pond into a small urban area.
What do you think of the garden designs at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show? Share your thoughts in the Comments.