Best in Show! The Laurent-Perrier Garden Chelsea Flower Show 2015

By Alex N

BEST IN SHOW - CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2015! Dan Pearson returns to Chelsea with Laurent-Perrier after 15 years

This Garden holds one of the key spots at Chelsea this year (the triangle right in the middle of the show) and is probably one of the most talked about gardens.  For the 2015 show, institutions Laurent-Perrier and Chatsworth have come together to create drama in the middle of the show.

The important thing to remember about the ‘triangle’ position at Chelsea is that it can be viewed from all three sides, Pearson's creation does not have any of the cultivated formal look of most of the other show gardens - he's created a the face of a naturalistic part of the 105 acre Chatsworth Garden full of wild flowers.  This is not entirely unexpected as Pearson’s known for having a passion for naturalism. The exhibit is inspired by Chatsworth’s ornamental Trout Stream and Paxton’s rockery.

The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

Apparently the entire plan this year nearly came tumbling down at the eleventh hour. Dan had come up against an unforeseen enemy lurking: London’s creaking Victorian infrastructure. A sewer ran under the site of his garden; Thames Water had decided that his design – in particular a couple of weeping willows – would put too much weight on it.

“This is just what you have to do: design on the hoof,” he said, directing JCBs and forklift trucks to move the weeping willows and rocks around a piece of land no bigger than a modest flat. “It’s just the usual Chelsea madness, albeit on a slightly bigger scale.”

The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

If you have not been to “Chelsea”, imagine a marquee the size of two football pitches and 50ft high. Inside this tent are millions of flowers, row on flawless row. Surrounding it are tennis-court sized plots, each containing a show garden, with trees, plants and shrubs from all over the world in perfect bloom. Around these are hundreds of smart white tents where vendors sell everything from umbrellas to fish and chips. Now transpose the whole thing to a park on the Thames in the middle of London and fill it with 30,000 visitors. As The Guardian so eloquently put it "the show sits in the middle of a Venn diagram of class, art, horticulture and commerce, and it’s possible that nothing else is quite as English"

The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

Planting in this design reflects the lightness, freshness and delicacy of the 200-year old family owned Champagne House.  Due to launch in spring 2016, Pearson’s work can be viewed at Chatsworth itself as part of a regeneration project of the Trout Stream area.

Garden details The garden is an ornamental woodland animated by a naturalistic water feature gracefully winding from its elevated source, beneath a dramatic rock stack, to a still moon gazing pool.  Wooden paths gently weave through the design.

The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

Two glades are fringed with a variety of different plant combinations, all chosen to thrive in acid woodland and partial shade, and displaying a refreshing spectrum of green, white and yellow punctuated with accents of pink.  Flowering shrubs and small trees create an ornamental counterpoint to native trees. A number of key plants and trees have been sourced from Chatsworth and selected for their distinctiveness, including Azalea and  Rhododendrons that naturally will be in bloom at Chatsworth as well as Chelsea in May. Seedling oaks highlight regeneration and their ecological value and the larger trees and shrubs give the garden a sense of maturity.

The Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden

The burnt tree sculpture is a dominant feature, much photographed by the press for this garden.  It adds drama and height to the design giving it a theatrical feel alongside the wild plantings.  This garden is much debated and will be interesting to see where the judges place it.

Plant list

Trees Acer campestre – Field maple Carpinus betulus - Hornbeam Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ – Flowering dogwood Crataegus monogyna - Hawthorn Halesia carolina - Carolina silverbell Laburnum anagyroides – Golden Chain Tree Magnolia wilsonii – Wilson magnolia Quercus robur – Oak Salix alba – White willow Styrax japonicus – Japanese snowbell

Shrubs Aesculus parviflora – Dwarf buckeye Buxus sempervirens – Common Box (Rock Form) Calycanthus x raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' - Sweetshrub Enkianthus campanulatus – Redvein enkianthus Hedera helix ‘Poetica Arborea’ – Arborescent Ivy Hydrangea aspera ‘Macrophylla’ - Large-leaved scabrous hydrangea Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana – Sargent hydrangea Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas’ - Honeysuckle Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis ‘Soft Caress’ - Mahonia Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii – Tibetan peony Rhododendron loderi – Loder rhododenron Rhododendron luteum - Yellow azalea Ribes sanguineum ‘Tydeman's White’ – Flowering currant Rosa eglanteria – Eglantine rose Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis f. pteracantha – Winged thorn rose Rubus fruticosus ‘Oregon Thornless’ – Thornless blackberry Rubus tridel ‘Benenden’ – Tridel berry Sambucus nigra f. laciniata – Cut-leaved elder Viburum opulus - Guelder rose Perennials Actaea simplex 'James Compton' - Baneberry Ajuga reptans - Bugle Alisma plantago-aquatica -  Water plantain Angelica dahurica – Chinese angelica Anthriscus sylvestris - Cow Parsley Aquilegia chrysantha 'Yellow Queen' - Columbine Aralia cordata - Spikenard Aruncus ‘Horatio’ – Goat’s beard Astrantia major 'Shaggy' - Master Wort Brunnera macrophylla ‘Betty Bowring’ – Siberian bugloss Bupleurum perfoliatum 'Bronze Form' - Bupleurum Caltha palustris var. alba – White marsh marigold Cardamine pratensis - Cuckoo flower Cenolophium denudatum - Baltic parsley Cornus canadensis – Creeping dogwood Corydalis temulifolia 'Chocolate Stars' – Fumewort Digitalis albiflora – Foxglove Dipsacus fullonum - Wild teasel Disporum longistylum 'Green Giant' - Disporum Disporum longistylum ‘Night Heron’ – Disporum Doronicum orientale - Leopard's bane Epimedium wushanense 'Caramel' - Bishop's hat Euphorbia palustris – Marsh spurge Fragaria vesca - Wild strawberry Galium odoratum – Sweet woodruff Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’ – Dusky cranesbill Geranium robertianum ‘Album’ – White herb Robert Geum rivale - Water Avens Gillenia trifoliate - Bowman's root Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus – Yellow day lily Hyacinthoides non-scripta 'Alba' – White Bluebell Iris fulva - Copper Iris Iris pseudacorus ‘Berlin Tiger’ – Yellow flag iris Iris x robusta 'Dark Aura'- Water Iris Lamium album – White deadnettle Lamium galeobdolon - Archangel Lamium orvala - Balm-leaved red deadnettle Laser trilobum – Horse caraway Ligusticum scoticum – Scotch lovage Lunaria rediviva – Perennial honesty Lunaria annua ‘Corfu Blue’ – Annual honesty Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘White Robin’ – White ragged robin Lysichiton camtschatcensis - Asian skunk cabbage Meconopsis cambrica – Welsh poppy Myosotis scorpioides ‘Alba’ – White water forget-me-not Myrrhis odorata - Sweet Cicely Paeonia emodi ‘Late Windflower’ – Himalayan peony Paradisea lusitanica - Paradise Lily Petasites japonicus var. giganteus – Giant butterbur Pilosella aurantiaca - Fox-and-cubs Polygonatum multiflorum – Common Solomon’s seal Polygonatum biflorum - Great Solomon’s seal Primula bulleyana - Bulley primrose Primula 'Inverewe' - Candelabra primula Primula pulverulenta - Mealy primrose Ranunculus aconitifolius – Aconite buttercup Rheum palmatum ‘Hadspen Crimson’ – Ornamental rhubarb Rodgersia podophylla - Rodgersia Sanguisorba officinalis - Greater Burnet Silene fimbriata - Fringed campion Smyrnium olusatrum – Alexanders Smyrnium perfoliatum - Perfoliate alexanders Symphytum caucasicum - Caucasian comfrey Symphytum ibericum - Iberian comfrey Telekia speciosa - Heart-leaved ox eye Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Album' - French meadow rue Typha angustifolia - Lesser bulrush Valeriana officinalis subsp. sambucifolia - Elder-leaved valerian Vinca major var. oxyloba – Greater periwinkle Viola odorata - Wood violet Zizia aurea - Golden Alexanders

Grasses & Sedges Briza media - Common quaking grass Equisetum hyemale 'Robustum' - Scouring Rush Deschampsia cespitosa - Tufted hair grass Juncus effuses – Common rush Luzula nivea - Snow rush Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’ - Great wood-rush Melica altissima ‘Alba’ – White Siberian melic Sesleria heufleriana - Blue green moor grass

Ferns Asplenium scolopendrium – Hart’s tongue fern Dryopetris erythrosora – Autumn fern Dryopteris filix-mas – Male fern Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich fern Osmunda regalis – Royal fern

Bulbs Camassia leichtlinii ‘Alba’ – White Californian quamash Hyacinthoides non-scripta ‘Alba’ – White bluebell Lilium martagon ‘Aspen Gold’ – Turk’s cap lily Lilium martagon ‘Claude Shride’ - Turk’s cap lily Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus – Old Pheasant’s eye Tulipa sprengeri – Sprenger tulip

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Alex N

I'm passionate about online learning, and lucky enough to work for Learning with Experts. Most recent course: The Pie Shop with River Cottage's Tom Morrell. Next course: Container Gardening with Chris Beardshaw.

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