The trials of a Chelsea show garden continue....

The trials of a Chelsea show garden continue....

Rosy Hardy discusses the trials of finding the perfect materials for her Show garden.

Flints as a wall building material have been used for centuries as they make good filling material adding strength to the wall when held in place by brick or stone. Flints used to be traded in the same way as gold and were worth far more, both brick and flint create a timeless feature.

How do we use the idea of brick and flint walls in a modern way to go with the conceptual idea of the Brewin Dolphin Garden at Chelsea?  Gabions are used for effect and as structural walls.  Sourcing the correct flint and gravel has caused me to have more than one or two sleepless nights. Not many people can say that flints are giving them nightmares.....

We are using wire casements to provide rigidity and form, with the fill of brick and flint making the structure stable. The beauty of the different surfaces of the flint is visible through the wire, without the need for mortar.

The dried riverbed floor is a mixture of different sizes of flint gravel. Through this will be colourful plants which thrive in these stony conditions:

  • Erigeron Quakeress a wonderful summer flowering perennial can grow to 45cm when in flower.
  • Centaurea simplicicaulis makes tight mounds of grey foliage with these lovely pink cornflowers.
  • Nigella or 'Love in the Mist' will self seed giving a carpet of blue. Then its seed-heads look good for the rest of the season.
  • Achillea 'Gloria Jean' a good strong pink form that thrives in gravel areas.

All of these plants and their close relatives make excellent gravel bed plantings.