UK newspaper has top garden at Chelsea show

Tue May 25, 2010 1:40pm EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A display inspired by travel and sponsored by a British newspaper took the top prize for best show garden at Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday.

The Daily Telegraph garden designed by Andy Sturgeon and built by Ltd brings together flavors of the Southern Cape, the maquis shrubland of the Mediterranean, the chaparral of California and Mexico and the matorral of central Chile.

Steel screens slice through the design and open clearings of sparse gravel provide places to pause on a journey that culminates in a courtyard at the rear, which is shaded by a cork oak and lulled by the sound of running water.

"I had the germ of the idea while I was on holiday with the children in Italy last summer, every day looking out at a dry landscape of evergreen oaks and lavender," Sturgeon told the Telegraph.

"I didn't want to do an exact copy or even a strictly Mediterranean landscape. I was just excited by the idea of capturing the atmosphere and the romance. Chelsea gives you a chance to experiment, and here I am definitely outside my comfort zone with the planting."

The Best Urban Garden award went to horticultural therapy charity Thrive for a small display created by award-winning designer Jo Thompson, which demonstrates how the charity helps people with disabilities change their lives through gardening.

The garden shows that age and disability are no barrier to gardening, and incorporates raised planter beds for ease of access, an outdoor fireplace, fountain and a seating area, whilst the trees offer support and shade.

Featured plants include Iris "Jamie Roo' making its show debut, as well as a delightful and rare Geranium 'Southease Celestial' alongside caramel-colored roses and rich blue and purple irises.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Queen Elizabeth walks through a garden during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London May 24, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Dunham/Pool</p>