It’s great to see themes of re-wilding in the spotlight at this year’s RHS Chelsea show, a year after I launched my Rewilding garden at RHS Tatton.
The concepts of re-wilding have really captured people’s imaginations in the past few years. Traditionally the RHS flower shows were all very formal and very high maintenance, so I do enjoy seeing elements of wildness and ecology being brought in to demonstrate how we can all enjoy our gardens, while still sharing them with wildlife.
Of course, the true essence of the concept of rewilding is diluted slightly in such a managed format such as a show garden – but ultimately if it influences your average gardener, then this can only be a positive.
I enjoyed reading about the RHS Chelsea Rewilding Britain garden, designed by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt, which won a gold medal. The garden evokes an eco-system engineered by beavers, with a brook flowing beneath native species hawthorn, hazel and field maple. The pool has been dammed by the imaginary beavers underneath a large crack willow. I really enjoyed the timber walkway, the native wildflowers and the marginal plants along the water.
You can see the full details here as well as on the BBC iPlayer coverage:
Spotted: huge Californian lilac
I snapped this plant while I was on my way to a client meeting, having spotted the masses of tiny purple blooms overflowing over this wall. The Californian lilac is a hugely versatile plant, with some varieties growing as large as trees, and bringing all of the neighbourhood bees to your garden.
Ceanothus (its official title) are originally from Northern America (California, surprisingly!) so will do well in a sunny but sheltered spot. They grow swiftly, so if you’re looking for an absolutely stunner to fill an empty space, you could do worse than choosing a Ceanothus. There are multiple varieties to choose from if you go to a good garden centre.
They are pretty hardy plants, and are also drought-tolerant, so ideal for a low maintenance garden. The best tip I can offer is never to prune it back too much as the plants finds it hard to recover and you may lose it.
What am I reading?
I have an ever-growing collection of books about flowers, plants and horticulture, and am often gifted books from people I know and clients. This wildflower guide is a recent addition to my collection which is a great and handy book to use for inspiration. There’s a mix of photography and illustration plus a lot of detail about each plant which really helps me with planning and design.