Simply the Best – RHS Chelsea 2013

chelsea sI went to RHS Chelsea on the one day that there was a torrential downpour.  The displays were still beautiful though and I can only imagine how much better they’d have looked in the sun.

The one garden that I loved, loved, loved was the Brewin Dolphin Garden.  The Chelsea judges thought so too because it was awarded Gold for best show garden.  I personally like to think of myself as a contrarian (the rebel without a cause and all that) but I had to go with the judges on this one.  It had all the right elements that I like to see in a garden (ease of maintenance, structure, privacy, water, abundant planting, shady spots and seating areas).

Here is the garden on a sunny day:

photo:  Brewin Dolphin

photo: Brewin Dolphin

I aspire to this sort of pleached hedging in my own garden but I am still a long way off!!   The Telegraph has a great article on pleached trees which describes it as a “modern style statement.”  Really?!  I just wanted some high-level screening without resorting to Leylandii or bamboo, both of which can overwhelm a small garden.

The Brewin garden was designed by Robert Myers, a landscape architect and garden designer.  Amidst the chaos that is RHS Chelsea, the Brewin garden was a calm oasis of tranquility blending the modern and the traditional into a perfect contemporary, urban setting.   The field maple pleached trees, tall planting, timber walls and timber canopy added privacy without feeling closed-in.  The raspberry pink-coloured wall at the back drew your eye down the length of the garden to the gentle waterfall.

photo:  Brewin Dolphin

photo: Brewin Dolphin

The planting had structure but displayed softness and movement.  Many of the plants are easily accessible native varieties, such as the cow parsley and the geraniums and my all-time favourite ornamental grass, Carex Flacca (Blue Sedge).  That English classic, the rose, in this case the Rosa Rugosa Alba, was planted amongst the shrubs.


The colours are muted blues, pinks and purples (except for that wall!)


The two seating areas are convenient for following the sun around the garden.


You have to admit, the garden looks fabulous even in the rain. I particularly like the striations in the walkway which are more defined in the rain.


The water features runs down the pink wall and through the garden to the pond adding to the sense of continuity.


For more information on this garden, check out the Brewin Dolphin website and Pinterest board or the RHS Chelsea website.  The RHS website helpfully has a PDF list of all the plants used in the garden as well as a PDF plan to recreate the look for a smaller garden.


The Brewin Dolphin garden could easily be my dream garden (if I ever had a garden big enough that I can hide the kids and the trampoline somewhere else).  What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Simply the Best – RHS Chelsea 2013

    1. nylonliving Post author

      It was amazing. I’ve never gotten tickets before (just not that organised) and I only went this year because someone else ordered the tickets for us. But now, I’ve gone I am more motivated to buy those tickets in January when they go on sale.

  1. Mammasaurus

    Ooo lovely – I really like the tall hedge in that first photo. The pink walls work so well don’t they? I have been drooling over a sunny yellow wall in a garden on another blog this week – I think I may need to take the advice and get a bit more creative and colourful in my own garden!
    Thanks for sharing x

    1. nylonliving Post author

      It is very inspirational! And the Chelsea website is really helpful with tips on how you recreate on a smaller scale or parts of a garden back in your own garden.


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