Summer Florals: Flower Show Trends
To paraphrase The Devil Wears Prada’s glacial editor, Miranda: florals? For spring/summer? Groundbreaking.
She may not have been the biggest fan of florals, but in these parts the flower show is a much-loved tradition. It’s as English as taking afternoon tea, carrying an umbrella ‘just in case’, and a well-behaved queue: all of which you are likely to encounter should you venture into the show season.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Officially, “the season” (which is still a thing in certain circles) has already kicked off with the grande dame of them all, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Top tip: not managed to get your hands on a ticket? Head to Chelsea anyway, where all the local shops and eateries are festooned for Chelsea in Bloom – this year’s theme is ‘Summer of Love’, inspired by the royal nuptials.
However, come June the RHS decamps to Chatsworth (6-10 June), in the grounds of the gloriously gilded mansion. This year promising an epic orchid display in the Great Conservatory.
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show
From here, the RHS wagon trundles up to Yorkshire for the RHS Harlow Carr show (22-24 June), a more bijou affair, but the more relaxed for it. The same cannot be said for high summer’s RHS Hampton Court (3-9 July), where the scale is set to ‘spectacular’.
For those looking to recreate the flower show bloom at home, garden designer Joanna Archer, has cast her green fingers (and eye) over Chelsea and picked her top trends for us...
Year of the Lupin
"No longer confined to the cottage garden, this year Lupins are taking centre stage at the Chelsea Flower Show. The golden yellow spires of Lupinus ‘Chandelier’ are used to spectacular effect on the LG Eco-City Garden designed by Hay-Joung Hwang. They attract plenty of bees and flower prolifically in early summer. Try a sultry purple alternative such as Lupinus ‘Masterpiece’ or a bright pink Lupinus ‘The Chatelaine’."
LG Eco-City Garden by Hay-Joung Hwang
"Look out for ways to pretty up those shady places in your garden. The fluttering leaves of Acer palmatum have been planted on many show gardens this year. This variety, ‘Osakazuki’ is an elegant vase-shaped tree with multiple stems that can really add some glamour to these gloomy areas in your garden. In autumn watch the leaves turn fiery red."
Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’
Pretty Brick Paving
"This is a huge trend in paving at the moment. Slim bricks laid on edge to create pretty paths and patios. Clay fired pavers come in so many earthy shades so you can find the right one to blend in with your surroundings. See the Feel Good Garden by Matt Keightley showcasing some beautiful Vande Moortel bricks as a perfect example."
Feel Good Garden by Matt Keightle
RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2018
"The winner of this prestigious accolade is the sensationally pretty Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride Snow White’. Brilliantly apt for the Royal Wedding, this stunning trailing Hydrangea has masses of white and blush pink lace cap flowers. Unusually for a Hydrangea it has a slightly weeping habit so could be used to gracefully arch over the side of a raised border or even a hanging basket. I’m looking to bring back hanging baskets (not the garish outside the pub variety), but something more stylish and this plant will be top of my list."
‘Runaway Bride Snow White’ Hydrangea
"Lastly, I love this daring piece, the ‘Aeon’ by David Harber featured in the Savills Garden created by Nic Howard. There are some hugely effective sculptural elements at the show gardens this year. Each so original and uplifting and seamlessly fitting into their floral surroundings. "
‘Aeon’ by David Harber
For those less inclined to go green, you can still do florals even if you don’t have a garden...