Chelsea 2015 – The Trends

Chelsea Garden Show is like Fashion Week for plants. The visitors are not only looking to be wowed by the skill and daring of the show gardens but they’re paying close attention to what’s in and what’s out this year. So here’s my take on this seasons trends for both planting and styling. Is orange the new black? Let’s find out.


Above: Yes! orange is the new black. It’s not just any old orange though, it’s a burnt orange, maybe mustard or rust. And most of it seems to be connected to Irises. This one is Iris Cigarello.

Trends_orange at Pure Land Foundation

Above: There was a definite burnt-orange theme here at The Pure Land Foundation garden (gold medal winner).

Trends_Verbascum Clementine

Above: Verbascums are everywhere in the show gardens. The colour though is important. They are quite muted. Think Edwardian ladies, dusky pinks, pale orange with just a peek of pink. This one is Verbascum ‘Clementine’.

Trends Verbascum - Merlin

Above: Verbascum ‘Merlin’ making an appearance in Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden (gold medal winner).

Trends_Lysimachia -Beaujolais jpg

Lysimachia ‘Beaujolais’ figures in many of the show gardens this year.

Trends Foxgloves

Foxgloves are still the stalwart of Chelsea.

Trends lupins

As are (inexplicably) Lupins.

Trends Japanese moss balls

Japanese moss balls! They are popping up everywhere but were especially prevalent here at The Edo no Niwa – Edo Garden by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design Laboratory (gold medal winner). I love the way that their rounded edges echo the pebble steps.

There were some plants that are conspicuous by their absence too. Two years ago you couldn’t look at a Chelsea garden without seeing Aquilegia and Astrantia. This year there is less Aquilegia and almost no Astrantia.

Well, those are the plant trends but what about hard landscaping? Yes, there were some definite trends there too.

Trends wood

Dead wood and stumps used as sculpture are one of the big trends for styling this year at Chelsea. Above: The Sculptor Picnic Garden by Graham Bodle took away a gold medal in the Artisan gardens sections.

Trends wood2

Above: The charred remains of a tree creates an almost bomb-like black hole in this garden representing the brutality of the Battle of Waterloo 200 years ago. The Living Legacy Garden (silver-gilt winner) by desginers Andrew Wilson & Gavin McWilliam.

Trends dry stone wall

Dry stone walls, both above water and below.

Trends metal 1

Metal sculptures of people. Sometimes elegant.

Trends metal 2

Sometimes hidden.

Trends metal 3

Sometimes abstract.

Trends metal4

Sometimes weird.

Predictions? Well, maybe since Dan Pearson did so well this year we’ll see a rise in the popularity of rock gardens. Stranger things have happened.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. What do you think of the trends? Will you use them in your garden? I’m tempted to rush out and buy those pink Verbascums, I have to admit.

14 Comments on “Chelsea 2015 – The Trends

  1. I love the lupines. They are a gorgeous statement. How does this show work exactly? How far ahead of it are the plantings done? Is a new location in Chelsea chosen every year?

  2. I ‘m relieved Dan got his Gold , didn’t want to see him in tears again ! I do love his garden ,such intricate planting .

  3. I think rills are much in evidence at Chelsea this year. I’ve loved them ever since my youngest son spent endless happy hours playing in one at his old nursery school, Chelsea Open Air. I never forgot the effect that garden had on all the children there, whoever designed it had a wonderful eye for stimulating the imagination of small children. Other mum’s might remember the life-size wooden crocodile they had there – it’s mouth was huge and permanently wide open with big wooden teeth. It was really dark inside, probably full of huge spiders. My son found it totally irresistible and thrilling, he especially loved putting his little chubby hand right inside up to his armpit. He got nipped by ‘something’ living in there a couple of times but it never seemed to to put him off! That was more than twenty years ago – I’m sure health and safety has done away with such things by now. Such a shame because rills are delightfully safe as well as beautiful additions to any child-friendly garden.

  4. Just came across your lovely blog in the usual roundabout way whilst looking at others that I follow, I hope that you don’t mind if I tag along for a tad?

  5. Hi Jess, Chelsea Flower Show is very old. The first one held at the hospital grounds in Chelsea was in 1912 but the show is actually even older than that having been held somewhere else before that.

    The designers spend all year designing and planning their gardens. Then they are given 19 days to actually build the garden and 5 days to take it down.

    The show attracts around 165,000 visitors. There are over 500 exhibitors from all around the world. There are typically around 15 show gardens, 8 artisan gardens and 9 fresh gardens.

    Here’s a fun fact – last year over 6,400 glasses of Pimms were consumed at the show. It seems all gardens look better after a glass of Pimms :)

  6. Small rounded yew hedging very much in evidence too, in fact three gardens back to back if memory serves!
    All lovely though

  7. Found your blog while searching for a ‘recipe’ for the moss balls from Me Ishihara’s garden. Any ideas?? Ps love your photos x