My 10 favourite gardens at Chelsea Flower Show 2011

strawberry mountain
Strawberry mountain

I loved Chelsea Flower Show last year so was keen to go along when the Bermuda Department of Tourism invited me. Last year, most of my favourite gardens were big show gardens outdoors, but this year I made more time for the exhibitors inside the floral marquee, and found lots of interesting smaller gardens. Here’s the 10 I liked best overall this year (in no particular order):

1. The tunnel of clematis of all different shades of purple and white, created by Raymond Evison and his Guernsey Clematis team

2. A huge mountain covered in nothing but strawberries that gave off the most delicious smell – but had a strict no-picking policy

3. An intricate display of flowers tucked into every crevice of an old, gnarled tree, making it look a bit like a maypole

Tree covered in flowers
Tree decked in flowers

4. The Bermuda garden, which was styled around a giant stone shaped like a polo – the ‘moonstone’ which Bermudians have in their gardens to bring good luck, and often used in wedding ceremonies

5. The Tourism Malaysia garden, again created by TV-gardener James Wong, but this year inspired by the pool-gardens of urban houses in Malaysia. Malaysia deservedly took home a gold award again this year

6. The incredible jockey’s jackets crafted out of flowers by entrants in the RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year competition

7. The Principality of Monaco’s chic, architecture-led garden with swimming pool and decking. As I left the show at 8pm I was mesmerised by the robot pool cleaner

Jockeys' jackets
Jockey's jackets

8. Sri Lanka’s beautiful orchid garden. Sri Lanka also pulled off a rather impressive list of celebrity drop-ins: Bill Bailey, JLS, Rick Stein, Jane Asher and Helen Mirren

9. The exciting B&Q garden with real goldfish and a striking vertical garden, promoting  techniques for maximising urban space to grow fresh produce

10. The controversial Failte Island ‘sky garden’ (the one that was lifted into the air by a crane every so often). I didn’t get chance to see it aloft but I loved the dense grasses and foliage of the garden, and let’s face it, it would be super-cool to dine in a ‘hanging Eden’.

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