The Chelsea Flower Show has a slight recession theme this year; with fewer gardens and more wild and natural plantings incorporated into the designs. Of course there will always be the over-the-top displays--garden porn--as it is known because everyone has their voyeuristic side.
But there is also a lot of creativity and ingenuity being shown. The Ace of Spades is a biker's garden. Despite its not-very-TreeHugger-theme, it incorporates all kinds of recycled bike parts, oil drums, old tires and other motorcycle gear in a charming way.
Prominently displayed is a a structure made from old spades collected from gardeners all over the countryside and smelted together at a local forge. Japanese maples were planted in old oil drums and geraniums and aquilegia flowed out of old tires.
We loved these old stone water troughs that were 200-300 years old. They are from the north of England and historically were used on farms for feeding animals. Each has its own character and weighs about 3 1/2 tons.
There were lots of raised planters to be found, filled with vegetables. These were from the Ranelagh School and are made from recycled pallets. They are filled with runner beans, apple trees, and a special new begonia "Big Red". They show how schools with no access to huge gardening spaces can still grow crops and learn about gardening.
From the homegrown to the super-luxury.... Here's an over-the-top enticing outdoor garden, complete with kitchen facilities and a mouth-watering wall of herbs and lettuce and vegetables. Grown into a stacking plastic unit structure, the soil system is irrigated in the back. Stuffed into the little holes, strawberries, onions, medicinal herbs and some fruits can be found. In the right climate and the right setting this could be a fabulous entertaining and eating focal point. RHS Chelsea Flower Show
More on the Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show: Working Harder to be Green 2008
Chelsea Flower Show: Opening Day 2008
Chelsea Flower Show Blooms in Drought 2006
Chelsea Flower Show: Opening Day 2007