Saturday, 28 May 2011

Chelsea - Cleve West's Libya Garden

Inspired by Libyan ruins.  The handmade hatched texture of the concrete columns and the plant palette call up 50s textiles
Who wouldn't want to walk to the bench at the end?  The uneven floor and the steps would ensure you slowed down and thought about where you're going.  A garden's key role is to make you think about where you are going. The whole, aided by a dusty looking mortar and silver-leaved plants, evokes mediterranean heat and having to slow down.
The herbaceous planting focuses on flower head shape: the 'plates' of Achillea taygetea (mustard yellow that fades - very nice and seen a lot this year), globes of allium, domed umbels of Anthriscus and parsnip, spikes of Camassia and Stachys, screens of fennel foliage.  Brightest red buttons of Dianthus cruentas sing out (a new plant for Chelsea; Alan Titchmarsh confused it with D. carthusianorum, which is pink, and which  has been in fashion of late with Nigel Dunnett's take on prairie planting).  You can't have a show garden without a multi-stemmed tree; in this case Sophora japonica, which would have great autumn colour and big sculptural seed pods. 

Some of my pictures were used in Landscape magazine’s July edition, pp38 - 39
there are 5 all together
Sphora japonica, Acanthus mollis 'Rue Ledan'
herbaceous planting


  1. Love your blog on chelsea and you have better photos than I have seen anywhere. I am looking for a list of plants he has used - have you come across one anywhere?

  2. Thanks, Kernowsue! Crocus supplied his plants,

  3. Hi Fi- I am sorry to post this as a comment, but I can't find any other way of contacting you on your website. i have come across your lovely images and was wondering if I might use some of your Chelsea photos to accompany an article I am writing for the publication 'Landscape' which is for the trade in the Middle East (published in UAE). If you would be willing, or would like to speak further, please contact me separately. best - Rochelle (