I'm seriously thinking of dispensing with fiddly little pots and just having large, dramatic bowls like those in Andy Sturgeon's garden. I loved the irises too (contrasting well with the rusty corten steel and such a good change from the usual purple iris seen at Chelsea), but I'll probably go for something longer lasting and more architectural for our garden. I'm thinking of having a couple of large planters on the plinths either side of the central steps leading down from our patio, once we've got rid of the conifers which are currently swamping them and the flow of our terraced beds either side. The patio gets extremely hot in the summer, so I'll probably choose something spiky and Mexican in feel.
I've always resisted having a water feature because we have a stream not far from our house, but seeing the one in Penelope Hobhouse's garden at Wisley the morning prior to Chelsea, then spotting this similar but smaller and more colourful version in the Dyslexia garden has loosened my resolve. I spent ages chatting to a lady who felt the same whilst we both discussed where to put it in our respective gardens. For mine I'm thinking it'll work well in the centre of the circle on my patio and would be a nice cooling feature on a hot sunny day.
I liked the coloured glass in Worcester university's pergola, an idea which could easily be adapted to the trellis fencing in my garden. I'm also thinking a lot more about scented plants for paving cracks as my nephew removed the moss from them a couple of weeks ago and after seeing plenty of examples at Chelsea, most notably in the bee friendly garden.
This idea's a bit early for me personally, but ideal for NAH's aunt who's in her 80s and is itching to get back into gardening after falling and breaking her hip a few years ago. These poles would be the ideal thing to help her. I'm thinking I'll have to watch how she's using the garden to mark out the best places for them with bamboo canes first and then get a local carpenter to make them for her. We have an excellent recycled wood project in nearby Castle Combe who made a wonderful tree seat for my friends S and L recently. It would be great to have the poles made in a wood she already has in her garden, perhaps decorated with some of the wildlife she sees. Thinking ahead, I also think this is a neat idea for our garden in my later years, especially for negotiating all the steps we have without having to resort to one of those ugly grab rails.
Stonework peering out from planting always looks good. I have some already but this example from Roger Platt's garden has made me think about adding more.
I've already told you about the aquilegia/grass combination from Mark Gregory's garden and the free Pictorial Meadow seeds handed out by Leeds City Council - the ultimate take home Chelsea idea don't you think? Other plants I saw which I'm considering for my garden are Cornus kousa and a mass planting of Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' which we saw everywhere this year (on the right in the above picture). Agreed, they're not very exotic or unusual, but they're still very effective garden plants and I have just the place for both of them.
And who knows, I might just be able to collect enough plastic bottles from my neighbours plus an old cable reel from somewhere to make my own greenhouse and potting bench for the allotment just like they did in Places of Change.
To see much more of the gardens I've featured here, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show website has lots of information. What ideas for your garden have caught your eye this year, at Chelsea or elsewhere?