Raindrops add an extra dimension, especially if you're using your client's signature black water like John Warland did for World Vision's Fresh garden. Dark shadows add intrigue too - for once I wasn't annoyed by someone getting into the shot either. The zingy lime greens and yellows, plus the attractive 'windows' into the world below provided contrast. I revisited this garden a number of times.
It illustrates World Vision's vital work in Cambodia. I'm pleased to see they also have a key project in Nepal at the moment - something close to my heart now I have a Nepalese allotment neighbour. You might also like to note they're having a Floral Friday on July 10th to highlight children living in fear - something for us to join in with online perhaps?
Gardens look good in sunshine, but it takes skill to make them sing in the rain. Chris Beardshaw chose a predominantly sultry palette for his Healthy Cities Garden, so it's the hardscaping which lifts this view on a rainy day. I particularly liked how the rain added some shadowy details to the paving, even it it did result in my most embarrassing conversation of the day:
Me: Has Chris's garden been judged yet?
Jane Southcott (Chris's PR person): No, it's not until 11.30
Me: Is Chris going to remove that piece of string on the paving? (that wiggly line you can see just in front of the first set of fountains)
Jane: That's a map of the Thames...
...Thank goodness I didn't have that conversation with the man himself.
Elsewhere it was notable how the use of wood in both Matthew Wilson's and Adam Frost's designs added warmth and a glow on a rainy day, something Victoria also spotted in her fine review of the show.
If the hardscaping doesn't do it, then a careful choice of plants is needed for a rainy day. Here the white, yellow and silver make the planting sing on The Telegraph's garden. For me, the Eremurus was the star plant of the show as it was used to good effect on several gardens, even if Matthew Wilson had to apply some emergency bamboo staking to his.
Elsewhere, orange was another striking plant colour of the day, particularly on the Sentebale garden as noted by Alison and a number of other bloggers at the show. Perhaps we should make better use of this oft-derided colour in our own gardens.
We sit in our gardens in sunshine, yet often view them in the rain. My trip to this year's Chelsea Flower Show gave me lots of design pointers and food for thought as I re-work through the design of my own garden.
Finally, it's always good to bump into blogging buddies, who make it much easier to shrug off the weather. Here's Naomi in action, one of the many friends I teamed up with for a while on the day. It was interesting to see what her eyes spotted in the Fresh gardens we visited and it was fun to play the role of her 'assistant' so we both got the benefit of that red umbrella.