The Show Garden I Keep Returning To...

... is Nigel Dunnett's RBC 'New Wild Garden'. Don't get me wrong, I love Cleve West's garden to bits and he deservedly won Best in Show. But oh how I wish I'd designed the walls of my own garden to take planting pockets and installed insect shelters just like these. Also, the bright orange Geum 'Prinses Juliana' (for me one of the plants of the show) and rich purples were in direct contrast to some of the more restrained planting palettes seen across on the other side of Main Avenue and made a most refreshing change.

Two years ago, Nigel Dunnett's garden was my favourite: it was more of a demonstration of ideas back then. In this year's show garden they've been refined into a much more cohesive whole. It's also interesting to see how his insect towers of two years ago have been taken up and extended in the B&Q garden at the opposite end of Main Avenue, whilst Nigel is showing something much more sophisticated.

This garden will be moved to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's reserve at Slimbridge after the show and will be the second rain garden Nigel has developed for the Trust.

Some of you may remember I'm a great fan of Nigel's ideas, especially after attending his workshop on rain gardens at West Dean back in February. Millions of us will also be viewing the results of his research at Sheffield University at The Olympics next year :)


  1. I keep looking at those walls too - I'm building some more in my garden (ongoing project) and I'm now wondering if I have a book or two I can squeeze in! I've fallen in love with that Geum too.

  2. Love those walls. I went to the show last year and it was heaving with so many people I could hardly see much of the gardens.
    Was it like that this year?

  3. Its moving to Slimbridge?! Fantastic! I'll get to see it after all! From the TV coverage it was way up there on my list of show gardens I would most like to be able to have a good nose around, it seems packed with interesting ideas.

  4. I was at Chelsea yesterday.Those walls were so attractive and the insect habitats blended so well that it took a minute to realise what they were - wish they were mine.
    I am hoping flying gardens with horrible giant cranes attached don't catch on.

  5. good grief! Gives new meaning to garden cranes ;~)

    An abstract mural, with a wildlife purpose. You can enjoy it with your heart, and your mind.

  6. This too was one of my favourite garden's too, full of beautiful detail, and one I wanted to own!

  7. I love this one too. There are others grander and sexier but this one charms me totally.

  8. Preseli Mags - welcome! The geum's on my wish list and how I envy you still building your walls!

    Chris - *whispers* no - I was there on press day!

    Janet - loads of ideas and I'll be seeing it at Slimbridge too :)

    EG - nearly all of us have flying gardens if you count hanging baskets ;)

    EE - yes, I enjoyed this garden totally and it's given me plenty to think about

    Emma - glad to see it still bore up through the crowds :)

    EM - good point :)


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