Chelsea Sneak Peek: The Flood Resilient Garden

The Flood Resilient Garden in rain - image courtesy of FloodRe

Let the Flood Resilient Garden's build commence! My friend Naomi and the rest of the team are on site at Chelsea today, so now all the dreams and plans are set to become reality. I'm getting really excited as I'm working on the build just before the show! Hopefully there will be time to snap a few quick pics when I'm there so you can see what's happening.

In the meantime we'll have to make do with the sketched design - as you can see there's a lot crammed into a small space. FloodRe - the garden's sponsor - have an interactive version on their website which allows you to explore the garden's features thoroughly - both in terms of the various habitats and planting - which are also chosen carefully to help with flood resilience, as well as the more engineering aspects to the design. As a result I'm currently pondering whether we can have some extra wide guttering installed on our house as we have real problems with overflows on an increasingly regular basis.

Naomi tells me the garden attracted a lot of attention at the RHS Spring Conference recently. I'm not surprised seeing England has had one of the wettest 18 months on record. They've certainly captured the zeitgeist! I hope the garden's design and ensuing conversations will help to galvanise real changes in planning law and garden design. Post Chelsea the garden itself is set to move to Howbery Park in Oxfordshire, home to HR Wallingford. I think this is a perfect fit seeing water sustainability and resilience is part of their remit.

Rodgersia 'Bronze Peacock' and other plants bought at West Kington at the weekend

You may remember FloodRe commissioned me to write their Plant of the Week pieces in the run up to Chelsea. These have been a joy to write, and I've loved the challenge of not only selecting and agreeing a shortlist of plants from Naomi's huge list, but to also include a wide variety of different plant types and heights (bulbs, trees, perennials etc.), which cover different aspects of the design (swale, pond, mound etc.), and features something from all of the plant suppliers. I've also kept an eye on seasonality over the months as the plants will provide interest for all seasons, not just the duration of the show. 

I've learned a lot in the process, not only on the plants featured, but also the role they play in flood resilience and how the garden's features can work together to provide a beautiful, yet practical space for millions of UK homeowners threatened by flooding.

Naturally FloodRe's Instagram account for the show garden doesn't just cover the plants: it rightly has plenty of insight into all aspects of the garden. Here's a list of all the plants featured, so you can find them more easily. Note the snowdrop, dogwood and birch ones were written by Naomi; mine are primrose onwards. You can see from the above photo I've been inspired already as I bought a couple of Rodgersia 'Bronze Peacock' at the weekend for the wetter part of VP Gardens 😊

Some of these are in the pipeline, and will be added on publication. The rose one takes us post-Chelsea Flower Show. Whilst most - if not all of these - are familiar names, you'll find some of them are not the usual suspects seen at Chelsea or in your gardens!

PS This is how the site's looking on Day One 👌


  1. Hello there, just discovered your lovely blog by looking up a flower and was very happy to have found you. I will look forward to coming back. I lived in the UK up to the time I reached 25, met my husband and moved to Virginia in 1975. Discovered blogging in 2008. Opened up the world to me and absolutely love it even all these years later. So nice to meet you!


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

Your essential reads

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

That blue flower: A spring spotter's guide

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Testing Times: Tomatoes

Salad Days: Salads for Damp Places

Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

The Resilient Garden

VPs VIPs: Derry Watkins of Special Plants

#mygardenrightnow: heading into summer with the Chelsea Fringe

Things in unusual places #26: Rubber Ducks