Something new for 2021. Chelsea's Houseplant Studios are a response to the extraordinary growth popularity of houseplants as lockdown has turned us all onto the power and calming influence of plants.
Even if you've zero garden space, houseplants allow you to surround yourself with nature and feel its benefits.
This year there are 27 Chelsea gardens, divided into six categories.
The Houseplant Studios on the other hand are something else entirely, taking the form of small outbuildings laid along a wide, winding pathway, inviting in show goers to explore and perhaps take a closer look inside. Here's what you could find.
Forest in Your Home
Exhibitor Fran Bailey www.freshflower.co.uk
The studio has been inspired by the houseplant book written by designer Fran Bailey’s daughters Alice and Maddie - The Green Indoors. The book shows us that by trying to mimic the environmental conditions of the plants’ natural habitat, we can grow happy and healthy plants at home.
Inside the studio are plants as they would grow naturally in the rainforest, such as bromeliads, epiphytes, tillandsia and orchids sitting high and trailing down from the canopy. Forest floor dwellers such as ferns and calatheas are planted low to the ground and climbers such as philodendrons and monstera clamber up tree trunks, bluring the boundaries between indoors and outside.
Green Bathroom Retreat
Exhibitor Conservatory Archives www.conservatoryarchives.co.uk
Is it a greenhouse? Is it an office? Or is… is that… a bathoom? Conservatory Archives' studio shows how you can create a natural paradise in the smallest of forgotten corners inside your home. Yes, even the bathroom.
Inside there's a huge variety of plants suitable for all kinds of bathrooms such as low light, high humidity and warm sunny spaces. Plants include large hanging epiphytes, big structural tropical plants and architectural cacti.
The Green Room Exhibitor
Exhibitor Malvern Garden Buildings www.malverngardenbuildings.co.uk
The Green Room is a VIP immersive, yet botanically sound houseplant filled retreat in which the ‘Planterati’ can escape the hustle and bustle of the show outside, ‘suspended’ in a giant Macramé hanger.
There's a gently swinging suspended seat surrounded by the trailing root systems of orchids, air plants and Macramé plant hangers with a carpet of mosses underfoot. You will also find a practical potting bench over which hangs a grow light which can be used to boost light levels for prize specimens during the darker months.
Meanwhile tree-dwelling species such as Rhipsalis, Medinilla and Tillandsia feature alongside a cluster of planters, baskets and pots showcasing cacti and succulent species which can spend the summer months on the other side of the glass on the terrace.
Pharmacy of House Plants
Exhibitor The Edible Bus Stop and Patch Plants www.theediblebusstop.org
The Pharmacy of House Plants invites visitors to step inside, take in the beauty of the planting and let the biophilic magic of being surrounded by interior plants impart healing on many subconscious levels. This contemporary interpretation of a traditional pharmacy features plants set out as healing products instead of tonics and creams. These plants are not to be ingested, but dispense biophilia; visually and subconsciously, providing air-purifying benefits, imparting mental health support and improving mood while highlighting how green spaces, both interior and exterior, are vital to our wellbeing.
Interior features include bespoke display cabinets showcasing extraordinary and variegated plants, many chosen for their unusual leaf texture and pattern. Key plants will include Monstera deliciosa 'Variegata', Goeppertia 'Whitestar', Echeveria ‘Thriller Pearl’, Ctenanthe hydroponic cutting and Alocasia ‘Dragon scale’.
Celebrate Autumn with Plants
Exhibitor N1 Garden Centre www.n1gardencentre.co.uk
With Chelsea taking place in September for the first time ever, this studio aims to capture the majestic magic of Autumn in all its colourful glory, utilising the best of what the season offers. The outside is brought in to recreate Autumn’s colours with a palette of yellow, brown and on-trend orange.
Comfort and warmth are evoked through natural, sustainable materials mixed with lush, soft foliage, colourful fruits and vibrant, variegated plants. Key plants include Strelitzia reginae, Aglaonema ‘Orange Star’ and ‘Red Star’, one of the few indoor plants that are the colour of fallen leaves.
Elsewhere there's Pilea peperomioides ‘Sugar’, ‘White Spot’ and ‘Mojito’, Nertera granadensis – the bead plant with fresh-looking orange, yellow and white berries, plus varieties of philodendron including ‘Painted Lady’ and ‘Orange King’ which offer the perfect autumnal colour palette.
Exhibitor: RHS Wisley www.rhs.org.uk
Welcome to the ultimate garden office – an area of calm and peace, a place to escape and focus and be removed from day to day life in the home. Dressed with several varieties of houseplants, the interior is painted in tones of pink alongside soft furnishings, glassware and terrariums in complimentary colours.
Hanging plants on the walls and Kokedama strung from the ceiling enable visitors to feel enveloped in abundant verdancy with the outdoor space dressed with a bistro set, lanterns and soft furnishings alongside containers of Dicksonias, ferns, grasses and accents of autumn planting, suggesting the studio is hidden in the shady depths of the garden.
As home offices have become more popular the aim of this studio is to promote easy to look after and inexpensive houseplants that are perfect for these new spaces. These include Monstera deliciosa (cheese plant), indoor ferns of all descriptions, Spathiphyllum (peace lily) bromeliads and philodendrons.
Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.
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