This year there are 27 Chelsea gardens, divided into six categories.
Now it's time to look at one of the three new categories introduced this year – the five RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 Balcony Gardens.
The Balcony Gardens are all-new for Chelsea, recognising the uptake of gardening during the pandemic as new gardeners sought to turn even the smallest of spaces into their own oasis of calm. No matter how small the balcony, or yard, or windowsill, it's possible to get creative and make something beautiful happen.
At Chelsea this year five new-to-Chelsea designers each created a pocket-size, realistic garden 2m x 5m. The planting was designed to thrive in the confines of this space, improving wildlife corridors while being great for humans too!
Balcony of Blooms
Bringing a splash of colour and chic looks to a city balcony, this garden features a continuous green edge planted with herbs for culinary use as well as blooms which are beneficial to pollinators. The garden aims to champion that small spaces can be productive, practical and enchanting.
It even features two trees which provide a sense of enclosure and alpine pot sits on the table to bring you even closer to nature. The benches can double up as surfaces for pots and also act as concealed storage space..
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The planting palette includes a variety of long-flowering summer perennials interspersed with evergreens and herbs. Plants such as rosemary and fennel can be picked straight from the planters to add as garnish for balcony cocktails.
The colour scheme comprises a combination of whites and fresh greens with hints of yellow and pink throughout which pop against the rendered backdrop.
The garden is a quiet place tucked away up high in the sky for contemplation and relaxation from the busy world around us. Using recycled plastic cladding, the garden uses environmentally sensitive hard landscaping.
There's a modern industrial look to the framework and the marble-style recycled cladding give a perfect backdrop to the layer of planting on the back wall, expanding the narrow width dimension.
The frame not only defines the space, but provides the perfect place to relax and take in the view from a suspended wicker egg chair.
The planting is geared towards shadier plants to give a colour scheme of soft pastels and greens with key plants including acers, Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror,’ Dryopteris erythrosora, Cyclamen, and Liriope muscari.
Designer Martha Krempel www.marthakrempelgardendesign.com
Sponsors Europlants, Vande Moortel, Torc Pots, Landscape Plus, Ashwells Timber, Knoll Gardens
Contractor The Landscaping Consultants www.thelandscapingconsultants.co.uk
Now this is something different. Taking the brief and running with it, Martha Krempel's design is a dreamy hideaway a million (or at least a few hundred) miles away from an inner city balcony.
This is pure pure escape. Sway on the daybed. Look out at the lush planting at low level. Or lie back and see the subtropical leaves of the yucca above and enjoy the sense of the infinite with the painted Arcadian backdrop.
The garden could be anywhere, it looks like a Constable painting, an idealised English Landscape and yet the
The door – fabulously ornate and of eastern origin – acts as a portal between this world and the next with the whole piece held together with the daybed, the door and the views forming a triangle.
The colour scheme is rich, lush green, arid interesting trunks and vibrant crimson and pale green-yellow. There's plenty of drought tolerant planting with key plants including dahlias for their popping colour, a pomegranate tree and yucca to build on the sense of tropical escape.
Green Sky Pocket Garden
This densely planted pocket garden features a bench for seating and storage from which to view the lush greenery dominating the paving at ground level and winding and softening the limits of the space.
There are plants all around. On the floor. On the walls and fencing. It really puts the viewer in amongst nature and is designed to be viewed both from inside the building and within the garden in order to improve mental health and wellbeing and truly stretches the realms of what is possible within a tiny footprint.
The two main feature plants are two Arbutus unedo trees in the feature pots contributing hugely to the calming green textures, with occasional whites, purples and pink flowers dotted within. And it tastes as good as it looks with edibles such as herbs and chillies awaiting the occupant's exploration.
The Landform Balcony Garden
The Landform Balcony Garden – created by Landform Consultants – was inspired by early modernist architecture, explored during the designer’s own architectural education and career.
The planters encompass craftsmanship and detailing that showcases materiality at its best, with plenty of bold structural containers providing ample planting space. The palette is bright and sunny, using colours that research has shown are attractive to honey, bumble, and solitary bee species. Equally, the floral choices would work very well for a cut flower enthusiast with yellow pops of colour throughout the mono backdrop.
The plants chosen are primarily for pollinators, specifically honey, bumble and solitary bees with the colour scheme predominantly yellow and purple. Cut flower species also feature, such as helianthus and dahlia, and some paler, cream helianthus will be included along with the occasional highlight of dark burgundy which draws the eye.
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.