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M&G Show Garden at Chelsea 2021
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This year's Show Gardens – pics, details and winners

Published: September 22, 2021 at 3:14 pm

It's the main event. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is famous for its big name show gardens. Galleries of all six 2021 show gardens – including medal winners and Best Show Garden revealed below.

This year there are are total of 27 Chelsea gardens, divided into six categories:

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• Two Artisan Gardens
• Six Sanctuary Gardens
• Five Balcony Gardens
• Five Container Gardens
• Three Feature Gardens
• (Plus the Houseplant Studios)

But let's kick off with the big one – the six RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 Show Gardens.

Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden

Designers Peter Chmiel with Chin-Jung Chen www.grant-associates.uk.com
Sponsors Guangzhou Government
Contractor The Outdoor Room www.theoutdoorroom.co.uk
Gold Medal Winner and Best Show Garden

Guangzhou Show Garden at Chelsea 2021
Guangzhou Show Garden at Chelsea 2021

Designed to promote the desire for city, mountain and water to work harmoniously together, the Guangzhou Garden is the city of Guangzhou in China in romanticised miniature. There’s the city itself represented by three stunning pressed, laminated and steam-bent moso bamboo structures. There’s the Northern Urban Forest ­ – the city’s lung – The Central Business District – its social heart – and the Southern Urban Wetlands – the city’s green kidney – cleaning the water which flows through a pool.

Characterful trees and shrubs include dawn redwood, Scots pine, field maple and birch while sedges, euphorbia and ferns provide a carpet of green – giving the garden a vast rolling landscape look – punctuated with accent plants and perennials in soft, white, blue and yellow.

It all adds up to an impressive and powerful, yet perfect and serene environment. No wonder the judges at this year’s show picked this out as their Best Show Garden.

The M&G Garden

Designers Hugo Bugg & Charlotte Harris www.harrisburg.com
Sponsors M&G www.mandgplc.com
Contractor Crocus www.crocus.co.uk
Gold Medal Winner

M&G Show Garden at Chelsea 2021
M&G Show Garden at Chelsea 2021

Designed to represent an urban pocket park, the M&G garden is imagined as a once industrial site that is transforming into a park where people and wildlife can come together to enjoy the benefits of an urban green space. It's a new pocket of tranquillity that shows its urban/industrial origins.

The design features over 100m or repurposed metal pipes that weave through the plants, trees and water, bolted together at angles with polished golden junctions. And – one of our favourite features – occasional breaks in the pipe and poorly knitted connections reveal a mysterious golden ooze – cast in solid metal – seemingly seeping from the world of industry into the wilds of the garden.

Trees were chosen for their tolerance to urban climate with some of the largest examples at the show. Most notable was the Nyssa sylvatica – a choice powered by the need for September impact – which was just beginning to show the brilliant red and yellow leaves that it sports in autumn.

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

Designers Tom Massey supported by Sarah Mead www.tommassey.co.uk
Sponsors Yeo Valley Organic www.yeovalley.co.uk
Contractor Landscape Associates www.landscapeassociates.co.uk
Gold Medal Winner and People's Choice award winner

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Chelsea 2021
The Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Chelsea 2021

Remarkably, this is the first 100% organically grown Chelsea show garden – something that alongside the move to September – gave this garden its own unique set of challenges.

Its organic element was vital as the perfect fit alongside the habitats and plants found at Yeo Valley’s family-run organic farm in Somerset. Therefore themes of soil biodiversity, support for pollinators and promoting the many benefits for organic gardening avail throughout.

The boundaries are constructed from chunks of biochar – charcoal logs from Yeo Valley’s woodland, used as an ingredient to enhance the nutrient and moisture retention of their compost – which provides an arresting black foil to the greenery around it.

A front-to-back stream provides water while the woodland features fruiting and flowering trees alongside silver birch, hazel and hawthorn with retaining structures planted with mixed native hedging.

And there in the middle – suspended from steel – is a steam-bent oak hide, handcrafted into a perfect egg by Tom Raffield. Visitors who get up close can experience the egg from within, being winched upwards to admire the stream below through the egg’s glass floor.

The Trailfinders’ 50th Anniversary Garden

Designers Jonathan Snow www.jonathansnowdesign.co.uk
Sponsors Trailfinders www.trailfinders.com
Contractor Stewart Landscape Construction www.stewardlandscape.co.uk
Gold Medal Winner

The Trailfinders 50th Anniversary Garden at Chelsea 2021
The Trailfinders 50th Anniversary Garden at Chelsea 2021

Celebrating the anniversary of the map company that first sold its overland trips to Kathmandu in the 1970s, this dense, heavily planted, shady and hidden garden is inspired by the landscape culture and plants of the Himalayan foothills.

Through the greenery, at the back, rising up to the garden’s highest point is a shelter, which is positioned at the fork of a stream, colourful banners flapping in the breeze high above it. To either side, in the streams, are prayer wheels, driven by the water which descends and cross-crosses through the garden.

The planting is representative of the temperate zone of the Himalayas using plants that occur at roughly 2000 to 4000m high, giving the garden a cool, shady and verdant feel with the only human intervention to the colour palette of predominantly blue, white and pink being the pathways and bold stone structures.

Bodmin Jail 60° East – A Garden Between Continents

Designers Ekaterina Zasukhina & Carly Kershaw
Sponsors Bodmin Jail & Bodmin Jail Hotel www.bodminjail.org & www.bodminjailhotel.org.com
Contractor Cube 1994 Ltd www.cube1994.com
Silver Medal Winner

Bodmin Jail Show Garden at Chelsea 2021
Bodmin Jail Show Garden at Chelsea 2021

Designed to evoke the magic of the Ural Mountains the 60° East of this garden's title refers to the border between continents and the city of Yekaterinburg, home to sweeping vistas of mountains, forests and rivers.

This means a combination of European and Asian planting, brought together to form peaks, forests, slopes and mountains. The mountain at the back is home to a tumbling waterfall that then plays through the landscape past romantic sculptures of fanciful, fairy-like figures.

Presented with its longest side as the main viewpoint – with its rear edge marking the boundary of the site – the garden banked upwards sharply from its front edge, displaying its contents from a single viewpoint and completely filling the gaze in order to transport the viewer from central London to the Ural Mountains.

The Florence Nightingale Garden

Designer Robert Myers www.robertmyers-associates.co.uk
Sponsors The Burdett Trust for Nursing www.btfn.org.uk
Contractor Bowles & Wyer www.bowleswyer.co.uk
Silver Medal Winner

Florence Nightingale Show Garden at Chelsea 2021
Florence Nightingale Show Garden at Chelsea 2021

Subtitled 'A Celebration of Modern-day Nursing', the garden is imagined as a courtyard for a new hospital, marking 200 years since Florence Nightingale's birth in 1820 and is designed to shine a light on the critical role nurses play in modern-day healthcare.

Its theme is 'nursing through nature' inspired by the idea that the shortest route to recovery leads through a garden.

Most notable is the fabulous wooden pergola which gives the garden a sense of framework and destination, encouraging visitors to both wander through to reveal the plants within it or to sit and relax, taking in the naturalistic planting and water features.

Below the structural, dramatic curves of the pergola are drifts of late-flowering perennials, grasses and bulbs to create a calm, lush, atmosphere that's all about texture and foliage.

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Authors

Daniel GriffithsDigital Editor

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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