Wednesday 23 May
The show is buzzing with RHS members all looking for new plants and design inspiration from the show displays.
It's never too late…
"It’s not only my first time at Chelsea, but also my last," says Tony. “And I would have liked to have won a gold."
Tony Samuelson’s show garden is usually found on his London patio. By his own admission, he's not much of a gardener, but he'd become interested in Arte Povera - an anarchic Italian movement which believed art could be made of anything.
"Every Wednesday I used to go up to my local DIY store and buy plants on my old people’s discount," says Tony. One of the plants he bought was a Dicksonia antarctica which needed repotting. All Tony had was an old water tank, and that started him collecting all manner of objects to use as containers. The result is Patio Povera - a riot of objets trouves used as plant containers, from stiletto boots to a vacuum cleaner.
He says he sent in an application to stage a show garden just for fun. He couldn't have been more surprised when Chelsea gave him the go-ahead.
"For ten minutes I thought it was the greatest thing in the world," he says. "But of course after another five minutes I thought, I've got to get a gold medal."
He's got a second chance at gold when he takes the garden to Hampton Court later this year - and with that kind of ambition, we may not have seen the last of him yet.
Staff trainer wins Chelsea design competition
Simon Judge, a government staff trainer, has won the Amateur category in the Marshalls / RHS Garden Design competition.
Judges described his design, for a wildlife garden, as “full of vitality and energy”. He will now be invited to build the garden at Chelsea next year.
“I’m completely blown away by it,“ says Simon, who’s from Bristol and has never visited Chelsea before. “I feel absolutely amazed - to have the opportunity to do something like this, and to actually be here.”
The Professional category was won by David Kurita-May, a garden designer and lecturer from Middlesex, who designed a sophisticated circular garden backed by cloud-pruned trees. He will also get the chance to bring his garden to Chelsea.
Both designers received their trophies from Chelsea designer Chris Beardshaw.
“It’s a huge challenge to get a design from paper onto an actual show garden,” said Chris. “I’ll look forward to seeing the winners at Chelsea Flower Show in coming years.”
It’s the first time the RHS has staged a design competition at the show. There were over 100 entries to each class, from which 5 finalists were chosen in each category. The finalists’ designs will be displayed on the Marshalls website and in the Great Pavilion during Chelsea week.