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  • Lynn Hill

Chelsea Flower Show - the wonders of creating a show garden

RHS Chelsea Flower Show… there really is nothing quite like it… what an experience!

Chelsea Flower Show main avenue garden for Blue Peter featuring a wild flower green roof, a meadow and beautiful colourful planting. Designed to inspire people about the importance of healthy soil, it features a Rizotron building in brilliant orange with the words 'Don't treat Soil Like Dirt'. Featuring on BBC Chelsea coverage and receiving a medal this wonderful educational garden will now make it's way to RHS Bayswater.
The New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil

It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, the build-up is intense and it takes immense team effort to bring the designers’ ideas to life. The hustle bustle of the build is all part of the experience though. As you flop into bed late at night and set the alarm for 5.30am for the umpteenth consecutive time, the feeling is elated exhaustion - if there can be such a thing.

View from above, the creationof the New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Shown during the build, this Edinburgh garden designer supports the creation of the garden with it's wild flower green roof, beautifully colourful planting and bright orange garden building.
Here we are - creating the New Blue Peter Garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

You can’t wait to get back on site and perfect this work of art. This garden that means so much to so many people. That beams from the TV screens; that welcomes thousands of visitors; That speaks a poignant message. Well, the New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil, certainly did. I’ve never seen so many people getting involved in discussions on the importance of healthy soil and how we can look after it. People were really engaging with the subject and ideas were abound.

Edinburgh garden designer Lynn Hill stands with Tayshan in the Hands Off Mangrove garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2022. Metal focal structure stands proud amongst the beautiful planting of flowers and edibles.
Lynn with Tayshan in the Hands Off Mangrove show garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

And that’s what it is about, for so many of us. The power that comes with conveying a message in such poignant terms. Gardens that are not only beautiful and environmentally beneficial in their own right, but that also have something to say. I call these ‘Gardens with a Purpose’; Such as the Hands Off Mangrove Garden, which also featured at Chelsea. This is a garden that celebrates diversity and how gardening can be a form of healing and positive social change. At its’ core is the dedication to drive awareness and confront the impact that racial and environmental injustice has on our planet. These are big topics with a complexity of strands. But gardens like this open our eyes and stimulate us into conversations that need to be had, however complex or hard these might be.

If you ever get the chance to work at Chelsea then grab it with both hands… the experience will stay with you for a lifetime. You really get to experience what goes on beneath the surface of the show - and you can also find yourself privy to the smoke and mirrors that so cleverly make a garden which has popped into existence, look like it has been there forever. Indeed, how did we get a tree planted on our green roof!? - see if you can spot it in the images above.

metal pergola shades comfortable garden seating nestled into beautiful planting. Lush green leaves and bright flowers set with a wonderful water feature at Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Tranquility abounds in the Morris & Co garden designed by Ruth Willmott

You even get to wander around when it’s quiet, which is quite awe inspiring. Soaking up the atmosphere as finishing touches are applied, bees settle into their new found treasure troves, you can even hear the birds singing in the trees. Then the masses descend, and it’s a hive of activity once more. This time with excited eager faces, wanting to see the delights that have been created for them, that they have previewed on the TV.

Scottish garden designer Lynn Hill meets the legendary gardening guru Monty Don at Chelsea Flower Show 2022. Here they stand in the New Blue Peter Garden as it is filmed for the RHS.
No introduction needed I'm sure - the wonderful Monty Don. Delighted to meet you Monty!

Of course, this is about the gardens, but what also stays with you is the people. Every time I’m there I meet the most amazing people from all walks of life. There’s the gods of Monty Don and Jo Swift, who are indeed just real folk when you meet them. Equally are the contractors and gardeners who all play a part in bringing the gardens to life. It may be the intensity of the experience, but you go away feeling like you have known these people an eternity, and they now hold a special place in your heart. No more so than Juliet Sargeant, the brilliant soul who brought me into all this in the first place - Thank you for an amazing adventure Juliet!

Scottish Garden Designer stands pround with Juliet Sargeant in the New Blue Peter Garden:Discover Soil at Chelsea Flower Show 2022.
Lynn and Juliet in the New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil


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