Chelsea Garden Design
Chelsea is undoubtedly one of the most favoured spots in the universe, or at least for urban gardens. Once filled with orchards and market gardens which fed the great market at Covent Garden, it retains, even now, many of the properties that made it so fertile, an excellent climate, a relatively high water table even in dry years and soil which was once richly fed from all the stables in London. Above all, for the student of garden history it possesses, in the Chelsea Physic Garden, not only London’s oldest botanical garden but one of the world’s earliest and most serious attempts to study the medicinal qualities of plants. Open to the public on only a few days of the year, including the May bank holiday, it remains a secret garden full of treasures that will undoubtedly flourish in this area.
It seems a pity therefore that much of Chelsea has followed the modern minimalist patterns in garden design, with much use of stone, artificial lighting, and bamboo, grasses and twisted box pyramids.
This is fashionable, and like all fashion will prove ephemeral while the neatly laid out rows of medicinal herbs in the Physic Garden have a distinctly timeless quality.
Is there any reason why Chelsea gardens could not follow in this fine tradition? Neat rows of herbs, possibly culinary rather than medicinal, rosemary, thyme, basil, fennel, parsley, coriander, chives, bergamot, lemon balm, clove carnation, sage and sweet bay – the list could go on. Grow them in beds with paths of slabs of stone or heavy Caithness slate in between, to satisfy the fashion for a sculptured garden. Grow hedges of lavender round the edges of the beds.This would be very delightfully in keeping with Chelsea’s traditions while giving enormous delight and a minimum of trouble.
Obviously everyone loves the ultra modern garden design, with clean lines and innovative planting.
So have you ever considered mixing the modern with the classical? Could converge the idea of scenic lighting with that of medicinal herbs? Can you marry the two worlds of a cutting edge social space with feel of a secret country garden that hints towards times one by?
I certainly think this is popular and this is perhaps the type of design that many leading garden design experts would love to dive right in to. After all how many back gardens (or front) have you seen combining the old with new in a more unique and innovative way?