Garden Show Inspiration from Chelsea–Perennial Bookworm

Best Garden Design: Practical Inspiration from the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.  Chris Young, 2010.  Firefly Books, 224 pages, 9.5 x 7.8”, $35.00 (hardcover).

Has the Northwest Flower & Garden Show fired you up to start working on your landscape?  I know I’m inspired.  I came away with so many great ideas, thanks to the designers, speakers, nurseries and artists who worked their magic for us.  Are you left yearning for more of that kind of over-the-top creativity and out of the box design?  If so, you’ll enjoy this book.

Now you can take in the gardens at Chelsea without suffering the 6 days of crowds or the jetlag and sustain the garden show “high” from our fabulous Northwest show.  Since 1912, the RHS has sponsored fabulous garden theatre; this book showcases a broad diversity of recent vignettes. It’s a good read if you have done or plan to do a show garden, as the case studies address the scale and relationship of features within a display. 

The focus of the book is the real life “take away” and each case study specifically highlights features that might translate into actual landscapes which is important because the shows can sometimes have that “Don’t try this at home!” feel to them because of their groundbreaking nature.  The author is successful in examining what makes a display effective in total, but also dwells on the details. 

Since the individual elements within a whole vignette are often what ignite our imaginations, chapters full of photos of hardscape, water, lighting or art provide hundreds of novel ideas both grandiose and simple.

This read just might keep you going until next year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  If not, you can always hit the largest garden show in the states: the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show March 4-11th or the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show March 21-25th which is the third largest. 

© Colleen Miko, 2012

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About Colleen Miko

Colleen Miko is a certified professional horticulturist with 20 years experience in landscape design who has designed award winning gardens for the NW Flower & Garden Show as well as HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”. Colleen is a freelance garden writer and speaker who regularly writes "The Perennial Bookworm" where she reviews garden and natural science books, as well as a regular contributor to "WestSound Home & Garden Magazine" on a variety of horticulture topics.
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