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Something in the wind at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show

This Year’s Chelsea Flower Show Best in Show Award in the Urban Garden category, was awarded to Jamie Dunstan from West Yorkshire, for the ‘Winds of Change’ Garden.

The brief for the category was to create a garden which is clever and striking, and makes innovative use of restricted space, and all the award winning gardens certainly did that, as the middle of Chelsea was divided into a series of small environments, each one a little oasis in its own right.

Jamie’s garden used a variety of recycled materials to create a space, just seven by five metres, which was tranquil and serene, and yet powerful. Five industrial fans were the starting point for the design, and were engineered to act as wind turbines, providing the power needed to light the rest of the garden. Other curious finds incorporated into the design include an old safe and a prison door. Recycled wooden planks were used to create a fence and a border area. The planting was described as ‘loose, informal and easy to maintain’ by the designer.

The judging panel commented on the high quality of the design, the attention to detail and the blending of colour, describing them as ‘magnificent’.

Jamie Dunstan described his reaction to the win as ‘surreal’, adding “even to get a Gold would have been wonderful, but to win Best in Category is really great, I’m overjoyed” He also agreed that the conditions while creating the garden had been challenging, with weather causing many of the competitors in this year’s show some real headaches.

Other featured Urban Gardens included the Chilstone Garden, designed by Heather Appleton, which was designed with the ‘workaholic suburbanite’ in mind, and featured a stunning turquoise carpet! The end result was a surprisingly relaxing and creative space and the judges awarded it a silver medal.

A new category, at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show, replacing the previous ‘Courtyard Gardens’ was the competition for Artisan Gardens, and this promoted a variety of quirky and beautiful entries, all with tremendous personality.

‘A Postcard from Wales’ by Kati Crome and Maggie Hughes featured a beach cottage, complete with driftwood and a little boat, and immediately transported the visitor to a hidden corner of the Welsh coast, complete with clever planting. The Literary Garden, designed by Martin Cook and Bonnie Davies was also very popular with visitors. Intended to be ‘a poet’s retreat’ it featured a sundial, a bench and a water feature, all of which were interspersed with verses, poems and words leading the ‘reader’ through and further into the garden.

But the winner in this new category was Jihae Hwang, who designed a beautiful vintage style garden filled with wildflowers. Titled ‘Hae-woo-so’ or Emptying One’s Mind, this was truly an oasis of calm in a fantastically busy and exciting Chelsea Flower Show.

Gardeners call their craft an art and with these stirring and stunning creations, there’s surely no argument.

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