Chelsea Flower Show 2012 – Cleve West’s Best in Show


Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west   Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

Conversations around the post press day pub tables buzzed last night with bets on who would take Best in Show this morning at Chelsea.   Interestingly, most agreed that Cleve West wouldn’t win because a few beech trees in his hedgeline had failed to fully green up in time for the judging.

Everyone agreed it was lovely, but we were sure that this slight (but uncontrollable) fault would knock him out of the running.  I had picked Joe Swift’s garden for the winner (I will share that garden next) but I am pleased that the judges gave Cleve the prize and acknowledged that even in show gardens, mother mature trumps all and we simply must work within and accept her constraints.

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

The Garden, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, celebrates the the popularity of topiary. But while the topiary was a nice bit of structure, I really loved the loose planting and the rill.  Euphorbias and poppies are what seemed most predominant but there was alot more than that going on.

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

I find the planting lists of show gardens to be hugely interesting resources for finding new and interesting varieties and discovering mixes that I have never thought of.   Here is the list for this garden (from the RHS website):

Acanthus mollis ‘Rue Ledan’ Bears breeches
Aconitum ‘Ivorine’ Monkshood
Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia
Blue dogbane
Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’
Granny’s bonnet
Aquilegia x hybrida ‘Green Apples’ Granny’s bonnet
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Ruby Port’ Granny’s bonnet
Bupleurum falcatum Thoroughwax
Campanula trachelium Nettle-leaved bellflower
Centaurea phoenix hybrids Knapweed
Centaurea ‘Pulchra Major’ Knapweed
Centranthus ruber Red valerian
Cirsium rivulare Plume thistle
Crambe cordifolia Greater sea kale
Dictamnus albus Dittany
Digitalis lutea Yellow foxglove
Epilobium angustifolium ‘Album’
Rosebay willowherb
Erigeron karvinskianus Mexican fleabane
Euphorbia x martinii Spurge
Euphorbia wallichii Spurge
Geum ‘Lemon Drops’ Avens

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’
Mountain cranesbill ‘Bill Wallis’
Gillenia trifoliata Bowmans root
Heuchera cylindrica ‘Greenfinch’ Heuchera greenfinch
Iris sibirica ‘Gull’s Wing’ Siberian iris
Iris sibirica ‘Tropic Night’ Siberian iris
Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’
Spotted deadnettle
Libertia grandiflora New Zealand satin flower
Linaria purpurea Purple toadflax
Mathiasella bupleuroides ‘Green Dream’ Mathiesella
Meum athamanticum Spignel
Mukdenia rossii ‘Karasuba’ Red leafed mukdenia
Paeonia ‘Red Charm’ Peony red charm
Paeonia ‘Buckeye Belle’ Semi double peony
Seseli libanotis Moon carrot
Thalictrum aquilegifolium ‘Album’ Meadow rue
Trifolium ochroleucon Sulphur clover
Valeriana officinalis Common valerian

There are a whole lot of plants there that I don’t know well….how about you?  Any old favorites or new interests?

Brewin Dolphin Garden at the Chelsea Flower show 2012 - designed by cleve west

Garden Design – Cleve West.

Contractor – Swatton Landscape
Plants – Hortus Loci
Stone/Artefacts – Lichen Garden Antiques

Other Contributors
Orchard Dene Nurseries
Bamber Wallis Design

images by rochelle greayer

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. Katherine Tracey on May 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I wonder why we Americans don’t stage flower shows In May? Instead we torture plants into forced growth for February and March. Would the public come?

  2. Antiques_fan2 on May 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

    When I stepped into the showroom, I felt like I was in Provence.

    The scent of lavender and the sound of running water from the antique limestone fountain along with the incredible selection of French garden antiques were really impressive. If you are looking for very large garden ornaments, French planters, etc. this is the showroom to visit. A total of 15,000 square feet of the most incredible French garden antiques, French limestone fountains, fireplace mantels and the most selective collection of planters from France with immediate availability. Each piece feels real, the atmosphere is so calming and rural. A true and unique gem to be found in West Palm Authentic Provence will awaken all your senses with its most complete and genuine collection of the most distinctive French garden antiques and home décor the Mediterranean has to offer, carefully chosen by its owner an appassionato European art historian.

    Authentic Provence reflects an intimate portrait of (the south of) France where the outdoor living is saturated with the most refined yet simple garden antiques (savoir faire). Visit for more information.

    Beach! Their website is

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