5 High Fashion Garden Ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show

Planting Inspiration from Chelsea Flower show 2012 by Rochelle Greayer - Grasses, Silver Orange and PurpleMy days here at the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show so full….yesterday I spent the morning in a garden identifying (as best I could) British weeds as part of a forest gardening/ permaculture design course….and then I spent the afternoon at Chelsea’s final build-up day.

Today is press day at the show and I took over 400 images as I wandered amongst the hustle and bustle of the show construction….and I am sorting and prepping them just as fast as I can….but here is a quick taste of what I think is fashionable in gardening.

Top Image:

Mixed Meadow-like Planting

This beautiful display uses a variety of grasses (like Carex ‘comans bronze’ and at least one Sedge  – Acorus gramineus, I’m guessing). There is also Artemisia (the silver leaves), Geum (the orange flowers), Salvia (caradonna I think), Bronze Fennel, Allium (the purple balls), and perhaps a dark leaved penstemon (not 100% sure on that one – but think that is what the dark purple is).

You can try and slavishly recreate a beautiful planting like this, but I find it better to break it down into categories.  For example – two different grasses, a silver plant, two contrasting colored blooms (with airy stems), another textural leaved plant and a dark leaved plant.  Setting it out in this way, you can more easily customize it to something that you can grow in your own region and in your own garden.

fish swimming in the grass by rochelle greayer at chelsea flower show 2012

Plants That Interact with Art

Pretty pewter fish swimming through grass is charming, no doubt.  But how do you make this idea your own?  Think about ways that your own garden art can sit with plants and landscape around it. Looks for ways to ad whimsy and charm, or maybe you can start to tell a story with the design.

Panama hats for sale a chelsea flower show 2012 by Rochelle Greayer

Stylish Garden Gear

Personally, I find big floppy sun hats hats to be a nuisance when I am getting dirty in the garden. And bucket hats make me feel like a dope.  Neither option has the je ne sais quoi of a jauntier hat. Well made panama hats are my personal choice.

Strawberries growing vertically at chlesea Flower show 2012 by Rochelle Greayer

Epic Fruits & Vegetables

Using produce as a beautiful garden feature, rather than as just a utilitarian means to fill your stomach is an idea I fully embrace.  The strawberry display in the Chelsea Pavilion is always a feast for the senses.  The grower (Ken Muir) always fully fills their booth with strawberries.  They grow in arches, buckets, over head, and in just about every direction you can imagine.  And the smell is heaven.  This is a strawberry pot on steroids… and why not?

If you don’t like strawberries, consider other ways that you can use beautiful vegetables and fruiting plants as features and eye-catching elements.  Plant them outside of the vegetable patch and celebrate their beauty.

jekka mcvicars herb garden stand at chelsea flower show 2012 by Rochelle Greayer

Beautiful Herbs

Jekka McVicar is a tremendous resource for growing a wide variety of herbs and using them in delicious food.  Her display at the show inspires me to think of herbs as showy options for a beautiful garden.  From prehistoric looking cardoons and calendula (image above) to blue borage flowers, chives, dill, nigella and nasturtiums (below).   The herb garden never looked so exciting!

jekka mcvicars herb garden stand at chelsea flower show 2012 by Rochelle Greayer

images: 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. Delphine on May 21, 2012 at 3:13 am

    great ! i’m so happy for you, i whish you lot of fun, my dear friend !

  2. Spiral Ginger on May 21, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Nice work. All of your photograph away-sum. I think you are a great photographer.

  3. Tammy on July 11, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Inquiring minds want to know where you got the fish!


    • Rochelle on July 19, 2016 at 9:31 am

      I wish I could tell you! — this was at a stand at the Chelsea Flower show over 10 years ago.

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