Chelsea Flower Show 2011: Cleve West: Best In Show

Without looking at all the other gardens, I can say I am not surprised that Cleve West won Best in Show at Chelsea. His gardens are always the beautiful but slightly unexpected perfectly executed visions that you would expect from a Chelsea Show Garden.

There are so many things to talk about related to what is going on at Chelsea, but lets start with the garden that was named Best in Show.

cleve west best in show garden Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Cleve says that the garden was inspired by a trip to Libya where he visited ancient ruins.  The ruins in this garden are not however ancient, they are artistic representations of columns with axe carved details created by two artists (whose names I can’t find -but I will insert here when they come back online – coverage is changing so fast!!).   I am loving the soft, more natural planting that Cleve says focuses on species that will self seed and will naturally migrate and change the look of the garden with time.

cleve west chelsea flower show garden

valerian and red dianthus in cleve west garden chelsea flower show 2011

Images from and Daily Telegraph.

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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.
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  1. Margaret GRIMSHAW on May 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Well done to Cleve and a remarkable design. A truly fitting winner, full of inspiration to gardeners everywhere. By the way, the sculptors’ names are Agnes DECOUX and Serge BOTTAGISIO.

    • rochelle on May 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Margaret — I read the artists names and then went back to find them and mention them….and the article I had read was gone, replaced with something fresher — but only by perhaps an hour. I love how their is so much excitement that literally there is a new piece of information release about every 5 minutes from the show. Fun!

  2. Denise on May 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I saw five of the Chelsea gardens on Susan Cohan’s site, including this one, and thought the award has to go Cleve. Nice to see he did receive high honors. Informed, “relaxed” planting gets the nod in England, whereas what I’ve seen recently in the US shows are plants used more as design elements rather than examples of building plant communities as Cleve has done here.

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