Chelsea Flower Show 2012 – Diarmuid Gavin’s Magical Pyramid

I have been pondering how to bring you the wealth of garden inspiration that I am finding here at Chelsea.   The gardens are, as usual, filled with design inspiration, back stories, pretty plants, and modern ideas.   While I continue to organize my images and my thoughts, I think I simply need to stick with the obvious….go garden by garden.

garden platning at chelsea flower show 2012

The two most talked about gardens in the show are those by Cleve West and Diarmuid Gavin.  Cleve was again the winner of the best in show garden with his Brewin Dolphin Garden and Diarmuid Gavin has taken the gardening world’s breath away again with his towering Westland Magic Garden.

Always controversial, some people simply hated Diarmuid’s Garden, but I think that at 7 stories tall (the tallest thing ever built at an RHS show) and with it’s overwhelming enormity and surprise at every turn, I couldn’t help but enjoy wandering through it.   It was a nerve-wracking experience that required climbing many tall, open and sometimes quite rickety seeming ladders. I was forced to leave my bag at one point because I was convinced it would literally be the death of me (causing me to fall off the giant contraption).


But the interesting thing about this was the relatively simple construction.  It was, in essence, just scaffolding with lots of rooms and spaces carved out of it.  It is not possible that is could never be a literal model of modern urban gardening (it was quite dark in the inner depths) but with some refinement, it certainly gives some thought to ways that small growing and living spaces can be maximized.

Personally, I couldn’t help but feel like I was somewhere around 10 years old visiting a modern take on Disneyland’s defunct Swiss Family Robinson house.  (remember that?)  And I don’t think I was the only one.  The 3+ story, rapid way out, slide had plenty of adult enthusiasts (little kids aren’t allowed at Chelsea).   After hearing many a scream as the descent was made, I opted to try and temper my ride with a little rubber sole foot braking….that was until my shoes came flying off and dropped fast.

The Westland Magical Garden was designed by Diarmuid Gavin.

All images by rochelle greayer (with the exception of the one where I am coming out the slide — shoeless….that gem was captured by Justine over at Notcot.  See her full post about the garden)

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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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