2010 Chelsea Flower Show Highlights: Plant Combos

I have been pouring over all the coverage of Chelsea Flower Show that ended over the weekend….I soooo miss being able to hop on the tube and head over in person…..

As usual, there are lots of ideas and interesting tidbits to study and learn from and take away as inspiration.  I am going to start with my own collection of favorite plant combinations.  I have lots of other things that I loved too, but will pair them up for a series of post-show round-up’s all week.   Did you go to chelsea?  What was your favorite planting combination? ….from the pictures, these are the most interesting to me.






This is hands down my favorite.  I love Scandinavian design, meadow flowers and this natural look created with Himalayan blue poppies, Black Barlow columbine and soft grasses.  From the Naturally Norway Garden.

image by helly – b









This combination of verbascum, penstemon, irises, grasses, salvia, alliums and a few others, for the Victorian Aviary Garden is interesting on it’s own.  I think it plays ok with the (somewhat not so nice) blue trellis in the back ground — It is very country casual to me — quite the opposite of the gold plated aviary inspired structure.  Sometimes putting casual with formal can work — and sometime is just isn’t quite right….for me this is the later, but the individual elements are great. Do you think it works?

tulips and fennel or dill

image by helly – b





This combo is intriguing (tulips and either dill or fennel, I think) but I am not sure it is entirely achievable….not that I have the expectation that Chelsea displays the achievable, but at least where I live, there is no way that dill or fennel will be this big when the tulips are blooming….but nonetheless, the idea of chunky thick flowers like tulips floating in a misty froth of foliage is certainly interesting.

image by drDimages








Cardoons, euphorbia, iris, fennel, phormium and whatever that purple leaved plant is….are a mix that I think lots of my clients would like.  It is rich in gem tones (which, for some reason, I get a lot of requests for) and texture, and is pretty sophisticated without being too complicated.  The white border…well, it doesn’t do it for me, I rather prefer this mix with the wood tones of the upright.  Would you agree?

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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. Amanda Thomsen. on June 1, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    That black leaved plant looks like a Perilla to me. #justsayin.

    • rochelle on June 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      thanks Amanda…I wasn’t sure…

  2. Louise on June 2, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    i think this is the purple plant- strobilanthes…
    I like the drama of this planting- as soon as the dark purple and indigo iris color is gone it may quiet down a bit..
    yea- or maybe a granite or pale green concrete edge…

  3. Laurie Brown on June 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    *ouch* that white edging is just too bright with the plantings. I do love the plantings themselves, though.

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