Surfing Chelsea



It’s always fascinating to read about this, the ultimate of garden
shows. Chelsea makes such attempts on our side of the Atlantic look kind of
ordinary—not that I think we should try to emulate them.

I am including a few items that caught my attention—and here(1)
are some links(2),
so you can read more(3).

-Garden walls studded with semi-precious stones. Well, it
worked for the Taj Mahal. 

-A kitchen garden using artificial turf—except that it’s used
as wallpaper for a grotto, not instead of grass. Which makes it acceptable under the rules—barely. (This reminds me of last year's gnome snafu.)

-A mini-rainforest sponsored by Green and Black chocolate
(one of my favorites). It recreates the tropical plant life of Camaroon. (There is also a Brazilian jungle garden.)

-A brazen Australian entry that is crammed with grills, sunken lounge furniture, a kitchen, a pool, and other accoutrement of the outdoor living movement. 

-A celebration of camassia (which have just started blooming for me now).

-Eden Project’s Place of Change garden is being built by 400
clients of homelessness organizations and 100 prison residents. It will have A
Planted Man, a 10-ft figure with medicinal plants attached to those body parts
they benefit; and a wildflower meadow, among other elements. This will be the
biggest garden Chelsea has ever had, so they’re the ones to watch. (The project
reminds me a bit of the movie Greenfingers, which featured Clive Owen as one of
several prisoners who compete in the Hampton Court Flower Show. As a gardening
movie, it was OK, but Clive is worth watching. )

And so much more. Of course—as is often the case with previews—the
actual displays might not live up to their descriptions. One of these days
though—I must see it.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


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