Chelsea Flower Show’s Literary Leanings

I visited Chelsea Flower Show this week and amid all the wonderful plants the literary world made its presence felt, particularly in my favourite category: the Artisan Gardens. Three had strong associations with the written word.

The link is most explicit in A Literary Garden, which is designed to be a poet’s retreat and is filled with hand-carved verses on the benches, bridge, sundial and water features. It also has a rather inviting cubby hole lined with logs.

Waterproof paper lines the walls of The Basildon Bond Centenary Garden, which is presented as a celebration of the stationery brand’s 100 year history. Fun touches like a reproduction of the Basildon Bond clock (where the 12 letters replace numbers) and a black wall-mounted post box add to the planting, which includes a paperbark maple whose peeling bark perfectly matches the theme.

The inspiration for gold medal winner A Postcard from Wales is the area surrounding Dylan Thomas’s home town of Laugharne. Soft pinks, whites and purples of the rose and allium are planted next to a silted river inlet.

July’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show embraces literature too, with a Festival of Roses celebrating Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Carroll is also one of six writers with gardens based on their poems in the Six English Poets’ Gardens: the others are Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth and Kipling.

What do you think of taking inspiration from literature to design a garden?

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