Catherine StewartChelsea Best in Show, design Phillip Johnson

Corten steel, reddish timber, water and rocks and pebbles of all sizes dominate the hardscape elements of the Phillip Johnson designed Trailfinders Australian garden presented by Flemings at the Chelsea Flower Show 2013, but for me it’s those wonderful little Australian plants that really star.

Trailfinders Australian garden presented by Flemings Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Designer Phillip Johnson

The real strength of this garden, awarded a well-deserved Best in Show, is the planting. Nothing clipped, nothing groomed – even down to the few dried-out fronds on the tree ferns (because, after all, that’s what they really look like), this garden is a delight of delicate colour and silky to spiky foliage textures common throughout south-eastern Australia’s bush. No big showy flowers here, just subtle little sparks of colour and that blue-grey-green palette of leaves that marries so well with rusty steel, timber and grey rock.

It was a grey old day in Chelsea on press day but even that couldn’t make this garden dull.

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

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