Home grown success at Chelsea Flower show

Linda Viney takes a look at some of the prize winning ideas from Yorkshire at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The sponsors of this year's Chelsea Flower Show, Marshalls of Elland, stone landscape experts in West Yorkshire, have come home with their first silver medal. Their entry 'The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want!' was inspired by children who took part in a series of garden design workshops.

The garden was created by Ian Dexter, Marshalls inhouse show garden designer who said the aim of the project was to encourage children to go outside and play, allowing them to reconnect with the natural environment and to help them develop valuable social skills.

'I am absolutely delighted with the result,' said Mr Dexter. 'This is my first ever RHS Chelsea Show Garden and to receive a silver medal is amazing. I would also to like to thank all the Marshalls Gardens and Driveways team who have worked tirelessly with me and behind the scenes to create this. This is a real team effort and I feel very proud of what we have all achieved.

'I most especially want to thank all the children who took part in the workshops and have helped inspire this amazing playground. Their ideas and enthusiasm has been fantastic and spurred us on all the way through this project.'

The entrance to the Marshalls winning garden is dominated by a huge menacing snake. Its head rises up which encourages children to scramble and jump. The rocks are good for climbing for all ages and even mums and dads can join in. Crawling through the tunnel which is covered with grass and sempervivums is fun. The timber orb gives a place to sit and hang out and surrounded by trees and bold dynamic planting some with tactile foliage added to the interest. Anything to encourage children from their computers has to be good.

Another winning Yorkshire designed garden was 'The Largest Room in the House' which commemorates the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is a cameo of the garden at Talbot House in Poperinghe, near Ypres, Belgium, and was designed by Denise Preston for Leeds City Council.

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This is the authority's sixth time at Chelsea and their efforts were rewarded with Silver Gilt Flora Medal. The garden is enclosed on two sides by a brick wall. A heart-shaped footpath encircles a neatly mown lawn with a fish pond in the centre. Soothing planting lines either side of the path. A summer house provides shelter and privacy mimicking the one at Talbot House. A small doorway in the wall would have led to shelters used by residents during bombing raids.Wooden benches are strategically placed for sitting and contemplation and Flanders poppies complete the air of respectful remembrance.

Matthewman Sweetpeas from Pontefract also had a magnificent display in the Great Pavilion and Hippopottering Nursery of Doncaster who specialise in Japanese Maples exhibited Acers in every shade imaginable. Clipped box formed the structure to a large herb wheel created by Green Garden Herbs of Selby. Thymes, sage, and lavenders offered scent as you walked past and the delicate shades were easy on the eye.

The British Mycological Society's exhibit sponsored by the University of Sheffield was rewarded with the second highest honour a Silver-Gilt Lindley Medal. The display of fungi was fascinating and gave an insight into their diversity. Green was the colour at this year's show giving an air of tranquillity especially where water was added.

A grove of 30-year-old hornbeam pruned so the foliage formed a number of clouds which appeared to float in mid-air was the basis of Tom Stuart Smith's award winning garden that was voted the 'Best in Show'. A calm green tapestry with zinc troughs and outstanding white peonies completed the picture.

A 'Thought Wall' sculpture inspired by a 1960s Mary Quant dress provided the backdrop for the Cancer Research UK Garden. A forest of dramatic Dicksonia Antarctica tree ferns and rectangular pools again created an air of peace with green the predominant colour.

Let's hope the rumours spreading, that council chiefs have told show organisers they will have to apply for planning permission for the show gardens from next year, are false. Having been held for the past 83 years in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, it would be inconceivable the show could be lost. It is the most renowned show of its kind and attracts visitors from all over the world.