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The Daily Telegraph Garden - Best in Show


By Tom Stuart-Smith. Gold medal winner and voted 'Best in Show', The Telegraph Garden for the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show is a study in contrast between simplicity and complexity. Designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and built by Crocus.co.uk, it contrasts a minimal asymmetric plan with materials, surfaces and planting of rich patina and texture.

The daily telegraph garden

Garden description

The daily telegraph gardenThe garden is enclosed on two sides by alternating sections of hornbeam hedge and corten pre-rusted steel wall, which give a rich texture and stress the colour theme of rust. Water also features in the garden with a narrow rill along the base of the wall and hedge and tanks made of corten. In some places the water is hidden by planting, in others it is visible and touchable. The water is animated by designer Andrew Ewing.

Paving is oak boarding - chosen to complement the earthy character of the garden - and Herefordshire cobble paving. The wood has been supplied by James Latham and Co from a sustainable source and has been weathered to give The daily telegraph gardena silvery patina. The Herefordshire stone, chosen for its soft, plummy colouring, with streaks or iron, reflects the colours of the planting and the metal walls.

The planting in the garden has four elements. Two staggered groups of Viburnum rhytidophyllum frame views into the garden and provide height. They have been pruned to have many knock-kneed stems to 1.8m topped with a mop of textured foliage. They contrast with the fresh green of the hornbeam hedge, which comprises the second layer of planting, fixed at 2m height around two sides of the garden and alternating with the corten panels.

The daily telegraph gardenThe third component is a wide moundy box hedge used to underplant the viburnums. The box hedge has a mannered naturalness, somewhere between the formality of the clipped hedge and the naturalism of the varied flower planting. The flower planting is the final element of the garden. It is made up of relatively drought tolerant species such as bearded iris, grown by the famous Somerset firm Kelways, grasses, verbascums, salvias, Stachys and Knautia. It is based on a European steppe flora with a significant The daily telegraph gardenproportion of grasses and early season flowers. Plants that echo the rust colouring of the walls include Anemanthele lessoniana, deep red astrantia, rust coloured iris, Euphorbia griffithii and orange geums such as 'Coppertone' and 'Georgenburg'. This is moderated by soft blues and purples, such as Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle' and Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low', with delicate additions of white (in the form of Gillenia trifoliata and Orlaya grandiflora). Some grey foliage, Verbascum bombyciferum and low Stachys byzantina will also lighten the composition.

Plant list: (click on any of the names or photos to read more about the plant and to add to your own 'Plants I want' list)

Buxus sempervirens
Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation'
Euphorbia griffithii 'Dixter'
Rodgersia pinnata 'Superba'
Deschampsia cespitosa 'Bronzeschleier'
Salvia x sylvestris 'Mainacht'
Carpinus betulus
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Knautia macedonica
Geranium psilostemon
Geum 'Princess Juliana'
Verbascum 'Helen Johnson'
Astrantia major 'Claret'
Stipa arundinacea
Rodgersia podophylla
Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'
Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'
Gillenia trifoliata
Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata 'Ruby Port'
Verbascum 'Cotswold Queen'
Iris 'Attention Please'
Iris 'Dusky Challenger'
Iris 'Dutch Chocolate'
Iris 'Superstition'
Foeniculum vulgare 'Giant Bronze'
Iris 'Sultan's Palace'
Iris 'Supreme Sultan'
Stachys byzantina
Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'
Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus
Geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell'
Artemisia pontica
Dahlia 'Ragged Robin'
Orlaya grandiflora
Hakonechloa macra