Daily Telegraph, May 2015

English gardens.

15 November 2015

‘I’m chuffed to bits,” said Marcus Barnett, on hearing on Monday of his gold medal for the Telegraph Garden. “And it’s reallygreat for all the talented people who havebeen working on the garden with me. Phew, a relief too. Now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the week.” My first stop at the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show was the RHS shop to buy an umbrella. But then the sun came out and, as Marcus promised, his multi-stemmed osmanthus trees cast beautiful shadows on the walls, and his blood-red ‘Couleur Cardinal’ tulips took on their satin sheen. “A tremendously smart garden – for a rich couple with no children. Really well done,” said landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith. “Marcus’s plants are wonderfully integrated into the design, and the whole thing is delivered very professionally,” declared Robert Hillier, one of the judges. I agreed with a member of the public commenting that it felt the most intimate and inviting garden at the show, and with another that it would have been nice to view it from above for the full Mondrian experience.

It would also have been good if his peonies had been open, but this has been a cold, late spring. I did manage to get an aerial view of the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth garden by clambering up the rocks, where at the summit there is the surprise of a circular well poolfringed in sweet woodruff. From the swooning reactions on Monday, there was little doubt that Dan Pearson’s magical wild garden was going to win the Best Show Garden award. Itis indeed a masterpiece from a designer at the top of his game.