Chelsea Flower Show: part 2

It's that time of year again: new David Austin roses (this time the 'William and Catherine' was released!), ladies in hats and lots and lots of heavenly gardens. I can only judge by photos, but here are my two favourites:

The Irish Sky Garden by Cork City Council, designed by Diarmuid Gavin: the true green of the Irish landscape, achieved through grasses, photinias, yew and arum lilies, is punctuated by a hot 'wonka' pink suspended pod, or as the designer calls it,  'a flying machine, hanging Eden and reflective launch pad.' The only planted colour comes from pink peonies inside the pod. Love it.

The B&Q Garden by DIY firm B&Q, designed by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins: the B&Q garden incorporates a 9m high living wall, one side of which is a vertical allotment, the other side comprising a vertical potting shed and an 'insect hotel' created by kids from Youth Clubs in Kent. 90 'bedrooms' were designed for earwigs. Such a cute approach to cultivating important critters in the garden!

One wall of the steel-frame structure is entirely plants, and the other is made up of solar photovoltaic panels. The panels power the water pumps that circulate water from a borehole round the hydroponic growing system. Inside the tower there is a greenhouse propagation area and compost chute.

The window boxes include peppers, tomatoes and nasturtiums, all next to wall of thyme, cammomile and oregano. Every single thing, bar the soil, is edible.

The aim of the garden is to open the public's eyes to the possibilites of edible gardens in urban environments. It's great that a big firm like B&Q (similar to Bunnings) funded such an ambitious project.

And a patriotic mention for the Australian Garden by Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne: I love that this garden aims to educate the British public on the incredible diversity (and fragility - many of the plants shown are endangered) of Australian flora, however the use of a boomerang shaped water feature made me cringe a little! Still, beautiful plantings of  Australian daisies, grevillea, westringea (native rosemary) and snow gums.

There are so many more gardens to look at, so head over to the Royal Horticultural Society site to get inspired.