Inspired by Spring – the Hillier Chelsea garden

The birth of spring after the long dark winter months is always a welcome sight and eagerly anticipated by gardeners and so its no surprise that the season is the inspiration for the Hillier garden at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Hillier’s Spring‘ garden will bring together the word in all its meanings. From seasonality and the anticipation of the first growth, foliage and flower, to a sense of movement and dynamism, all fuelled with a spirit of excitement and simple pleasures.

The garden will be designed by Sarah Eberle who was also responsible for Hillier’s RHS Chelsea 2016 Gold medal winning garden.

The focal point of the design is a 4.3 metre-high metallic spring with hoops that span the length of the entire garden. These will wind through the centre, leading to a water feature and pool, drawing the eye and framing the garden. At the heart of the spiral, where the coils gather, is a square pavilion area.

With a series of pathways and granite viewing platforms around the edge of the garden, there will be a perfect vista from all angles. In the design, Sarah has created a number of themes. She explained: “Hillier is famed for its trees so of course trees form a large part of the design. I have included many shaped trees, as well as trees that are suitable for pots for use in difficult spaces. There are also shaped shrubs, showing alternatives to traditional Box topiary which is so sadly suffering from Box blight.

To this end, we have included a modern parterre. It uses ground cover foliage plants, clipped yew columns of varying heights and has elements of flowers rising above the foliage in areas. We also highlight a number of small shrubs, which are so important for today’s gardeners as smaller-scale gardens are increasingly in the majority,” she said.

Planting will include two herbaceous borders with climbers on obelisks and pruned shrubs and will also be home to two new plants that will be launched at the show and are exclusive to Hillier. These will sit alongside Hillier Classics for those who have a keener specialist eye.

For Sarah, the design could see her winning her 14th Chelsea gold medal as well as helping Hillier win its 72nd consecutive gold, furthering the company’s title as the most successful exhibitor in the show’s history.

Sarah started her show garden career with Hillier in the early 1990s and they were instrumental in teaching her the craft of building a successful show garden so she is obviously delighted to work with Hillier again, and as she says, “What goes around comes around!

George Hillier comments that they are delighted with Sarah’s design and all that it represents: “The planning is now well underway and we cannot wait to see it all come to fruition in May,” he said.

The Hillier exhibit is one I always look forward to at Chelsea as it never disappoints and I have no doubt that their 2017 garden will delight as always.