‘Take Chelsea Home’

take-chelsea-homeI have lost count of the times I wished I had made more notes of the inspirational gardens that I have seen at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show over the last decade. The design trends, ideas and practical details which are important to focus on and the finer details of each garden are always worth noting and every year they bring new inspiration.

In ‘Take Chelsea Home’, Chris Young, in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), gives us the ideal solution to those ‘what if?’ moments, when we know we should have paid attention and probably didn’t.

This inspirational sourcebook allows you to take the best of the world-famous flower show’s innovation, flair, extravagance and ingenuity home with you and compensates for that lack of note taking.

In the foreword, Alan Titchmarsh makes the point that only a cynic “…. could fail to be impressed by the standard of execution, the growing skills and artistry involved in creating what has been for many years the greatest flower show on earth.” No matter how many times you go there is always something fresh and innovative to stimulate the attention.

In ‘Take Chelsea Home’ , now extensively updated for the show’s centenary, Chris identifies the most attractive, practical and portable ideas from hundreds of gardens and designers over the last eight years and analyses how those ideas might work in any garden. From lighting a dim corner, improving your planting scheme and creating a sophisticated theme to making a cosy place for relaxing or entertaining, this book gives plenty of inspiration.

For me it has brought back lots of pleasant memories of times spent at previous Chelsea Flower Shows and refreshed in my mind some of those gardens with which I found particular pleasure and resonance. The book is divided up into chapters dealing with specific areas of the garden such as entrances, paths and boundaries; planting; outdoor living; water; materials, sustainability, lighting. With excellent colour plates and expert tips from some of the top designers, ‘Take Chelsea Home’ certainly earns its keep on the gardening bookshelf.

Trends from contemporary to classic via wildlife and the kitchen garden are all covered. He interviews gold-medal winning designers within each subject and analyses their individual design style, providing context to their creations. What appeals about this book is how Chris focuses on the finer details and finishing touches that complete the designs, helping to transform our gardens and outdoor spaces.

Chris is editor of the RHS magazine, The Garden, and is a trained landscape designer. He has a passion for good garden design and is interested in understanding why and how gardens work well.

In celebration of the centenary, the introduction to ‘Take Chelsea Home’ charts the 100 year history of the show and concludes that like all good British traditions, Chelsea is an extravagance, a spectacle, that some may feel unnecessary while others may can only marvel at. In short – if you enjoy gardening it is the greatest show on earth and long may it continue.

‘Take Chelsea Home’ by Chris Young in association with the Royal Horticultural Society is published by Mitchell Beazley in hardback at £20.00.