Festival de Jardins, Chaumont sur Loire: The New Chelsea


It always faintly amuses me when the RHS promote Chelsea Flower Show as the pinnacle of the Garden design world.

I’ve been teaching now for more than 20 years and Chelsea is anything but the bastion of good design.  The clue is in the title; Chelsea Flower Show not Chelsea Design Show. In fact all the examples I use for teaching purposes of bad design, come from Chelsea.

Chelsea is over crowded, political, wasteful, and regurgitating the same old design formats seen year after year (see Roger Platts garden at this year show, straight out of the 1980’s)

Why do these designers bother? or do they constantly need their ego’s massaging by the old boy network!

Chaumont is everything Chelsea is not, Innovative, creative, tranquil, inspirational, politically unbiased, and environmentally sensitive.  My students are encouraged to go to both shows, but always feel inspired and reinvigorated having visited Chaumont.

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