Garden Photo of the Day

Drought-Tolerant Gardening at Chelsea

Design ideas for a changing climate

larger planter box containers of various heights

Jorge Rodriguez shared today’s photos, which offer a beautiful look at the garden Jorge and his company, The Chelsea Gardener, designed for the Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is one of the premier garden shows in the world, with countless designers creating gardens to showcase different design ideas.

The heat wave of 2022 presented huge issues in the maintenance of traditional British gardens. With the looming presence of climate change, the high cost of irrigation installation and water along with hose pipe bans, British gardeners will have to reconsider plant selection. Ultimately, the purpose of our garden is to demonstrate a climate-change-resistant planting scheme and how this can be incorporated into an attractive, functional urban garden.

Our garden is designed to maximize the limited space of typical urban gardens, whilst adapting to our changing climate through the utilization of drought-tolerant plants. An emphasis on sustainability is carried through the garden with the materials utilized in construction being of natural, bio-composite provenance.

drought tolerant display garden with various unique containersUpon entry to the garden, you are greeted by a sentinel freestanding Albizia julibrissin (Zones 5–9) tree planted into a large clay planter. The filigree canopy provided by the silk tree produces a sense of enclosed sanctuary, and the loose feathery texture of the foliage contrasts strongly with the lines prominent throughout the rest of the garden.

larger planter box containers of various heightsAgainst the back wall is a series of three large, staggered containers. The angularity of these containers is broken by a combination of soft-textured foliage and trailing plants cascading over the edges.

close up of planting in a clay containerCloser look at the clay planter

seating area in the garden with mirrors that reflect plantsAn inbuilt seating area invites a would-be visitor to enter, and a mirror placed beside it reflects the planting in the bed in front and further breaks the definitive contours of the garden.

another view of the display gardenThe soft color palette of the flowers grown in the tallest back container contrasts with the saturated dark slate back-wall cladding. The addition of a dark backdrop and bright party boundaries also trick the eye into thinking the garden is larger.


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  1. User avater
    simplesue 07/07/2023

    Absolutely fabulous garden design! So simple yet solidly gorgeous and inviting! ( I do want to mention although mirrors look beautiful in gardens they are misunderstood by birds that fly into them and break their necks or suffer injury)
    I just love the cozy spot with the pillows and all the blooms around! I hope you won a prize for this amazing garden!

  2. btucker9675 07/07/2023

    This garden display is a treasure trove of ideas for gardens in our new climate situation. It's beautiful, showing that we don't lose that beauty when we use water wise plantings. Thank you for sharing your creativity!

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