Experience wins out over youth at Chelsea Flower Show
Hugo Bugg (27) becomes youngest ever to take gold for contemporary raingarden
Visitors admire the the plants on display in The Great Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Visitors gather to admire the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Gold Award winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
It may have been trumpeted as the year that Chelsea’s old guard would be forced to yield to a new generation of garden designers but in the end age and experience won out over youth.
Of the six gold medals awarded to the large show gardens on Chelsea’s main avenue this year (the most prestigious spot in the festival’s show grounds), most of them went to designers with plenty of previous experience of the pressure-cooker atmosphere surrounding the world’s biggest garden festival.
Amongst those six winners was Cleve West, a British designer with four gold medals and two Best in Show awards already under his belt , and who was hotly tipped to take that much coveted award again this year with his modern take on a Persian pleasure garden.
But instead Best in Show went to the Italian-born, London-based designer Luciano Giubbilei, another regular exhibitor , for a meticulously executed formal garden softened by swathes of perennials and multi-stemmed amelanchiers, sponsored by Laurent Perrier.
And youth triumphed once again in the smaller and more experimental Fresh category, where Tom Price and Alex Frazier, two 28-year-old designers that have been friends since childhood, won a gold medal and Best in Category for their Mind’s Eye garden for the RNB.
But in the artisan category, the well-known designer and previous gold medal winner Kazayuki Ishihara took gold and Best in Category, proving that Chelsea’s old guard can still teach its more youthful designers a thing or two about winning medals.