Limestone Features at Chelsea Flower Show

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How limestone has featured in garden designs at the Chelsea Flower Show following a theme this year for gardens to feature designs based on natural materials.

Natural stone plays a significant part in this year’s garden designs

The garden designs featuring at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show this year tended to follow a theme of being ‘more natural’ as opposed to the more ‘forced’ designs.

For example, in a technique known as ‘relaxed planting,’ there was a tendency not to feature plants in overly regimented beds and ‘planting patterns’ but to distribute them in a more casual and widespread manner throughout different parts of the garden.

A key component of this more naturalistic style is the use of natural stone such as limestone. The beauty of creating a path or hard surface area with limestone paving slabs is its ability, being a natural material, to blend in with the surroundings. Limestone is highly durable and available in various finishes and shades.

Limestone’s appearance improves as time goes on since weathering makes it look even more natural and less ‘forced’ as a part of garden design and, being very low maintenance, makes it an extremely cost effective option over time.

Engaging with nature

These characteristics of limestone tie in with the thinking behind some of the ‘natural look’ gardens at Chelsea this year. One of the designers with a featured garden explained that, because we have less wild space, there is “a growing desire to re-engage with nature.”

Some gardens pay homage to the dying out of certain natural areas. For example, one design appearing at Chelsea partly represented the heathland landscape featuring in Berkshire which is under severe threat with around 80% having been lost since the 19th century.

The best in show garden design was inspired by a disused Maltese limestone quarry. Combining large stone blocks, limestone structures and natural, exposed walls with grasses, evergreens and other plants native to the area it also won the best construction award.

The Chelsea Flower Show runs for five days in May each year in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

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