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Feel Good Gardens

BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball, Chris Evans, Jeremy Vine and Jo Whiley inspire gardens for Chelsea Flower Show
Feel Good Gardens_Chris Evans

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23-27 May) will feature five ‘Feel Good Gardens’, named after different BBC Radio 2 presenters, to mark the station’s 50th anniversary.

Sonic bass sounds from beneath the ground will reverberate through your body in The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, while the Jo Whiley Scent Garden will demonstrate the power of garden scents to improve our mood, lift our spirits and make us feel good.

Soft grasses, hard jagged rocks, gnarled bark and smooth pebbles will define the Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, and the Chris Evans Taste Garden will be an allotment-style garden that, with a little help from Mary Berry, celebrates the tastiest plants growing in UK gardens.

Jo Whiley Scent Garden

The Jo Whiley Scent Garden is designed by Tamara Bridge, 2015 RHS Young Designer of the Year, and Kate Savill.

The theme of this garden is scent memories and the design duo have asked fragrance designer Jo Malone to help create the garden, which will include aromas that transport you to a time or place such as woodland walks, rain on warm paving, fresh earth and new leaf growth, or freshly cut flowers from the garden.

Both Jo Malone and Jo Whiley joined first-time RHS Chelsea designers Tamara and Kate in the build-up to the show to help with planting.

‘It’s not an understatement to say that working on a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show is a dream come true. I’ve been going to Chelsea for years as a gardening enthusiast and can’t wait to be on the other side, working with designers Tamara Bridge and Kate Savill and the fragrant Jo Malone to create our very own scent garden. I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty and doing whatever it takes to create a truly heavenly scented garden for everyone to enjoy.’

BBC Radio 2 presenter

Zoe Ball Listening Garden

The Listening Garden, designed by writer, broadcaster and designer James Alexander Sinclair, will feature three long water troughs with large steel trays full of gravel. As the bass plays beneath the ground, patterns will emerge on the surface of the water and the gravel will dance to the vibrations.

‘You know that feeling when you stand too close to a speaker stack at a concert? You can feel the music through your whole body – big grumbling bass notes that make your teeth rattle and your innards jiggle. That is the flavour that we are trying to reproduce in this garden which of course will be lushly planted with many shades of green and foliage textures.

‘The general idea is to create something slightly other worldly to complement the strange sonic effects.’

Zoe Ball Listening Garden designer

Lush green planting, including three trees and a 1.8 metre high perimeter hedge, will feature throughout the garden. Zoe Ball joined James on the garden and during build-up to help with planting.

‘Music has always been so important in my life and in my work. His plans to have the music vibrate through the garden is really inspirational and rather electric. Can’t wait for people to come feel and hear and smell and have their sensations truly tantalised in something fabulously unique – and I’m also looking forward to picking up some gardening ideas!’

BBC Radio 2 presenter

Chris Evans Taste Garden

The Chris Evans Taste Garden is designed by multi RHS Chelsea Gold Medal Winner Jon Wheatley.

The allotment-style garden will be bursting with over 50 different types of fruit, vegetables, edible flowers and herbs, including carrots, pak choi, leeks, onions, cabbages, beetroot, sweetcorn and rhubarb. Dahlias, violas and nasturtiums will be among the edible flowers in the garden.

‘The garden is bursting with delicious and tasty plants to whet the appetite and help you feel good by enhancing your lifestyle and health and well-being. It’s great to be working with Chris Evans to celebrate the tastiest plants growing in the UK today.’

One of Britain’s best-loved cooks

There will be a modern greenhouse and the garden will be packed with plants to excite and stimulate the palate and enhance health and wellbeing.

‘I’m beyond thrilled to be taking the Radio 2 Breakfast Show to Chelsea in May and to work with Mary Berry on one of the Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens. We’re going al fresco and gardening bonkers for a very special show at the world’s most prestigious horticultural happening. We cannot wait.’

BBC Radio 2 presenter

Jeremy Vine Texture Garden

The Texture Garden, designed by Matt Keightley, will appeal to our sense of touch, with soft, feathery grasses brushing against sharp pine bushes. A wall of jagged rocks will feature alongside gnarled branches and smooth, polished pebbles that pepper the floor.

‘This is a dream for me. On several occasions I have been to RHS Chelsea and felt deeply jealous of the green fingers that create the beauty. Now my own fingers have been called on.’

BBC Radio 2 presenter

Matt, who won the People’s Choice at RHS Chelsea twice in a row, says it will be ‘a completely immersive experience with textual contrasts represented visually throughout the garden’.

Chris Evans and Mary Berry

Zoe Ball’s Listening Garden

Jo Whiley’s good scents

Jeremy Vine: rough with the smooth

Click here to plan your visit to 2017’s Chelsea Flower Show.

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