Chelsea Flower Show Press


The press reactions to our Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth show garden were fantastic, with an overwhelmingly positive response from broadsheets, tabloids and online blogs.

Here are a selection of the best mentions. Full versions of the articles can be found by clicking on the links at the end of each quote.

'There were two outstanding gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show this year: Dan Pearson's monumental evocation of the rockery and trout stream at Chatsworth, which won Best in Show, and James Basson's recreation of a perfumier's garden in Grasse, which won a gold medal. As installations, they could not have been more different, but what they had in common was a sense of truth. Both gardens were made by designers who have trained themselves to properly look at landscapes – both natural and man-made – and to understand how they co-exist.

….Walking round the site you were given a masterly sequence of different views into it.

…. The planting, as well as the landscaping, balanced triumphantly on the most difficult of tightropes. The design was arresting, but absolutely believable. The planting was complex, yet showed great sensitivity to the way things happen in the wild, particularly the way that a plant seeds itself out from its starting point.

Triumphantly, he has pulled off the most difficult trick of all: to make the made look not made. Will anyone else ever dare to take on the triangle again?'

Anna Pavord - The Independent

'Why were so many people moved to tears by Dan Pearson’s garden at Chelsea? I admit to being someone who cries at novels and paintings and brass bands and choirs, as well as at views of the sea, but I can’t remember when I last cried at the sight of a garden. And a Chelsea garden at that. I was not alone; plenty of people said they felt similarly emotional.

My first thought was that the reason it struck such a well of emotion, was that here, for once, among the dross and showmanship of Chelsea, was a real place that felt as though it had been there forever. It was not just a display, but a place to lose yourself – and the fact that you could sit on a bench at the edges of this little piece of landscape brought the experience within reach of everyone.

Added to a strong idea and a sense of place, the Chelsea creation was a lesson in how to handle scale. The rocks and ruined carcass of an oak were awesome in the proper sense of the word, but in the detailed planting the tiny ordinary flowers were not forgotten. Of course, there was horticulture of the highest order, but it was not the self-conscious sort.'

Mary Keen - The Daily Telegraph

‘I did manage to get an aerial view of the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden by clambering up the rocks, where at the summit there is the surprise of a circular well pool fringed in sweet woodruff. From the swooning reactions on Monday, there was little doubt that Dan Pearson’s magical wild garden was going to win the Best Show Garden award. It is indeed a masterpiece from a designer at the top of his game.

“You just can’t imagine the work that has gone into it, and yet Dan makes it look so easy. Not a single rock has even been scratched. You would swear it had always been there,” said judge Dougal Philip. “He has caught the spirit of Chatsworth beautifully,” the Duke of Devonshire told me. “But taking the legacy and moving it on, as Joseph Paxton moved it on in the past.”

Dan’s originality and bravery is in carrying Chelsea horticulture into such an extreme naturalism, where a laburnum is shown still leafless and yellow azaleas are displayed with dead, lichen-encrusted branches and deer-munched trunks. “He challenges your idea of what a garden is,” Piet Oudolf commented.

“Dan often talks about coming to Chelsea when he was young and being inspired by Beth Chatto’s planting. Here he has moved that emotion, plant knowledge and ecology outdoors into one of the biggest gardens we have ever seen. Breathtaking,” said plantswoman Tania Compton.’

Stephen Lacey - The Daily Telegraph

'How many of us have been lucky enough to stumble upon a natural planting of wildflowers that appears to be as near to perfect as possible ? I did once , as a small boy, at a place known locally as the 'Spreading Oaks'. Two water meadows were home to some venerable old oak trees - hollow enough to make dens within their trunks - plus wild orchids, cuckoo pint, cowslips, buttercups and the most fantastic selection of softly coloured grasses. The feeling of total serenity that thi splace provided has never left me, and I have always assumed it impossible to recreate a landscape such as this.

I was wrong, as Dan Pearson's Show Garden for the Chatsworth Estate atthe RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May proved. It was a triumph, perhaps marred only by the noise and hullabaloo that accompanies a busy flower show; it deserved quietness and a breeze.

Alas, the 'Spreading Oaks' are no longer: the land has been drained, the beautiful trees felled and the area is now an anonymous agricultural field. That little piece of paradise wilfully destroyed, all in the name of progress. I mourn it dreadfully, perhaps even more now that I have marvelled at Dan's garden, which took inspiration from Joseph Paxton's Rock Garden and Trout Stream at Chatsworth.

This might not be everyone's idea of a garden, but it packs a punch that I hope will awaken us to the fact that it is in our power to retain our sylvan glades for posterity. Thank you Dan for the wake up call.'

Alan Gray - The Garden