RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Timber and Decking

I watch the Flower show at Chelsea perhaps all for the wrong reasons, I look for the timber and how it’s designed into the structure of the garden. The quality, the cut, the fixing and the many techniques as to how it is used…

Joe swift ambled through Trailfinders Australian Garden designed by Philip Johnson - what a garden. Chelsea usually exudes quality and the quality of the timber in this garden is no exception. A path is a path is a path; perhaps not and in this case it is more, much, much more. The radial cut demonstrates the designers understanding of how wood can be used to showcase not the simplistic approach to a simple timber structure but a complicated and mathematically challenging piece of usable art.

This Garden then went on to win Gold and Best in Show 2013.... nice one - congratulations

The winner of the best use of materials is from one of the Artisan gardens, my choice is the Alcove (Tokonoma) garden designed by Ishihara Kazuyuki. It has to be the tactile approach of heat treating the cedar timber, the colour produced by burning the timber using the Shou Sugi Ban to produce the Yakisugi pieces of timber is breath-taking. I note the balcony and main structure is in keeping with a traditional style, look closer and you will see that the designers artisan approach to move away from the rectilinear and the formality. This is in the form of using natural branches with the same technique as the rest of the timber, a beautiful and natural consideration to combine the organic informality with the rigidity of the formal structure.

This Garden then went on to win Gold and Best Artisan Garden.... crikey perhaps I should be a judge...

I learn every year from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and nothing pleases me more than the continued use of nature’s most usable and versatile material… wood.

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