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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2005
The Grand Tour Garden
Sponsor: Savills

Clare Agnew's design for Savills in 2005 was a reflection of the Grand Tour period when young English gentlemen were encouraged to experience a vibrant and beneficial exchange of aesthetic European ideals, most notably with Italy, and import them to the architecture of buildings and gardens at home in Great Britain.

Laid out on the classical lines of European gardens of the early 18th century, Clare's design provided a green English stage for the classical motifs of an arid Continental landscape. Lush planting surrounded the stone, statuary and water and a temple colonnade provided the setting for a narrow canal, reflecting classical busts at either side.

The whole garden spanned 20 x 10 metres and featured a backdrop of Tuscan cypress trees. The canal was planted on each side with abundant leafy rhubarbs and bronze fennels; these were intersparsed with large Box pyramids underplanted with ivy. Contrasting swords of Watsonia, Iris and Chrondrapetalum at either end of the garden provided vertical emphasis, echoing the shapes of twelve tall cypresses and the columnar Temple.

General impressions were of a tranquil Italian courtyard garden with an interpretation of classical hard landscaping that benefited the Grand Tour theme.


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