Luxury Garden Design at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

While I spend much of my time devising schemes for the interiors, I do love when Sims Hilditch consults on how interior design can be helpful in outside spaces too. By working in close partnership with landscapers and garden designers, together we can encourage a real sense of continuity between your interior and exterior worlds. They should be extensions of one another rather than segregated entities. 

With this in mind, we were nothing short of thrilled to be involved in our first exhibition at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. I thought I might share with you all a little preview of what you can expect to see from us should you be attending, and for those of you who are not, I hope it sheds enough light to give you a seedling of an idea for your own garden.

As I alluded to a moment ago, garden design truly shines when it is a collaborative approach. At Chelsea, you will see that we have joined with the award-winning British greenhouse company, Alitex. They are a company for whom I have deep respect and their Victorian-style glasshouses are really quite a perfect fit for the Sims Hilditch point of view. We were already very much aware of one another, but it was at a Country Life event where our paths crossed and we began discussing how we might work together. Alitex is somewhat of a Chelsea Flower Show legend, having exhibited there for over 55 years now, and being known for recreating true gardens as opposed to show ones; it is rather exciting to be joining a company with such a pedigree.

At the show, there will be two structures on the Alitex stand on Main Avenue 334, each one being from their National Trust collection, and we have gladly focused on the interior of the two. Alitex share a similar ethos to our own, valuing and celebrating English design. Therefore, this small collection – where 5% of each greenhouse sold goes towards preserving various National Trust sites across the country – felt like such a natural fit.

The two glasshouses are quite different in shape – one is a larger cruciform called Ickworth and the smaller is called Scottney. I chose not to treat them too differently though. Instead, I felt the best path to follow would be to create a scheme that suited them most of all and then to show how it can be carried through to either structure. I curated a palette of teal, soft green and pink. These are tones that reflect the English landscape in mid-spring and early summer months. To this, I brought in an abundance of natural materials through furniture, textiles and accessories to transform it into a useable living space as much as a thing of beauty – being glasshouses, it was pivotal that the beauty was evident from the outside looking in. There is a pleasing amount of Belgian linens, English oak and crumbling terracotta pieces that I found at Kempton. The bronze leaf and oak chandelier in the Ickworth house is a splendid centrepiece too.

My principal aim was to show how a greenhouse is not one-dimensional. Indeed, they are wonderful when used in their traditional role – to grow and care for plant life – but they equally go far beyond this. Alitex are superb at presenting greenhouses as utterly elegant garden rooms, and this is precisely what I wanted to support through our interior decoration – the greenhouse as a relaxing, enjoyable space where you may plant in one area and read a novel in another with the windows and doors open wide.

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