Reflections from Chelsea to Inverewe

Water is a tricky feature to get exactly right in a show garden and the designers at Chelsea seriously push the boundaries on creatively using it. Yesterday was medals day at Chelsea Flower Show but medals aren’t the only focus for this show, it is also about giving inspiration for our own gardens.

This week, horticulturalist, broadcaster, designer and writer Rachel de Thame has been showing television viewers how to bring a bit of Chelsea back home to our own gardens. I was delighted to see that earlier today her topic was all about water and what it can bring to our gardens with ‘movement, sound and a play of light’.

She chats about how water sets the mood in a garden and I couldn’t agree more. My tiny pond from my gardenwatching window doesn’t have much of a surface for light reflections. However, its small waterfall spout made from a broken roof tile (matching the sandstone rocks around it beautifully) turned upside down works a treat. I love to see the movement from my window and the sound as I walk by it to my larger wildlife pond.

In completely contrast, my wildlife pond is absolutely all about reflections. Ha-ha… I had a vision for my pond build and I am delighted to say it has almost been met (chat about that another time). I did spend some of my pond budget on a pump but it wasn’t to be used as a fountain or waterfall but to give ripples over the surface like a shoreline.

Sitting on the arbour seat beside the wildlife pond, the stillness draws you in and it has become the most tranquil place in the garden. A place to dream and a place to completely clear your head. It has also become a place to leave the water be… so the pump has stayed in its box for now. I now can’t imagine my garden without this source of light and its cloud reflections over the surface. ‘A play of light’ it is indeed!

This week, in keeping with my Chelsea Flower Show tribute, I’m posting images from one particular garden visit to the NTS garden, Inverewe on the edge of Loch Ewe in Wester Ross, Scotland. This time I’d like to share The Pond Garden which has been dammed from the Wet Valley with a stone wall and has drainage seepage from the old peat bog which maintains its water level.

My approach looking towards the glorious, end of August, colours of Rodgersia.

The path view looking across the pond from the Rodgersia side.

Jaw dropping, Rodgersia reflections – I can’t be the only one that thinks this?

Blue sky, tree trunks, and the bamboo screen also reflect in water pockets.

White waterlilies look stunning on black peaty water, note the willow sculpture.

Willow sculpture hidden away just like the resident palmate newts in this pond.

Inspired to add water to your garden? Perhaps you already have a pond or water feature, if so, please do share where you got your inspiration in a comment. My pond was also built for wildlife as well as to please my eye and soul. I lose all sense of time standing by the pond edge watching pond skaters, backswimmers and beetles dive up and down! I really can’t recommend having a pond in the garden enough 🙂

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.

5 thoughts on “Reflections from Chelsea to Inverewe

  1. Lovely reflections in the photos. We have a small bamboo water spout running into a reservoir covered with large pebbles, the frogs still manage to live in there. I thought some of the water features at Chelsea are to big creating to much noise.

  2. Can't agree more – water, standing and especially flowing add drama to a garden. I loved the Birmingham City water feature – no idea how they did it but have water both going up and down a checkerboard (in the great pavillion)

  3. I have a tiny spot of water in the garden. I wouldn't be without it though. Water does give the garden a different dimension.

  4. Hello everyone, thanks all your comments and for keeping up with me on my Chelsea spin posts. It’s been fun 🙂

    Brian, they really were. Ah… now I do remember seeing your bamboo spout when you posted on your Japanese garden area – I love the sound they make. Great to hear you get frogs in an area that’s not a pond – the garden programmes always say you just need a little water for wildlife. Yes, I have to say I agree with you on some of the larger water features – I think they would be distracting to the eye too.

    Sue, yes, but I’ve seen your pond in context to your whole garden in your recent post and you certainly have a big a pond as you could manage! I too would have a bigger pond if I had more space. In theory I could lift much of my lawn but I like the open space of just green to enjoy the busy other spaces so it’s not likely.

    Andrew, Yes, I missed the drama description which is completely accurate. Yes, that BC garden was quite a complex build wasn’t it 🙂

    Lisa, Yes, I remember your water garden and know your visiting birds enjoy it too. Another great descriptive phrase… a different dimension… that water does give to the garden 🙂

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