Caroline Ball

Co-Founder & Owner of Hybrid Flowers



A Guide to London's Gardens

The birds are starting to sing and the sun is peaking through the clouds and in the UK event calendar that start of gardening season can always be marked by the advent of Chelsea Flower Show. An invitation to spend time outside amid sights, colours, scents and textures and marvel and wonder at the hard work garden designers and plants people have put in to creating such things of joy and inspiration.

For us as London event florists, ‘Chelsea season’ is the time when all of the flowers we have been envisioning and presenting on paper to our clients start to bloom for the forthcoming summer’s events, weddings and parties. From British native flowers to bold architectural foliages and exotic blooms, Chelsea has it all. We asked Manoj Malde, Chelsea garden designer, TV Presenter, RHS Ambassador & Judge and great friend of ours at Hybrid, to explain just how do you take home inspiration from somewhere so full of ideas.

Manoj Malde Garden Design

Manoj advises the visitor to quickly to get an overview of the gardens, and then slowly revisit the gardens which grab you. Take in their details; look at the plants, their colour texture and foliages. “And always take a camera with you! These pictures are your reminders, so log them in an album or better still print them and put them in a book and use these pictures as a reference for your own garden… not just for planting but for colour schemes.” Manoj adds: “translate these colours into plants that will suit your soil type and aspect. Remember, the aim is not to recreate something you have seen but moreover reflect the beauty a space in your own way for your own garden.”

purple flower and bumble bee

Photography: Laura Stoner-New

Chelsea Physic Garden

Whilst many flock to Chelsea Flower show for that golden time in May, there is an oasis of historical calm, wellbeing and beauty just a stone’s throw away. Chelsea Physic Garden is a four-acre green space in the heart of London and for 350 years it has contributed to the city’s biodiversity and provided a place for people to connect with nature. Chelsea Physic Garden’s plant collection is the only botanic garden collection focused entirely on medicinal, herbal and useful plants.

As one of Chelsea Physic Garden’s approved florists for private events held within its grounds this is our absolute favourite outdoor space to create for. There is nothing quite like it’s magical and utterly peaceful quality. Its unique walled garden, full of lush trees and fascinating plants is surrounded by glimpses of beautiful Chelsea town houses. It is perfection in the heart of London.

Chelsea Physic Garden
chelsea physic gardens

Photography: Mark Bothwell

Hyde Hall

The RHS’s Hyde Hall is just 30 minutes from North London. Nestled in the heart of rural Essex, Hyde Hall is a wonderfully impressive setting with an eclectic mix of traditional and modern planting styles.

The site for Hyde Hall was originally an operational farm. It was bought in 1955 by Mr and Mrs Robinson, a couple who knew little about gardening but through sheer hard work and passion, their garden evolved, encroaching on the farm fields as each new vision took hold and their enthusiasm and knowledge grew to create truly magnificent gardens.

hyde hall gardens
Hyde Hall

The gardens were donated to the RHS in the early 90’s and since then Hyde Hall has continued to help redefine our understanding of what a garden is, what plants we can grow and how we can adapt to our changing climate. It an astonishing display of ornamental horticulture, wild woodlands, majestic meadows but many travel from afar to view Hyde Hall’s iconic ‘Dry Garden’. Home to 400 species of drought tolerant planting all originating from areas of low summer rainfall, including the Mediterranean, South Africa, South America, Australia and California and is one of Manoj’s top inspirational gardens.

Beth Chatto Gardens

The Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead, Essex are an absolutely fascinating 7.5 acres of beauty, based on ecological planting along the perfect mantra of ‘the right plant for the right place’.

As florists we are great fans of the late Beth Chatto who, in the 1950’s demonstrated flower arranging to the ‘Flower Club movement’. Beth quickly gathered many loyal customers for her own nursery grown unusual plants. With a deep love and profound knowledge of planting from 1977 Beth Chatto and her stand of “Unusual Plants” went on to win ten consecutive Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea. For Manoj the Beth Chatto Gardens and nursery are a true favourite. Whenever he visits the plant nursery here he will always come away with something truly unique.

As the conditions within the garden vary widely, five distinct areas have been created providing useful examples of working with nature. Manoj adores the Gravel Garden and “its stunning celebration of colour which is entirely reliant on rain water, it has never, ever been watered. Its colours, forms and textures are just perfection”.

Beth chatto gardens
Beth Chatto's Plants & Gardens

Final tip from Manoj: “When you enter a garden, gently absorb the mood and the atmosphere. And above all allow your mind to connect with the space around you.” Manoj has a new book below:

Your Outdoor Room
Manoj Malde Garden Design

If looking to elevate your work environment, event or party, Hybrid Flowers create bespoke arrangements to complement any setting.

Hybrid Flowers