I have said it before and I will say it again, the LG Eco-City Garden makes me feel happy: the question is, can I explain why? Firstly the colour palette of saturated greens, punctuated by yellows and oranges, topped off with a froth of pure white, makes my heart sing. How rarely we see these colours used in a show garden without the support of purple, but here they are, bright, hopeful and unencumbered. The optimism expressed in this garden appeals to me as someone who’s glass is always half full. It suggests a place where the mornings are cool and breezy, the days are warm and sunny, and evenings full of laughter and friendship. There are no boundaries to living in this perfect indoor/outdoor space. One breezes leisurely from kitchen to garden treading on camomile as one goes. I want to live here: I want to believe that such a situation might exist and that one day I could afford to live this dream. To evoke such feelings is, for me, part of the purpose of a show garden.
I have also said that I would cry for Hay Joung Hwang if she did not win a gold medal, and true to my word there was a tear in my eye when I heard she’d been awarded a second Silver-Gilt. The judges have very strict criteria for marking the show gardens and I’ve no doubt they had good reason to score this garden as they did, but as a layman the outcome is hard to fathom. Anyway, we move on, and I hope that Hay will take huge encouragement from all the positive remarks that are being made about her design. Hay’s practice is small and this garden is a brilliant showcase for her style and talent. If I had need of someone to redesign my garden, I’d have no hesitation in asking Hay to take a look at it.
When viewing the LG Eco-City Garden at ground level it is hard to picture this as a high-rise terrace in a greened residential development. I have included the renderings to help you put the garden in context. For sure, this is not a garden that most of us could to aspire to, especially in a city like London where square footage of this magnitude would come at eye-watering expense. Nevertheless the fantasy is so compelling that one wants to believe it could happen, and would not begrudge the lucky individual that could afford it. Behind the open-plan kitchen area there is a cool, zen-like space to look out on, a living picture composed of hornbeam, slate, moss, ferns and water. Look closely and you will see tiny goldfish darting back and forth. They are part of the garden’s sustainable narrative in that their waste will be filtered out and used as fertiliser for the plants.
Hay’s design for the LG Eco-City Garden marries two of the 21st Century’s greatest concerns – concern for the environment, and the advance of technology. It integrates the two interests successfully, although not without compromise. This is a residential development and there’s ample use of concrete and glass, neither of which are especially sustainable materials. But their use is a reality, for now at least. From an environmental perspective the plants and trees play a role in oxygen generation, humidity control, temperature moderation, noise and carbon dioxide reduction. The foliage also captures toxic particles in the air before they can enter our lungs and cause us harm. Trees and moss are particularly effective at reducing pollution in urban areas.
This garden could so easily have been left as an architectural composition of trees, hedges, glass and concrete, but flowers have been incorporated liberally and joyfully. They are here to attract pollinators; bees, moths and butterflies which have been so challenged by the changes humans have made to the natural environment. For some people the ideas of outdoor living and attracting insects are not compatible, but we have to get used to it. There are probably fewer airborne creatures in our lives than ever before and we must learn to live side by side.
Naturally, with LG being a manufacturer of high-end technology the garden provides something of a showroom for their wares. It wasn’t only the gentlemen taking a fancy to the vast TV screen embedded in the garden’s perimeter, deftly inset so as to shade the screen from the sun. In the kitchen one finds a refrigerator with a door that becomes clear when tapped, preventing the need to open it to see what’s inside. This reduces the loss of cold air and thereby cuts energy bills. There’s also a washing machine that can wash two loads at once. The garden features a renewable air-to-water heating system known as Therma V which is approved by the government’s renewable heat incentive scheme.
Sleek, beautiful, intelligent and mindful of the environment, Hay Joung Hwang’s design for the LG Eco-City garden ticks many boxes that other show gardens do not. However, Hay did not let any of these sub-plots get in the way of presenting a perfectly joyful, aspirational and professional garden, and for that I award her my personal Best in Show*. TFG.
*As a tribute, and because I did not write-up Hay’s 2016 garden fully on this blog, I am retrospectively posting a gallery of images showing her LG Smart Garden which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Continue scrolling down for a plant list.
- Ammi visnaga ‘Compact White’
- Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Alba’
- Astrantia major ‘Large White’
- Camassia leichtlinii ‘Alba’
- Delphinium ‘Sungleam’
- Digitalis white (these were originally intended to be eremurus)
- Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’
- Geum ‘Banana Daiquiri’
- Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus
- Hesperis matronalis ‘White’
- Lilium perenne ‘Album’
- Lupinus ‘Desert Sun’
- Lupinus ‘Gallery White’
- Melica altissima ‘Alba’
- Orlaya grandiflora
- Ornithogallum nutans
- Papaver ruprifragum ‘Orange Feathers’
- Papaver spicatum
- Phlox divaricata ‘Fuller’s White’
- Ranunculus acris ‘Citrinus’
- Tellima grandiflora
- Trollius ‘Lemon Queen’
- Trollius europaeus
- Trollius ‘Cheddar’
- Verbascum ‘Gainsborough’
- ‘Diamond Days
- ‘Mary Berry’
- ‘Yours In Continued Friendship’
- ‘Easy Going’
- ‘High Sheriff’
- ‘Royal Philharmonic’
- Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata’
- Athyrium filix-femina
- Leucobryum glaucum (pincushion moss)
- Kindbergia praelonga (common feather moss)
- Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’
- Chaemaemelum nobile ‘Treneague’ (Roman camomile)
- Sagina subulata (Pearlwort)
- Mentha requienii (Corsican Mint)
Categories: Chelsea flower show, Flower Shows, Flowers, Foliage, Garden Design, Landscape Design, Perennials, Photography, Planting Design
25 comments On "Chelsea Flower Show 2018: The LG Eco-City Garden"
Your photos of this Show gardens are the best that are out their. Well done Dan.
That’s kind of you Rodja. I always think I can and should do better! I don’t use a tripod which I think would be wise next year. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
Love love love this garden.
Feels full of joy and happiness and I feel so drawn to it. And, even tempted to plant some lemon flowers after seeing these beautiful pictures. I will study the plant list, thx so much for sharing.
Dan, so far removed from that hideous quarry that made me feel depressed last year, this is a garden that lifts my spirits and it matches your shirts! 💚💚💚
Oh yes! I didn’t think about that. Maybe that’s another reason I felt drawn to it? I think maybe white slacks could be appropriate in such a situation?
I loved this garden as well Dan. It makes your heart sing and I would have just loved to have sat in it in quiet contemplation without all the crowds. Pleased to see Hay was Sheffield trained. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful photos & comments.
My pleasure. I am happy that it made you happy too!
Lovely to read your review of this garden, Dan. The flowers really do sing with happy colours. We will be lucky to see a quick segment of the show on the news, so thanks for sharing the details with us.
Here we have over a week of TV coverage – which incidentally I never have time to watch. It’s about the only non sporting event in the UK that affords such fulsome reporting, and thank goodness for that!!
Thank you Dan for this thorough and exclusive-access critique. You are right – this palette is not seen without purple, and it is enlivening. You make a very good point about the use of materials like concrete in a sustainable garden.
Not sure what you mean by this: ‘It wasn’t only the gentlemen taking a fancy to the vast TV screen embedded in the garden’s perimeter, deftly inset so as to shade the screen from the sun. In the kitchen one finds a refrigerator with a door that becomes clear when tapped, preventing the need to open it to see what’s inside.’
The point I was attempting to make is that the idea of vast TV in the garden was universally appealing, rather than conforming to the stereotype that these are the preserve of men watching sport. Regarding the fridge, the brochure quotes ‘it has a sleek mirrored glass panel that illuminates with two quick knocks, allowing the user to see inside the easy access compartment without ever opening the door – this reduces cold air loss to help keep food fresher longer.’
Hmm. Yes, can see the use of the fridge. Hate the idea of a tv in the garden though.
Ha ha… NO white pants if u are with me…. screams English tourist on holidays equivalent to Aussie male in Bermuda shorts, accompanied by disgraceful singlet with some nonsense graphics and thongs (flip flops)…. both should be outlawed! Just give me flowers, flowers and veggies 🌽😂💚💚💚💚💚
Ps ….happy to be tripod and glass carrier next year 😁
Be careful what you’re signing up to! Videographer will be added to that list by 2019.
I am enthralled with this garden and concept! Your photographs are fabulous. I could live here too. It needs to be somewhere that doesn’t need a/c or too much heating! San Diego my home town would be perfect!
Shhhh, else we’ll all be moving there!
This really is amazing. I’m not really a fan of ‘modern design’ gardens only because I feel they date not long after they’ve been completed. There are exceptions to the rule of course and I think this is certainly one of them. A beautiful hybrid of classical and modernity. I’ve noticed also that some modern garden designs err toward functionality but lack aesthetics and warmth. But the opposite can also apply i.e. a beautiful garden but not very functional. The LG Eco City Garden has it all. This garden makes me smile also.
I’m glad Jason. I really felt I wanted to leap over the rope barrier, sit in that sunken seating space and enjoy a very cold glass of something crisp and Italian! I also loved watching the tiny goldfish dart about. I hope they went to a good home after the show. Dan
Ohhh dear…. I will have to learn but if I can be behind the camera I will be most happy – you can be the intrepid one out the front! (and with a microphone maybe – ha ha)
I absolutely loved the planting in this garden and you photographed it so beautifully. The BBC didn’t give the planting justice. I already have some of the plants on the plant list. I now intend replanting a 12m border along the lines of Hay’s scheme. It also answers the problem I have of having to get rid of 12m of what were gorgeous phloxes – all sadly attacked by eelworm.
Thank you for the planting list and photos.
I am glad they helped Jackie. What an exciting prospect. I was interested that Hay mentioned when interviewed that she had learned floristry and so had arranged her flowering plants as a florist might. That showed I think, especially in their wonderful abundance. There are so many plants you might add to a real border with that colour scheme to extend the season of interest. My mind is all a-buzz at the idea of it!
I recently visited Hay Joung Hwang’s website to find out more about her. http://www.haydesigns.co.uk/. So inspiring. Hay is my new ‘Design Hero’.
That’s good to hear Jason. She is certainly very talented. I am interested to see what she does next.
I love the yellow lupines and the white foxglove together!
Your garden is very beautiful! Just wondering who did the sculpture of the in the foreground of the 3rd photo down?