Excellent planting design, like the work Gilles Clement, Beth Chatto, Sarah Price, appears effortless, as though nature herself organized the combinations and placement of each plant. This effortless visage betrays the reality of the design process, which is that each plant is carefully curated and considered, deliberated over, switched and swapped until the right balance is achieved. As a painter uses a palette of colors to execute a vision, the plant designer uses living organisms.
Andy Sturgeon, the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show, gold medal winner for Best Show Garden, covered the essentials of planting design - compatible color and shades of green, variation in texture, and balanced scale. The woodland show garden explored the theme of regeneration with a pallet of pioneering plants - ferns, restios, and primordial 'horsetails', among others.