Gardening: Gardens enjoy F-factor.

Chelsea Flower Show revelled in the F-Factor this year, F for foliage, that is.

Anyone who plans to adapt some of the show gardens' plantings in their own garden should go for foliage of all colours because this year's event was awash with it, with flowers taking a back seat in many of the schemes.

Modern designer Diarmuid Gavin gave us waves of lavender not yet in flower with intermittent box topiary. Many visitors wondered if the lack of lavender flowers was intentional or a hiccup, but the garden looked impressive anyway.

Other show gardens featured all manner of foliage plants in a mass of textures and colours, from bold gunneras, to fragile-looking ferns, rich hostas and bamboos which gave movement to the gardens. Much topiary added structure and focal points to a lot of the gardens.

The elegant Japanese maple was much in evidence, producing a rich tapestry of deep burgundies among the green, while wispy ornamental grasses are also still proving popular.

Invest in a few look-at-me foliage plants, the odd phormium or other spiky architectural gem, an acer and some soft grasses, and you'll achieve an F-factor of your own


The Hanover Quay Garden by Diarmuid Gavin used masses of foliage

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