Shou Sugi Ban® often features in garden landscaping projects and the contrast between charred timber and natural foliage has been showcased to a wider audience this week. Exterior Solutions Ltd supplied Shou Sugi Ban® charred timbers for a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit; let us tell you more.

Wild Planting and Natural Materials

Every May, since 1912, the grounds of Chelsea Hospital are transformed into a world-renowned event. The Chelsea Flower Show brings together garden designers, landscape gardeners, florists, plant specialists and more. It attracts thousands of visitors including celebrities and members of the Royal Family.

For 2022, the Chelsea Flower Show theme is ‘Wild and Natural Spaces’ with exhibitors focused on naturalistic design, a variety of native species and greater biodiversity. With the focus back on nature, it was great that Rewilding, a garden designed by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt, was voted best in show.

The annual show also includes the Balcony and Container gardens. These illustrate that limited outdoor space isn’t a barrier to creative planting and growing a diverse range of species. Even the smallest outdoor spaces can become havens for wildlife.

Garden design isn’t just about plants. The hard landscaping materials and products add structure, form and points of interest. The choice of landscaping materials complements the style of the garden design and enhances the planting scheme. This is where charred timber cladding comes into play – have you spotted it in the Houseplant Studio?

Shou Sugi Ban® at Chelsea


Discover the Houseplant Studio

In recent years, the benefits of nature on our wellbeing have been widely recognised. As a result, biophilic design has become increasingly popular for home and office interiors. It focuses on bringing the outside in, by optimising natural light, organic materials and indoor planting. Biophilic design is a sensory experience, adding visual, textural and aromatic cues to enhance the environment.

In response to the growing interest in indoor plants, the Royal Horticultural Society introduce the Houseplant Studio to the Chelsea Flower Show in 2021. This offers inspiration to anyone wanting to see the potential for connecting living and working spaces with the outside world.

Botanical Rhapsody featuring Shou Sugi Ban®

Mak Gilchrist (Founder and Creative Director) and Pascale Duval (Designer) of The Edible Bus Stop® have created a full sensory experience with their houseplant exhibit; Botanical Rhapsody. Their design uses sound, vision, touch and scent to convey how plants interact with their environment.

Influenced by East Asian styles, Botanical Rhapsody features materials including clay and yakisugi, the traditional Japanese technique of timber charring. We were delighted when we were contacted by The Edible Bus Stop® asking if we could supply Shou Sugi Ban® timbers for their exhibit. We loved their concept and it was an opportunity we couldn’t resist!

The blackened wood provides a strong backdrop to their planting scheme, creating contrasts in colour, tone and texture. We were excited to see how it works alongside exotic Phalaenopsis pantherine, black-stemmed Alocasia marorrhiza and fan-leafed Caryota mistis. The design collaboration with Natural Symphony and Lights on Design brings to life the immersive sensory experience.


Silver Gilt Award Winners

We were delighted to hear that Botanical Rhapsody was presented with a Silver Gilt Award on Tuesday. This is an incredible achievement and we hope it will further elevate the success of the Edible Bus Stop team. We feel honoured that our charred timber cladding was an integral part of this Chelsea Flower Show exhibit.

Didn’t Make it to Chelsea Flower Show?

The popularity of the Chelsea Flower Show means tickets sell out fast. The good news is that extensive BBC coverage of the event enables us all to see the gardens and exhibits on live broadcasts and catch up. The RHS website also provides highlights of the event – don’t forget to look at The Houseplant Studio page to see our charred timbers in the Botanical Rhapsody design. Does this look inspire your garden or biophilic interior design?