Chelsea Flower Show debut for Finnish meadow garden

'Roots in Finland' features local granite, water elements and typical plants from all round the countryside to brighten up a corner of London.

Artist's impression of the 'Roots in Finland' garden appearing at 2019 Chelsea Flower Show / Credit: Royal Horticultural Society

The prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London has been a summer highlight for more than a hundred years. But so far there’s never been a garden from Finland. Next year, that will change.

The ‘Roots in Finland‘ garden will be a 9m x 6m space to showcase the best of Finnish meadow plants and wildlife.

Designed by gardener Taina Suonio, the garden is sponsored by Kyrö Distillery, the Finnish Embassy in London, and a local stone company providing chunks of granite.

“My main message is it’s even more important now than ever that we realise we can bring the nature into the cities” says Suonio, who says her inspiration came from growing up in the Finnish countryside where she learned to respect and enjoy nature.

Among the familiar Finnish plants in the garden are a birch tree, the national flower lily-of- the valley, and a red birch that is found in the Oulu region. There’s also juniper bushes and other botanicals, to reference the gin making process of sponsors Kyrö Distiller.

“My idea for London at the Chelsea Flower Show is to see how beautiful our meadows and woodlands can be. The Royal Horticultural Society was quite surprised when I used so many rich plants in my meadow, and I told them our Finnish meadows are very rich with everything they include” the designer tells News Now Finland.

The team assembling a little piece of Finland in the heart of London have a tough job to bring all the elements of the garden together.

They’ll only be allowed to the site on 6th May next year and everything has to be ready by 19th May.

“Everything has to be planned very well and you don’t have time for mistakes” says Suonio, who studied horticulture in Belfast, where she lived with her family for more than a decade.

No garden representing Finland would be complete without featuring some water, and the ‘Roots in Finland’ space is no exception.

“We have lakes, the Baltic Sea, we have rivers so there is quite many reasons why I have included water in the design. But the main thing is that water is a very important element for us Finns, and obviously you need water to make Kyrö gin!” she says.