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Behind the scenes at the Chelsea Flower Show


Words by Alan Russell

Celebrated landscape designer Randle Siddeley describes his treehouse garden at this year’s show.

When most people picture a treehouse, they imagine a small wooden hut balanced on a branch. But, when Blue Forest make a treehouse, the results are much more impressive. From woodland hideaways to garden playgrounds, as well as boat houses, lake houses, and holiday cabins, their sustainable timber structures are both beautiful and comfortable.

The Botanical Tree House by Blue Forest. It won the Best Trade Stand Award at the Chelsea Flower Show 2024 (photo credit: Chris Taylor).

The Botanical Treehouse

This year’s display at the Chelsea Flower Show is no exception. The Botanical Treehouse features an entertainment tower with a ground-floor ice cream stall and cocktail stand, a first-floor bar and barbeque, and a terrace-like space suspended above the Main Avenue, offering views over the surrounding gardens from its banquette seating.

That was where we spoke to Randle Siddeley, who designed the garden for Blue Forest’s 2024 stand. It was the third year he has worked with the team, and their best collaboration so far. ‘In the previous two years we’ve been slightly constricted by space,’ Randle explains. But this spring they had a larger plot, while the double-storey treehouse allowed for more varied planting.

The Grand Gala

Randle has been coming to the Chelsea Flower Show since the start of his career. ‘Chelsea is the kick-off of the season, it’s the grand gala,’ he tells us. ‘To be here at Chelsea is always important to me.’

The first time Randle designed a garden for Chelsea was in the Eighties. He was invited by Graham Rose, senior gardening correspondent for The Sunday Times, but they had to beg, scrape and borrow to put together a budget. Over the years his gardens have grown larger and more ambitious, including a spectacular eco-garden in 2007. He was also awarded five stars at the Chelsea Flower Show for a previous collaboration with Blue Forest, called the Magical Hideaway.

Blue Forest was founded two decades ago by Andy Payne. Having grown up in East Africa, Andy was used to playing outdoors as a child. He also studied carpentry in Japan, where the name of his company was inspired by the pine forests of Aomori, which translates as Blue Forest. Since then, they have gained a reputation as the leading creators of treehouses, whether fantasy castles for children or upmarket garden accommodations for adults.


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