Caravan Club makes dazzling debut at the Chelsea Flower Show

Doris the caravan is the focus point of Jo Thompson's latest garden design
Doris the caravan is the focus point of Jo Thompson's latest garden design

Tuesday, 22, May 2012 04:27

by Maeve O'Donnell

The Chelsea Flower Show showcases the best garden designs from around the world each year and for 2012 a lovingly-restored 1950s caravan is one of the main attractions.

To celebrate its 105th anniversary, The Caravan Club has teamed up with well known garden designer Jo Thompson to present 'A Celebration of Caravanning'.

The garden will be on display all this week in Chelsea (May 22nd to 26th) and is the first in the history of the show to feature a caravan.

The garden is a celebration, not just of caravans, but of all things British and hails 'staycations' and traditional pastimes.

Click here to see more images of the garden

The aim behind the garden is to highlight the fun and freedom that a caravan holiday can offer, but also to show what else caravans can be used for.

Whilst on a caravan holiday on the Isle of Wight last year with her family, Jo was enthralled by the vintage caravans she spotted and liked a particular one so much she brought it home with her.

The 60-year-old aluminium caravan, which has been named Doris, is now the star attraction of Jo's third Chelsea Flower Show appearance.

And fittingly, the caravan will also be celebrating its Diamond Anniversary this year, since it was built in 1952 - the same year that the Queen was coronated.

A celebration of staycations

So many people have grown up holidaying in the UK and Jo has tried to capture the memories people have of the simple activities caravanning brings and allow people to fully relive past experiences.

Jo and her team began working on the garden on the 4th May and until today, she says, they have been "knee deep in mud", it has been non-stop work to get everything ready for the highly anticipated show.

The design is an insight into the idyllic world of classic touring holidays and the retro caravan is homage to years gone by, but it also provides a perfect example of how a caravan can work in anyone's garden.

It could be a playhouse for children, an office, extra accommodation or simply part of the garden's design.

Jo explained:"It is designed as a real garden and to show caravans can be multi-use, they're not just for towing."

Alongside Doris the caravan is a beautiful mix of pink, purple and cream flowers with Jo's signature naturalistic woodland style which makes it feel slightly wild and is reminiscent of the countryside that caravanners have been touring for decades.

Geraniums, irises and roses mix with Chinese birches, which give the otherwise traditional garden a modern twist. A patchwork hammock, dog kennel and stream complete the design and are also included as a reminder of how a caravan can be a home-from-home.

CaravanTimes went along to the show to catch up with Jo and she was overwhelmed by the positive response from the public, "It's bonkers, so many people are looking at it" she said.

The garden has already been awarded a Silver Gilt but you can still vote for it to win the People's Choice at

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