Dan Pearson's Laurent Perrier garden, complete with trout stream, must be a front runner. L'Occitane Perfumer's Garden in Grasse by James Basson is so charming that it might also get the vote, but I'm going to suggest the following two for People's Choice.
The first is a bit of a no-brainer. Matt Keightley's Sentebale - Hope in Vulnerability is a warm garden supporting a worthwhile cause, showing a delightful scene, and with the backing of a favourite royal who is carrying on his mother's work.
It includes stunning attention to detail. They weren't showing up well in the rain on Monday, but the footsteps created in the sandstone paving are taken from children at the camp in Lesotho, with spacing based on the stride of Matt's six-year-old nephew walking, jogging and running. The stone has even been shotblasted twice to lighten the area around the footprints, giving the impression of wet sand when it is trodden on. If you'd like to see how this effect was created, London Stone, who provided the sandstone paving, gives full details on their website.)
Materials and building methods have been used that echo those used in Lesotho and I think visitors will respond warmly to the planting that colourfully evokes the energy and spirit of the children.
Morgan Stanley's Healthy Cities Garden by Chris Beardshaw completes his hand, as far as community gardens go, as Chelsea had been the only RHS show for which he hadn't designed one up to now, he told me. This is designed for an empty grassed space, surrounded by flats, that is hardly used in Poplar, a run-down area of London that used to have a lot of - guess - poplars.
Now, I have to admit that Anna Gillespie's bronze, Let Heaven Go, had me wondering about a man who had his guts spilling out and was trying to stop them from hitting the ground. Apparently it's ivy. Either way, it does encapsulate a sense of anguish. "For me," said Chris, "it represents the frustration that individuals and communities feel at the loss of paradise." i.e. a removal from connection with nature.
The garden includes this lovely little touch - an outline of the Thames in London. Poplar was originally wetland, something echoed by the fountains.
And as you progress down the garden you encounter Trust, cast from a figure which was created by pressing acorn cups into wax. The adult carries the child and the child covers the adult's eyes. "It captures the importance of celebrating inter-generational connections and of learning, one generation from another," said Chris. Standing by it, you hear the voices of the Poplar children talking about the enjoyment of being outdoors. It's calm and reflective on the way to...
...the steel poplar designed by Chris himself. It gives passing reference to their pollarding and the past-times production of charcoal. The glass roof provides some shelter, but it also carries a tapestry of shapes that, in the sunshine, cast a shadow of poplar leaves.
The whole is calm, inviting and incorporates rich colours, including those thousand camassias which are distributed to unite the planting. "There's no cheating," said Chris. "You wouldn't plant so densely in a domestic setting, but this is genuine planting exactly as would occur if planting in a real garden." Given that it's moving to be a permanent feature in Poplar, it wouldn't really work any other way but I think visitors also really appreciate a garden where they can picture parts of it at home.
So, will one of these win People's Choice?
Voting has been something of a theme recently, and with the country voting for austerity, perhaps we should ponder, before casting a vote in this poll, where our future spaces are likely to be coming from. "We're fast approaching a situation where local authorities don't have the resources to maintain, let alone initiate garden spaces," said Chris. "It's going to fall on individuals and the corporate world to re-engage people with green spaces.
"As communities, we should be able to challenge local authorities and they should be held to account; there should be a process of developing relationships with those who can provide funding."
Tim Richardson, in his article querying of the suitability of a trout stream at Chelsea, said, "We have the concept of the community garden influencing Chelsea design, with both Morgan Stanley and Homebase jumping on that bandwagon for marketing purposes — though there is precious little evidence that they are supporting such activity out in the real world."
Perhaps it is just done for "marketing purposes". Nevertheless, I don't see the money for projects like this coming from anywhere else, so perhaps we need to show them some encouragement.