We have talked about visiting the flower show at Chelsea many times over the years, sitting comfortably on the sofa, seeing the gardens and flowers, Hearing the explanations of schemes and ideas, from designers given wild budgets and a short time span to create perfection.
This year we did it. planned, booked, arrived and with our friends from Holland we saw everything. We arrived early, left late. Did coffee and cakes, show gardens and small gardens, flower stands and widget sellers. Not a stone left unturned. We used it up and wrung the life out of it, it was a fine time that even the passing storm did not crumple.
It’s an amazing race to see everything, smell the flowers and to try to take in all the different ideas. One of the unusual ideas is the flowers on display, would normally be spread across the year, yet here they are, forced or held back to bloom at the exact moment needed to win a prized medal.
The smaller artisan gardens pack in so much detail, and getting to the front of the crowd can be a challenge when space is limited. But using violence and a loud voice I managed to see the parts I was interested in. Most people are friendly, and move away to let others through. Joggling is an issue though even when using my mono-pod, and getting the focus etc. right with flowers waving in the breeze was a challenge.
My favourite garden was the Japanese moss ball garden, with water wheel, small trees, iris and moss everywhere. I never knew you could use them like this, pinned all over the garden. I had a squeeze, just to see, very spongy. You can tell I am a technical gardener, I have no names, no technical plant information for you here, just pictures and my impressions.
Chelsea is such an icon of the garden and flower world, part of the pull is to say you’ve been there, you do however get drawn to the worlds colours, the people wandering, questions, and displays surround you. It is worth the visit, we have tried to control nature for hundreds of years and here you find the culmination of all the breeding, mixing and searching, whether for show, for scent, to climb, crawl or stand tall, its been done and brought here.
Thrown into all this mix you have garden sculpture, pots, tools, seeds, ideas and heavyside (stonework etc.) even people who will sell you trees, ready to be planted and nearly grown. Chelsea is an amazing trip, fascinating to wander, it draws you in, entices you with colour and scent, with space, sound and gardens.
The whole show is well organised, the staff were friendly and helpful, and we didn’t wait too long for most places and food. Which makes a change in shows like this. We staggered from show garden to coffee shop and cake stall, took the bus there and back without too much trouble. And enjoyed the whole London visit, I always enjoy going back, I grew up in South London so have fun revisiting the city although it was my first stay in Vauxhall.
The gardens of the Chelsea Hospital, filled to the brim. We used the day to its fullest extent. Then on Friday we had a day out in London centre. But that is for another time, we went back to the hotel, had food at the Vauxhall Griffin pub then went to bed, I have no idea how far we walked but I’m sure it was a fair way. Even with breaks you need some stamina to get round. So for now, this is the end of my Chelsea.