Come on folks – get busy with the unicorn dung

What a splendid day we had at Chelsea!  The sun shone, the flowers amazed, and even the surprisingly LONG QUEUE TO WASH YOUR HANDS after the loo (!) did not deter us from enjoying our day (there was some disgracefully sexist talk in the line about how long men would queue for, to wash their hands). So what did I think?  I was pretty disappointed with most of the Show Gardens.  Too many had messy planting schemes, or very odd hard-landscaping.  I cannot see why a garden in Jordan, or Provence, or wherever it was that Andy Sturgeon was...

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Racy wives, silver medal sorrows and that Binny Plant stand…..

A 3.30pm entry ticket to the Chelsea Flower Show on the Tuesday is a thing of great joy. The early bird day-trippers are feeling weary and drift off home allowing you to tour the plantsman’s paradise that is the grand pavilion with relative ease and whilst the exhibits are still fresh and crisp from the previous day’s judging. After a reviving tea break you can then promenade around the outside show gardens in the evening sunshine. At 5.30 the atmosphere changes once again as the final tranche of show goers are allowed entry, and with only a couple of hours...

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Was Prosecco the undoing of Princess Kate at Chelsea?

We’re all off to glorious Chelsea Flower Show this week. Here are five things I love about it: 1. It’s completely mad. How ridiculous to virtually dig up and re landscape an area of our capital city simply for a flower show. I just love that we do it every year. 2. It’s  in a  trendy part of London. For country bumpkins like us there is still something exciting  about the Chelsea embankment. It makes us feel cosmopolitan. 3. The camaraderie you sense on every part of your journey. You can spot fellow show goers on the train, fingering their...

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Peonies pile on the pleasure of early summer

What a gladsome thing a peony is!  Peonies are the ‘over-the-tops’ of late spring and early summer from the buxom ‘officinalis’ beauties so often seen in cottage gardens to the glamorous ‘suffruticosa’ tree peonies with their sumptuous blooms. About 12 years ago, I fell for one of these in a garden-centre; it’s called Handaijin (very dully translated as ‘Minister of Flowers’  – hang on, that’s quite a good idea for the next time we have a Cabinet Reshuffle”…) , it is now six feet tall, with the most beautiful grey/pink leaves preceding lots of frankly unbelievable dinner-plate sized flowers of bright reddish-purple.  (I...

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