Three cheers for Chelsea


Chelsea meant boots when we were teenagers – fast-forward 50 years or so and now it means a fantastic day out for all three of us at the Greatest Flower Show in the World!

This year it was definitely all about the lupins but Laura wasn’t impressed:

“The trouble with lupins is they put so much of their energy into that slightly mutant, supercharged flower stalk that a) they eclipse all the more subtle plants around them b) they collapse into an ugly bug-ridden heap after their moment of glory,” (oh dear, this won’t happen to Meghan, will it?)

Our Chelsea gang after the 4pm sell-off this year

But the show was bursting with opportunities to award the Growbags’ own annual Chelsea Golds, starting with the best overheard comment; the contenders are – 

Could it really all be gin?

On seeing women queuing to admire the sauna box on the Viking Cruises Wellbeing garden, a husband confidently advised his wife, “That’s the queue for the Ladies if you want to go, love”.

And, the young’un (under 40 to us) who came into the David Austin Rose stand, and asked her companion ‘Mmmm what’s that lovely smell?”

But the winner was a slightly tipsy lady gazing into the large water feature on the Silent Pool Gin stand, who asked her friend in a rather awe-inspired and hopeful whisper, ‘So is the entire pool actually gin?’ 

sparkly star state
Encouragingly our destiny does look rather lovely in the Chelsea sun

There is much to puzzle over at Chelsea and in our ‘What Da? category was the David Harber and Savills garden ‘The Ascent of Man’ which was way beyond Elaine’s comprehension, “So the zenith of human evolution is a gold disco ball?”

While Laura wrestled with the concept of paying £48,000 for an elongated, inverted man (actually considerably cheaper than the real thing the right way up and, to be fair, never going to hog the TV remote).

Has Chelsea then, got too ‘Damien Hirst’ for us old dears?

Is this what your garden needs?

Well as always plants saved the day and we all awarded the one we’d most like to take home:

Laura: “The outstanding plant for me was every single one on Sarah Price’s show garden. In fact, forget the plants, I’d just like Sarah Price to come and live at ours” (this also got husband Tim’s vote)

Elaine: “I thought Laura would go for the new David Austin rose ‘Tottering By Gently’, poor old thing.  My choice would definitely be the Plant of the Year Winner – Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ – very pretty indeed”.

The runaway bride – go girl!

Caroline: “Frankly I liked the lupins”. 

Our final award was our best moment of the day: Laura’s was when she managed to persuade some poor garden designer to haul out a dripping tub of Iris fulva and to be allowed to take the whole soggy mess on the minibus back to her car. Caroline’s was singing along to ‘The Siegfried Line’ with several glasses of rose wine already under her belt, and Elaine’s was making it to the show at all following the birth of her latest grandson, Stanley, at 4.00 am that morning!

NB Away from the hustle and bustle of Chelsea, Louise has a wonderfully calming Great Plant this Month It even has ‘tea’ in its name.


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  1. Great report, as always, ladies! Rather like the look of that hydrangea too. Congratulations to all on Stanley’s arrival. Impeccable timing!

    1. Thank you so much Betsy, we really did have a lovely time. Yes if it had been a little girl Cam and Martin could have called her Chelsey!

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