Growbag Blog

Chelsea Flower Show brings out the worst and best in the Growbags

Jurassic waterfalls, a garden made of random non-essential walls and the top prize going controversially to a reproduction of a piece of scruffy British countryside – it must be Chelsea Flower Show and we absolutely loved it!

The party atmosphere on this final Saturday of Chelsea is an annual ‘must’ for us. All other priorities….husbands, grandchildren, ill-health (and, whisper it, the family budget), are put aside. Like the Great Escape we gather from being 600 miles apart, for a day of friendship, banter and Prosecco but make no mistake – we’re still focused on the bargains at 4pm…


There were a few setbacks this year – only one rose grower was selling off its stock…bad behaviour alert.

When I realised Elaine had, on an earlier visit to the Peter Beales rose stand, reserved the very rose that I coveted – ‘Oxford Physic’, egged on by Caroline, a little sabotage was plotted…..


So whilst my sisters were up to no good behind my back it was left to me to pick the winners in our annual alternative Chelsea Awards. The Plant I Most Wanted to Take Home goes to the wonderfully glamorous and impressive delphiniums on the Home Farm Plants stand in the Marquee.  Any of them. Each spike of flower was a masterpiece of shape, form and colour. I would die of pride if I was ever able to grow anything like that.

Ah, those glorious delphiniums on the Home Farm Plants stand!

My What Da? winner was the glaring, jarring colour of the hoops and …’things’ in the St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots Garden. I have no idea how the garden is supposed to be ‘bestowed with a sense of tranquillity’ when the crazy shades of the hard landscaping made the planting seem a paper-thin irrelevance.

I couldn’t get the St Mungo vibe at all…..

Mind you, the dreadful neon sign at the end of the otherwise beautifully-planted and crafted Perennial Garden, ran St. Mungo’s a close second in my view.

Gorgeous garden but why did they have to stick a telly at the top?

Our Overheard Comment award went to a salesman on one of the trade stands who viciously swatted a bee as it cruised busily from Joe Perkins’ Meta Garden towards other enticing flowers on the Hands Off Mangrove Garden: “Can’t stand those bloody things!’ he said, finishing off one of the show’s precious pollinators with a firm stamp of his foot.

And now to my Best Moment of the Day. Already in love with the colours and arrangements of the planting in the swooningly pretty Morris & Co. Garden, it was a delight to walk around the corner and see that the structure behind the flowers actually complemented them beautifully (unusual!) – well done, Ruth Wilmott, I thought this garden was a triumph.

The William Morris garden where the structure actually looked RIGHT with the planting……

But actually my absolute Best Moment was when Aaron on the Henchman Ladders stand handed me their latest catalogue complete with images from our recent day with them. Don’t you agree, Laura and I are taking charge of that garden cart like true professionals!


Having flown down from the Highlands just the night before, it was initially lovely to be shepherded around the show by my older and wiser (so they tell me) sisters. But predictably before long my choice of plant purchases was causing them problems. ‘You haven’t flown all the way from Scotland to the Chelsea Flower Show to buy amaryllis bulbs’ was Laura’s exasperated comment.

Luckily my salvation was my insistence that we visit the Scottish themed Still Garden (our feature picture this week) which even they had to admit was one of the classiest stands at the show and redeemed their faith that I did, after all, have a degree of horticultural good taste.

In fact such was Laura’s admiration of the planting choices made by talented designer Jane Porter, that she bought most of the garden in the four o’clock sell off.

Chelsea 2022
My reputation restored, we left with the usual over-ambitious haul of wonderful plants

Find out more about the brilliant ladders that Henchman make here.

Those glorious delphiniums are sold by Home Farm Plants – it would be terrible rude not to call in and see them when you’re next in Hertfordshire, don’t you think!

There were geums aplenty at Chelsea but Louise has chosen the absolute best as her Plant of the Moment this week. Click on the box below to find out which is one it is.

NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

9 replies on “Chelsea Flower Show brings out the worst and best in the Growbags”

Totally with you on Mungo’s mess & as for that neon I thought I was alone in hating it….????

Glad you agree, Alan. It was such an extraordinary decision to put that awful sign at the back of a lovely classically-planted garden like that, wasn’t it. It would have fitted better into the St Mungo’s garden! Ah well, we had such a great day there, I’m in the mood to forgive everyone everything, and if we felt that the designers had got everything right, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun! All the best, Elaine.

Thank you so much for this report. I absolutely love my garden but my trip to Chelsea this year was in front of the TV. Your account brought it to life. I am left wondering how Caroline gets her purchases on the plane….

Hello you lucky girls, good weather, good fun, one or two horror stories (bee killer and St Mungo’s stand) but ohhhhhh, that Oxford Physic; just so beautiful … next on the purchase list for me. Thanks as ever x

Scott thank you so much, what a laugh we had together. Caroline here, and yes that rose is new and had a slightly eye-watering price tag as a consequence but both my sisters have visited the Oxford Physic garden in the last few months and were determined to have it! It certainly is a beauty though and deserves a place on your list. Very best wishes to you X

Have loved reading this weeks blog with a lovely morning coffee. After watching Chelsea all week, we couldn’t agree more on the Perennial Garden – as my partner said, ‘what was that screen all about’?? But great to have our very own correspondents telling it their way – well done ladies ???.
Ps did you get a look at the Kevock stand?

Oh Liz thank you so much. Well it’s all a matter of taste isn’t it, Caroline here and I quite liked the screen in the Perennial garden but that’s the thing about Chelsea isn’t it – it gets people talking! So funny you mentioning Kevock. It was, as you no doubt saw, the usual masterpiece we’ve come to expect. I spotted a marvellous Meconopsis staintonii on their stand which Laura told me quite plainly I did not have the skills to manage (borne out by the Kevock actually). I’ll post it on social media though – it was stunning! Without a single doubt you should come with us next year!X

Totally agree with your comments about Chelsea..though I did quite like the swim spa garden too ‘ Out of the Shadows.What was the point of the best in show garden…..!

Yes, Irene, we did like that one too, actually, though we weren’t too sure whether we would be taking much advantage of the climbing bars etc. – we all find gardening strenuous enough exercise as it is, without adding to it! I thought the ‘beaver’ garden was actually much prettier than it looked on the TV, but we just just felt that it was a very cleverly-planted chunk of landscape rather than a garden. Ah well, what a boring show it would be if we all agreed! All the best, Elaine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.