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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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