The iconic Chelsea Flower show is an amazing day out. Not only are there beautiful gardens, floral displays and plants to see, but as it is one of the highlights of the London ‘season’ you can also spot plenty of interesting people and fashion. Beautifully dressed ladies teeter along in sky-high heels, some even wearing hats or fascinators. Seasoned veterans of Chelsea are dressed for comfort in light layers (perhaps a summer dress and a light sweater or shawl or linen trousers, blouse and a jacket) and flat shoes. The British Broadcasting Corporation covers Chelsea incredibly thoroughly, with programmes on television every day and night of the show, so there are plenty of famous presenters to be seen – and other famous faces appear from time to time as well, although many of them attend on the Press day or Royal Horticultural Society members only days.
I wrote about some of the gardens my husband and I enjoyed this year in a previous post which you can see by clicking here. Another garden we enjoyed was the B&Q Garden in the photographs above, which was attempting to show that you really can grow vegetables and fruit to feed your family absolutely everywhere. Geometric rows of herbs made a beautiful display at ground level, while on the window ledges of a glass tower designed to mimic the stairs of an apartment building, tomatoes and other vegetables spilled over the edges of window boxes.
Although there was less of it this year than other years, Chelsea gardens often have the theme of growing your own food, or combining edible plantings with decorative ones.
Another garden I just have to share was the Literary Garden, designed by Martin Cook and Bonnie Davies. I loved the verses and poems that were hand carved into the sundial, bench, water features and bridge. Although I normally prefer more structured plantings, I really liked the more informal, overgrown style of this garden which created a hideaway effect.
Of course, flowers themselves do play a huge role in the Chelsea Flower Show, and this is where I get my tulip and hyacinth bulbs every year, choosing them by name from baskets full of these beautiful flowers in full bloom, ticking the boxes on my order form and dreaming of the display my garden will produce next year. You can buy anything from seeds and bulbs to fully-grown plants here, from the exotic to the ordinary. Growers and plant breeders compete to display their wares in appealing ways, and prizes are given for the best presentations. I was really taken with this tunnel of clematis. Walking through it was such a pleasure, as you were literally surrounded on all sides by really striking flowers climbing over a tunnel.
I’ve still got lots more to share with you from Chelsea, including the amazing floristry creations that were on display, but I will have to save that for another post. In the meantime, let me leave you with The Art of Yorkshire designed by Gillespies. Reflecting the work of Yorkshire artists such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and David Hockney, the garden features an iPad inspired frame that encourages visitors to look at it as if through the eyes of an artist. Like so much of Chelsea, it was absolutely stunning.