Interest in the #Chelsea Flower Show

will soon burst into the stampede of wildebeest hooves.

Whatever anyone makes of this flower show at the tippity-top of its genre for head turning, celebrity spotting, product pushing and hat wearing, there are good answers to why bother?  Why  track it by telly?   Why get tickets  and jostle with the crowds made up of people that are always taller than you?   Why read the weight of copy churned out in newsprint?

The secret is that amongst all the razzmatazz and  hordes there are two magnets.  One is that it really is horticultural – this may get tugged a little askew for the odd outbreak of plasticine but the rafts of judges take their specialist duties very seriously.  See below the Carnivorous Plant Judges weighing the merits of the sarracenias.  And then the tiers  of delphiniums and lupins in the Grand marquee are always there  looking on like debenture holders.  As for the vegetables tied up and displayed like Edwardian puddings – they are show-stopping.  Curds of caulis, leeks like hats, parsnips with bullwhip tails.

Magnet two is provided by the  gems of good ideas to carry away and ponder on.  You may not want a whispery Dolomitic garden like this, but may come away just a little entranced with moss.

Over past years there are 3 gardens that have scintillated, resonated and stopped me in my tracks.  Arabella Lennox Boyd’s 1998 garden was of muted  dark green and white, shot with small amounts of blood red, Christopher Bradley Hole’s gabion and iris garden, 1997, was truly pared down.  So too was Dan Pearson’s  flowery mead in 2004.    In the middle of all the super abundance you can still  learn that less is more.


  1. Holleygarden says:

    Inspiration. I think that’s exactly what keeps everyone going to the Chelsea Flower Show! I love that a flower show can get so much publicity. Hopefully, it inspires non-gardeners to try their hands at gardening, too. I would love to go some year, but I suppose I’ll just have to rely upon pictures across the web instead.

  2. Anna B says:

    That moss is gorgeous and the veggie display is amazing! Stunning photo! Thanks for the insight 🙂

  3. I think all the RHS shows are to inspire us, we can all find ideas to adapt for our gardens. The shows that allow plants to be sold always have something for the keen gardener, what better place to buy them than from the nurserymen and women who grow them?

  4. I enjoyed the way you asked, “Why go?” I ask myself the same thing about big garden shows here in the states. They’re hectic events, and jostling is part of the day. But then there are the colors, and the inspiration … and of course the plants. If I lived in England, I would be at the Chelsea Flower Show. I’ll look forward to your reporting on it.

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