So as many of you now know, Catherine and I are at the 100th Chelsea Flower Show. We’ve already shared the story of Harry but as promised today’s post is about the Chelsea Flower Show itself. To avoid misleading you I will confess upfront that garden shows aren’t generally my thing, however we are planning a tour for next year and as an aside my wife is an avid gardener, plant lover and an award-winning botanic artist!
The show itself is a sell-out, as it is every year and getting tickets was difficult -even for the owner of a travel agent. If you plan to visit the show make sure you plan well in advance, and lock in your tickets early.
Obviously though the Chelsea Flower Show is not your garden-variety garden show (I couldn’t resist). The exhibits are amazing in scale and design, the effort and cost that has gone into each one is clear. This year being the 100th show, the Royal Horticultural Society aimed to make it their biggest and best show yet. Opened, as it has been every year since 1913, by the Royal Family the show is popular with Londoners as well as visitors from all over the world to see the show. The Aussies struck gold with a gold medal AND Best In Show, a first for an Australian exhibit, and to do it at the 100th Chelsea Flower Show is a real achievement. The stand out piece of the garden is the Waratah Studio, but it also features a creek, a billabong and extensive plantings of gums, bottle trees and tree ferns. The designer, Phillip Johnson, based the design on his own property in Victoria, even taking recordings of the frogs to play in the exhibit! I might be a little biased, but I feel it was a well-deserved win.
My wife’s favourite aspects of the show included the ceiling of hippeastrums, the huge display of pots of tulips in a myriad colours and the Alcove garden. I thought the brightly coloured celebrity designed gnomes added lots of colour and a bit of fun. We also liked the Arthritis UK Research garden which has been announced as the People’s Choice Award winning garden, it featured planting and sculptures meant to depict the impact of Arthritis on sufferer’s lives.
Surprisingly, the show spills out into Chelsea and its surrounds with a majority of shops and restaurants in the Chelsea area really get into the spirit of the show. Whether a dress shop, pub or fine dining restaurant many of the shops decorate their stores inside and out in Chelsea Flower show style, giving Chelsea a really lovely and colourful feel.
So, would I recommend the garden show? I think it’s a must see for anyone and both Catherine and I really enjoyed it – perhaps one a little more than the other!
Owner – Harvey World Travel Gordon