When planning our cruise down the Dalmatian Coast and parts of Italy, I allowed for a few days in Paris, (which I hope you have enjoyed reading about) but we had to be in England in time for the Chelsea Flower Show. I think this was my fifth visit and it was my sister’s second, but it’s always different, always a day of bliss for me and for any gardeners from anywhere in the world. Susanne and I took over a thousand photos each, so I’ll have to do this in sections, selecting a few of my favourites to share with you.
Brilliant colour was the first thing that wowed us as we entered the huge tent full of prize winning entries. Aren’t these stunning?
We were like kids in not just a lolly shop, but a whole factory filled with every kind of delicious sweet treat that anyone had ever created. Pure bliss. Where to start?
One of the things I love about the Chelsea Flower Show is seeing the way that displays are presented as if they were real gardens which had simply grown here over several years. In reality, everything is trucked in from all over the country. The skill and imagination of those fortunate enough to be chosen as presenters, deserves all the praise, thanks and business that they can get in return for giving us gardeners so much inspiration and pleasure.
The combinations of colours and the clever use of props, like this pergola caught my eye. Putting this deep purple and brilliant orange together sounds garish, but in a garden it looks stunning.
I think the main purpose of displaying plants inside the tent is supposed to be so that everyone can admire the prize winners. I just wanted to take theses bearded irises home with me. The combinations of colours, especially in the dark varieties are so rich and luscious, I wish I could grow whole swathes of them in my garden at home.
The tulip displays blow my mind. I’ve tried growing some at home but Western Australia is too hot for these beauties. Despite keeping the bulbs in the fridge for six weeks before planting, I had little success with my second year of what had been spectacular the year I bought them, so now I have to be satisfied with photos. Gorgeous flowers like these help me to understand the tulip mania that occurred in Amsterdam several hundred years ago when those normally sane and financially savvy Dutch citizens went crazy for them.
Another plant that I love but can’t grow in our hot summers, is the clematis. The flowers are so delicate and the colours can be anything from white and palest pink, to stunning cyclamen shades. I love to see them climb around doorways or over a pergola but at Chelsea they were displayed on wire stands, climbing out of this wooden planter, or along pergolas, making them perfect for a wedding.
In my next episode I’ll show you some of the interesting people we saw at the show. I think gardeners are sometimes as colourful and unusual as the plants they grow.