The Chelsea Flower Show

This is the week of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 – the most excting date in the garden lovers’ calendar! I was lucky enough to visit the Chelsea Flower Show last year and was not disappointed in the array of floral and garden inspiration!

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There were plants and gardens of different shapes and sizes at every turn as well as clever design tricks envisaged, garden buildings incorporated, stunning water features bubbling and bursting forth and crowds and crowds of garden lovers soaking in the plethora of inspiration!

Certain things really stuck out on my visit last year to Chelsea and the first was that the show gardens are so much smaller when you are there than they look on the TV.  I follow the coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show each year with the BBC but I was amazed at how small some of the gardens actually were but also reassured that some of their features could therefore, be easily incorporated into small gardens.

I was also struck by the fact that the planting although dense, wasn’t always perfectly manicured and this is the attempts by the designers to naturalise the planting to make it look more real in a very artifical situation. A lot of the gardens teetered on the edge of being slightly chaotic but that in itself brought a new way to look at planting combinations.

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One of the most pleasant aspects of visiting Chelsea for me was that I recognised so many of the plants in the gardens. I had thought that there would be lots of very rare and fancy plants used in order to wow the judges but the best gardens at the Show used plants which we know and love and grow in our UK gardens. At almost every turn there were foxgloves, salvias, ferns, lupins, hostas, delphinimuns, roses and peonies packed in for maximum impact and as these are amongst my most favourite plants, it was truly a joy to behold them in such splendid conditions and combinations.

The colours were very muted last year across the whole Chelsea pallette: pinks, purples and whites, all the colours I love so again, it was just so wonderful to see how the designers had paired these shades.

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It wasn’t all plants on show, in the Great Pavillion there were areas dedicated to growing vegetables, to ecotherapy, to water saving schemes and it was in the Great Pavillion that you could really get up close and personal with the growers and designers and ask them for growing tips and advice! Many stands inside were dedicated to just one species of plant in all its glorious combinations.

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If you ever have the opportunity to get to The Chelsea Flower Show, it is well worth the visit for the inspiration on hand, for the enthusiasm of the exhibitors and for the sheer celebration of plants and what our garden could be!

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