Archives for category: Chelsea flower show

From now on  I  will go twice.  A day is undeniably insufficient to take in all the show gardens,  discuss gorgeous flowers with nursery growers. try out new tools, and spend time with my sister Louise.

My favourite image was from the sound garden designed by James Alexander Sinclair


My favourite show garden was the Royal Bank of Canada Garden by Charlotte Harris.   I really wanted to sit inside the pavilion to consider this eloquent design –  I found it mesmerising.  A  true sense of place had been created.     The gnarled Jack Pines were magnificent, the soft planting combinations of Aquilegia, Lilies and Sweet Grass – exquisite.

I hope you enjoy a few of my other images from  Chelsea 2017.  It was, as ever, a truly memorable show.

I have reached a conclusion, I really need to go to Chelsea twice each year. Yet again, I slipped into a complete euphoric state of horticultural happiness within an hour, which rendered my capacity to concentrate to a pretty low-level.  If I said to my sister Lou once I  must have said ” that planting detail is so incredibly beautiful  ” about  a hundred times.

I found it almost impossible  to concentrate on entire show gardens or the floral pavilion nursery stands,  every time I stopped I was drawn into the mesmerizing detail of the planting, and sculptural elements of the designs.

My plan for next year is simple, a day to yet again slip into the sublime dream world that is Chelsea, with a second visit to actually focus on the created beauty that is Chelsea.

Dream like images follow. Enjoy.

Saturday 28th May, a day at my favorite flower show,  with my sister, and a catch up with Carolyn who I met twenty years ago whilst studying for a  post grad in Landscape Architecture. We will discuss design – I am so looking forward to tomorrow.

Lou and I will be there when the gates open at eight, which provides the perfect opportunity to view the show gardens in all their glory before the avenues fill with the Chelsea masses. Followed by  coffee in the artisan area, then  back to the gardens and show stands followed by more coffee and finally several hours in the truly magnificent three acre floral pavillion. The plant sell off bell will ring at 4.00, and horticultural mayhem ensues. In addition to all this, we always make time to test out bespoke garden furniture, and admire  beautiful bird baths

So no new images for this year yet.  These  are a collection of some  of my favorite images of Chelsea over the last ten years.  I cannot wait to see what is in store this year.






For all you gardeners, designer’s and  plant lovers out there, the sense of heightened horticultural excitement was tangible, as my sister and I waited with the crowds  for the gates to open. I have since spent a reasonable amount of time thinking what was it that made  Chelsea 2015  such a great day for me ? I have reached my conclusion.  Show gardens were  memorable owing  to the real  sense of place that had been so gracefully created, through the designers innovative,  intelligent, and solid approach.  Attention to detail in the planting was sublime.  Additionally  many of the  gardens  were  quite dissimilar, so no blue print this year, which is  always a bonus. Geums, Roses and Peonies   were abundant, all looking  exquisite.  I could have easily  moved into several of the show gardens, in particular  the Olive Grove in the perfumers garden , sponsored by L’OCCITANE.  I  would have also  liked to have bought  the entire Peony stock from Binny Plants, and herbaceous stock  from Hardys nursery. I am now on a Geum hunt. Mrs Bradshaw might be taking a sharp exit from many of the gardens in my care. I am thinking more of Geum Totally Tangerine.  I am also searching  for boulders – unfortunately not quite of the  Chatsworth scale, they  were breathtakingly beautiful.  Who would have thought a boulder could be described as such. It is  true, believe me it is all in the detail.   Enjoy.021023026066064080090107110120149141169 This is my favourite image of 2015.   This stunning willow sculpture by Tom Hare was on the Breast Cancer Haven Garden.  It was so beautifully crafted.051


Chelsea is almost here, and I love it .   Meaningful  conversations with specialist growers.  Seriously well designed show gardens which have not been overworked and  where a  real sense of place and balance has been created through the perfect combination of hard and soft landscaping,  Feverish note taking on new  must have plants  and playing  Chelsea bingo with the  winner being the recipient  of a Pimms.  What  does the latter entail ? Listening out for conversations  which contain  “form,texture and colour” “I think I’ve seen a  celebrity”   “I’m sure I could make that at home “,”I don’t quite get the concept”   Get ten of the same and bingo, it really is as simple as that.  You really should give all of these  Chelsea activities  a try.

All the images in this post are some of my favourites  from previous Chelsea visits.  Enjoy.

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I have never said that it is not busy, or does not rain though..DSCN0867DSCN0983DSCF4454


It was a particularly rain-swept visit to Chelsea this year. Undeterred, Carolyn and I decided that the monsoonal weather did provide some great photographic opportunities.


Being a Chelsea fan I do get fed up with comments on the ticket price,and the crowds. Speaking for the tens of thousands of people who choose to go, it is a truly remarkable horticultural experience, design ideas to soak up,nursery men and women to talk with and new plants to be wowed by. It is my favourite day of the year. If you think it is expensive, well just don’t go is my simple answer.


If I had to have an overall favourite show garden then it would go to Hugo Bugg for his RBC Waterscape Garden. I found the design fresh and innovative. I loved the tessellated tiles. It was engaging, in fact it was mesmerizing. I felt that this was a complete garden. The internal spaces linked together seamlessly to create an incredibly well structured and cohesive design. I loved the choice of Hugo’s planting, particularly the Anenome White Swan.

I thought the planting around the pool in the No Man’s Land garden was perfectly beautiful.

Admittedly I did find one or two of the main show gardens just a little on the bland side (design wise) with water features and borders which were safe on the eye,offering no visual challenges that are so important in moving garden design forward.

There are certain gardens which I still have a strong visual memory of from years ago. Diarmuid Gavin’s show gardens always packed a great design punch. In 2007 there was a brilliantly bold garden by Sarah Eberle, which was a representation of a terrestial space garden on the planet Mars.


The floral marquee is always fantastic,the range of plants was eye-popping and the floral dresses were of great skill an beauty. On Saturday I think they had the largest queue of anything we saw.

Maybe I should get my act together,stop criticising others and work up a scheme with my landscape and garden designing friends and see where it takes us. No safe planting,plenty of excavation,lots of deep dark colours and a sculpture or two.

So here are some of my top images. This sculpture was my most memorable view of the whole show. It stopped me in my tracks. It was an incredibly powerful statement and made me think of a persons capacity of finding internal strength and the ability to keep on keeping on when life gets a bit tough. I really wanted to buy it.


My two top flowers were Verbascum Gainsborough – a beautiful primrose yellow colour and Cersium heterophyllum – an iridescent purple thistle like perennial. I am going to invest in both.

So home now trying to get to grips with my own garden – it may take some time .