AN AFTERNOON AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW

I make no secret of my love of being in the garden. Some may think I’m a bit old before my time and maybe I am, but I embrace it as it’s something I’ve loved since I was about 8 years old (I’ve always been a bit old beyond my years it seems) after a neighbour gave me my first ever packet of seeds. Mum tells me I take after her as she started growing her own fruit, veg and flowers at that age too, unfortunately though I’m not quite as green fingered as her. I’ve noticed over the last year or two, an increased buzz around gardening. Perhaps it’s the lack of garden space in cities sparking more of an interest in growing your own fruit & veg or flowers, but more and more people are getting the gardening bug!

I’ve wanted to experience the Royal Horticultural Society’s, Chelsea Flower Show for so long and this year I was able to grab some tickets as a birthday present for my mum, before they all sold out. We spent an amazing afternoon at Chelsea, it was just as magical as we’d both hoped it would be. The weather was gorgeously sunny, the gardens were beautiful and it was a great spot for people watching, everyone’s Chelsea outfits were on point. I was so pleased Mum loved it and her hayfever didn’t stop her from having a great time. It’s great to have spend some quality time with her!

As you’d expect at Chelsea, the show gardens were stunning! The Morgan Stanley Garden was one of my favourites. Designed by award winning garden designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw, the garden is inspired by the patterns found in nature, music, art and social communities. I’d love to have such a colourful garden.

Community is an important aspect of the wider garden project with one of the aims being to provide educational opportunities for young people and this year’s garden involved the children of Stebon Primary School, in East London. They created paintings from plant patterns, forming the basis for a print to be used on the ceiling of the loggia which was donated to the school after the show for outside learning and performances.

Breast Cancer Now is dedicated to funding research into breast cancer and the Breast Cancer Now Garden: ‘Through the Microscope’, was inspired by the work of Breast Cancer Now’s researchers.

It was a really thought provoking garden, drawing inspiration from the work of breast cancer researchers working in the lab, in particular looking through microscopes in their aim to stop breast cancer taking more lives. The circles in the garden represent microscope lenses, which are aligned to focus on a black microscope slide at the back of the garden and a circle of magnified healthy cells. The planting scheme and of the circular cell shapes are designed to illustrate the idea of ‘magnification’.

The Silk Road Garden was inspired by the rich history and culture of Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. Chengdu’s history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the ancient Shu Kingdom.Since ancient times the city has been known as ‘the abundant land’ thanks to its fertile soil and favourable climate.

The garden combines architectural and planting design to conceptually represent the different landscape features of Chengdu and the surrounding Sichuan Province, showcasing some of the many garden plants familiar in the West which originate from China. At the centre of the garden the symbol of the 3,000 year old Sun and Immortal Bird legend of Chengdu sits on a central sqaure. A ‘silk road’ path runs through the garden, to celebrate the commercial, cultural and horticultural legacy of the historic Silk Road trade route, and the Su-Embroidery masters of Chengdu.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden aimed to highlight the beauty of Yorkshire and inspire people to experience the county for themselves. The garden celebrated the beautiful Yorkshire coast by bringing a slice of it to the heart of the capital. The garden is inspired by the rugged natural beauty of Yorkshire’s shorelines, historic buildings and agricultural heritage. The garden contained a ruined abbey, chalk cliffs, a beach and the sea complete with boat and gentle waves lapping the shore.

Inspired by an abandoned Maltese quarry, the M&G Garden featured monumental blocks of limestone planted with grasses, evergreens and perennials unique to the arid Mediterranean island. The garden was divided into a number of zones, each with its own ecology, from shrubland, to garrigue landscape to cliff top. The designer’s message behind the garden creation is that humans have to take action to preserve the fragile environment of our planet. Environmental ideas such as sustainable water disposal, recycling and composting are all are vital if Malta is to save its beautiful and delicate landscapes.

I of course spent a lot of time marvelling over all the beautiful Peonies! We’d hadn’t seen a collection like it before and the flowers and range of colours were stunning. If I could I’d buy one of each to plant in the garden. Can never have too many peonies in my opinion

The sheer work to get the displays to Chelsea, put them together and keep all the plants happy must have been immense, but the visual displays at Chelsea were incredible.

I loved the ‘Floral Safari’ displays along the way to the show as part of Chelsea in Bloom, Chelsea’s prestigious annual floral art show and competition. Produced by the Cadogan Estate in association with the RHS, the displays have grown dramatically each year with Chelsea’s retailers, restaurants and hotels adorning themselves with creative designs to compete for the sort atfer awards.

Chelsea flower show is definitely an amazing experience and I hope to attend again next year. For those of you in London who’d like to get more into all things garden related and didn’t get a chance to head to Chelsea, you can catch up on the garden action and have a similar experience at the Hampton Court Flower Show coming up in July. I’ll be heading along with a friend, so I may even see you there. It’s also worth checking out the RHS website here, for other garden shows through the year around the UK.

Jx

*This is not a sponsored post, all views are based on my own experience.

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