Plant your­self in the

Rose Martin en­cour­ages all keen gar­den­ers, de­sign­ers and flower

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

It’s all over for this year — the flow­ers have been taken down, plants sold off in a 4pm stam­pede, and gar­den de­sign­ers are well into fi­nal­is­ing plans and fi­nance for next year’s show.

The great event that is RHS Chelsea Flower Show has passed... so now is the time to plan for next year. This is the trip of a life­time if you’re a gar­dener — yes, there is plant hunting in the Hi­malayas — but noth­ing beats Chelsea as a day out. It’s un­likely that many of us will travel to the outer edges of ob­ses­sion, so for those who love gar­dens, the art of gar­den­ing and the beau­ti­ful bounty of the great out­doors, then Chelsea is the place to visit— at least once.

Take your mam, take your nan, take your­self but get there at some stage as its a bucket-list event, trust me, it’s go­ing to be beau­ti­ful, (as the Don­ald might say). This year, my sec­ond visit, it was still a won­der to be­hold, but the sheer awe of that first en­counter with the Glas­ton­bury of gar­den­ing is hard to repli­cate. That be­ing said, some el­e­ments of the flower show get even bet­ter with each visit. For one, you know your way round the endless fog of crowds and lanes a bit bet­ter and you can flit to the parts you like best first, and re­turn to oth­ers later.

Se­condly, the qual­ity and range of the plants on of­fer never dis­ap­points — and you learn to buy nor, or re­gret at leisure. The more you go, the more you can pare down a visit to the es­sen­tials.

Go in a gang, if you must, but split up and take in the sights singly, it’s too crowded to be con­stantly seek­ing Susan or Mary and it’s easy to ar­range a time and a place to re­con­noitre. That way, every­one gets to do their own thing, and you get to en­joy each other’s com­pany.

Most peo­ple ask, ‘what were the gar­dens like’ — this year, the hon­est an­swer is ‘they were grand’— the Ir­ish ver­sion of damn­ing with faint praise. Yes, they were beau­ti­ful, and achingly ar­chi­tec­tural in places, but there was a same­ness in the plant­ing and ap­proach on Main Av­enue that dulled the senses.

And there were fewer big gar­dens than last year, so the grand ex­plo­sion of de­sign wasn’t there this year. The point, how­ever, is that Main Av­enue is just the ban­ner, the shop win­dow for what is a great big re­tail ex­peri-

“Some things get bet­ter with each visit. For one, you know your way round the endless fog of crowds and lanes, and you can flit to the parts you like best first...

Mary Berry with An­neka Rice in Rice’s Colour Cut­ting Gar­den at the show.

Dahlia MF new pink sin­gle in the Great Pav­il­ion.

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