Plant yourself in the
Rose Martin encourages all keen gardeners, designers and flower
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.