There’s no doubt about it, this year’s Chelsea is one of the best ever! The recent weather has been kind to the growers and many of the plants are much bigger and better than in previous years. The begonias are double the size of last year (when the growers had to cope with a coolish spring) and the roses have simply loved the recent weather. David Austin told me that the roses are the finest for years.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit during the build up and, best of all, on the press day. The major show gardens are very impressive. I always like Adam Frost’s gardens and he has designed a beauty for Homebase, inspired by his love of the countryside. Some of the other gardens have country themes but they’re a bit too wild and unkempt for me. Adam’s has style and charm. Cleve Wests’ garden for M&G Investments is fabulous but I’m not too sure about the huge fountain in the middle. My favourite is the Cloudy Bay garden which features the most beautiful planting including drifts of graceful grasses, inter-planted with purple allium, dark purple black aquilegias and Irises.
In the marquee, QVC favourites including Raymond Evison and David Austin are launching new varieties. Amongst the new plants, I especially loved Trollius ‘Dancing Flame’ which was one of the stars of Hardy’s Cottage Plants stand. The highlight for me in the marquee is the huge Hillier stand which celebrates 150 years of their world famous nursery. My first job in gardening was with Hilliers and I have very happy memories of being part of their Chelsea team staging their gold medal winning exhibits.
As ever, there’s so much to see and enjoy. We filmed my highlights of the show for a special feature to be shown on the Morning Show on QVC. Once I’d finished the filming, I spent a couple of very happy hours spotting new plants and ideas to try at home. I just love Chelsea. Once again, it has lived up to its reputation as the greatest flower show in the world.